Nice find on an early date.
1949 Camillus Stainless US Army 17-170A Prototype Knife
Posted 23 February 2018 - 06:05 PM
Here is my newly discovered US Army Specification 17-170A 1949 Camillus stainless utility prototype knife. I have read in other discussions on this board that a very small number of these were produced and less than 10 are known to exist. I have searched daily for more than 15 years to find one of these. It was worth every minute of the search. This is my find...
Posted 23 February 2018 - 06:58 PM
I really lucked out on this one. I guess now there is one more to add to the count of existing examples. The condition on this one is what really grabbed me. The only imperfection is a very, very tiny piece of the tip was lost and reshaped. Other than that it snaps like a bear trap on all tools, has a straight bail, full pin heads, minimal pocket wear, and lots of factory shine left.
Posted 23 February 2018 - 07:45 PM
And now there are three here.
Congratulations, nice catch.
Posted 23 February 2018 