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M1918 Mk. I Trench Knife comparing originals to your “suspect” knife thread

Started by militariaone , Dec 17 2013 01:36 PM

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#1 militariaone

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 01:36 PM

Greetings all,

 

     The number of folks posting these knives on the forum for peers’ evaluation remains fairly constant, so I thought it might be worthwhile to create a thread where folks can come to their own conclusion about a knife in question in the privacy of their own home. This way they can ideally spare themselves the cost of finding out their newly acquired “treasure” is actually an artificially aged reproduction or an outright forgery. When I’m suspect of a M1918 Mk. I knife I usually start out here http://www.usmilitaryknives.com/m1918mk1.htm Over the years, Frank’s page has saved me thousands of dollars by showing what “Wrong” looks like and is my inspiration for creating this thread.

 

     So you have found a M1918 Mk. I Trench Knife being offered for sale and you want to know if it is an “original” or if it’s just another well aged reproduction. This thread will enable you to view several originals in order to determine what “right” should look like. I’m only going to cover the two most common types of this knife typically encountered (The Au Lion & the L.F. & C. made variants). My intent is not to provide a “How To” guide in order to forge the far rarer H.D. & S. & O.C. L. variants (The aforementioned Au Lion & L. F. & C. variants have been “forged” aplenty, so frankly there's no harm discussing these) so they will not be discussed. Plus, I am still looking for an O.C.L. variant ;-) There are originals’ and reproductions’ differences I won’t discuss such as blades' grinds and skull crackers’ sizes (Some specifics needs to be left unsaid, in order to keep those who are dishonest at bay, well... at least the lazy ones).

 

The Au Lion type (A Lion in repose stamped on the ricasso)

     First up is the French Au Lion “The Lion” made type. There are two variants of this version. There’s the kind with the two grooves on the back-strap of the brass (the French made ones are brass, the U.S. made ones are bronze) handle and the kind without the grooves (see photo below). There are slight size differences with the “U.S. 1918” fonts’ sizes too. There are a wide range of finishes found on these knives' handles. They range from rough to smooth casted/finished and everything in between. The blade’s Au Lion trademark is stamped on the ricasso. The Au Lion logos’ run the gambit of deeply stamped to lightly stamped. Most common seem to be the lighter stamped ones.

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  • Au L Compare.jpg


#2 militariaone

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 01:38 PM

Grooved Handle #1

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  • AG 1.jpg


#3 militariaone

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 01:39 PM

Grooved Handle #2

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#4 militariaone

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 01:39 PM

Grooved Handle #3

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#5 militariaone

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 01:42 PM

UN-Grooved Handle #1 (Au Lion modified knuckles)

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  • ALNG1.jpg


#6 militariaone

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 01:43 PM

UN-Grooved Handle #2

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#7 militariaone

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 01:44 PM

UN-Grooved Handle #3

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#8 militariaone

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 01:45 PM

The Au Lion Scabbard

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#9 militariaone

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 01:47 PM

The L.F. & C. type (Landers Frary & Clark)  

 

     These are the most common U.S. made variants to be found. They were originally finished by a chemical process which left the blades and bronze handles blackened. With typical handling the finish tends to wear off and you will usually encounter them without much of their original blackened finish present. In some cases you will find these with the handles intentionally polished bright or even gold plated. It is also very typical that when you do encounter one of these with its original L.F. & C. made scabbard, that one or both of the mounting prongs are broken or missing. The second L. F. & C. is shown for comparison only to show the typical WWII modification (cut down cross-guard). Be aware of this new L.F. & C. knockoff from Eastern Europe as the handle’s fonts are not too far “off” http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/193138-new-reproduction-of-l-f-c-mki-1918-from-europe/#entry1497877

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  • LF&C 1.jpg


#10 militariaone

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 01:49 PM

Typical L. F. & C. WWII Modified Example

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#11 militariaone

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 01:50 PM

The L.F. & C. Scabbard

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  • LF&C SCAB 1.jpg
  • LF&C SCAB 2.jpg


#12 militariaone

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 01:53 PM

     It is not uncommon to find both Au Lion and L. F. & C. knives with mixed parts (blades, handles, & even skull crushers’ nuts) or even switched scabbards. But if you find an Au Lion without a marked blade or an L. F. & C. with a marked blade that should caution you to begin scrutinizing with your critical eye. The last picture is a quick reference Font Guide to allow you to rapidly see if a suspect knife’s fonts closely matches originals or repros.

 

    That’s all for now, I hope this thread has spared your finances and perhaps some dignity as well. I’m no “expert” just a proud collector of these knives.

 

Regards,

 

Lance

Attached Images

  • Font Guide.jpg

Edited by militariaone, 17 December 2013 - 01:54 PM.


#13 Leatherneck72

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 02:07 PM

Great educational thread! 



#14 militariaone

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 02:21 PM

Great educational thread! 

 

     Thank you for that. I wanted to do something a little more in depth than just another "look what I have" thread. I've been meaning to get around to creating this thread, because of the amount of fellow forum members who keep posting the same reproductions over and over again. I finally had some time to focus on it today and voilà!

 

Regards,

 

Lance



#15 militariaone

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 04:30 PM

Greetings all,

 

     This creation hails from France. It is a solid cast set of knuckles with a poorly executed L. F. & C.’s logo on the handle. It’s just another fantasy piece, which never contemporarily existed. Original M1918 Mk. I’s handles are all hollow cast. If you see of one these for sale... nod and smile at the implausibility of its accompanying story, but don't purchase it unless you are in the market for a replacement for your motorcycle's kick starter peg.

 

Regards,

 

Lance

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  • Frenchy Fake.jpg


#16 ponyradish

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 05:03 PM

If you like OCL's here are a few for your viewing pleasure. Pony.

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#17 militariaone

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 05:26 PM

If you like OCL's here are a few for your viewing pleasure. Pony.

 

Greetings Pony,

 

     Yes, the O.C.L Variant remains my “White Whale”. I may have to move up to Oneida, NY and live there till I can make nice with the locals for one of their “lunchbox specials.” Thank you for showing off your impressive O.C.L. wares. I love your wooden handled experimental one too from an earlier post. Working at the factory definitely had its perks. I’m too far South to see this variant for sale at the local garage sales…sniffle sniffle.

 

Regards,

 

Lance



#18 ponyradish

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Posted 20 December 2013 - 03:23 AM

I have to believe there are more in the old homes around the area. I have found blades and handles at garage sales in years past but have since traded them off. I still actively pursue them and probably will until I croak. Glad you like them, they are special to me because I worked  for OCL (Oneida LTD) for 38 years. Pony.



#19 skautdog

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Posted 20 December 2013 - 06:53 AM

militariaone,

 

Thanks for taking the time to post your references! Another example of this Forum's value and the expertise and  consideration of its members.

 

Ken



#20 militariaone

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Posted 20 December 2013 - 09:21 AM

militariaone,

 

Thanks for taking the time to post your references! Another example of this Forum's value and the expertise and  consideration of its members.

 

Ken

 

Greetings Ken,

 

     Thank you for your kind words. Personally, I have found it’s easier to look at Frank’s Reproduction Recognition Webpage and compare a questionable knife to the repros he has posted, than to compare it with originals.

 

     That said, after seeing repeated reproductions posted on the forum for identification, it dawned on me that many folks may benefit from comparing their knife “in question” to originals. That’s why this thread was created, ideally members may now look through the examples posted and fish for themselves instead of asking for a fish. Or fellow members may simply inform the person asking about a suspect knife to simply review this thread. In a perfect world…members may determine on their own if their suspect knife is original or not and spare themselves the expense/grief of getting stuck with a repro.

 

     Personally, I’d like to prevent more of the folks who once you have clearly demonstrated (by posting a comparative example) that their knife is a reproduction,  become defensive about being “outed” in a public forum. Don’t ask a question if you don’t want to hear the answer, eh?  

 

Regards,

 

Lance



#21 John121

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 09:37 AM

Lance,

Thank You for this thread very helpful,, is it possible you email me I'm new member and cannot pm you.

Thanks

John



#22 militariaone

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 10:25 AM

Lance,

Thank You for this thread very helpful,, is it possible you email me I'm new member and cannot pm you.

Thanks

John

Greetings John,

 

     Thank you for your positive feedback. PM has been sent.

 

Merry Christmas!

 

Lance



#23 John121

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 06:15 AM

Lance,

What do you think of the enclosed M1918,, you don't show this type font, open number "9"

Thanks


 

 

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#24 militariaone

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 06:56 AM

Greetings John,

     Yes, your posted knife looks fine. $750.00 was a good price too considering its condition and it has the correct scabbard.

Regards,

Lance

 

 

 

 



#25 militariaone

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 10:21 AM

Greetings all,

 

     A modern reproduction pretending to be a WWII hilt modified variant found in France. No doubt it comes with a special "Ninja Detachment XXX" attribution to help sell it to the unwary. Because, we all know it was “Jumped into Sicily or more likely Normandy” if you shave off the guard ;)   

 

Regards,

 

Lance

 

F Repro.jpg

 




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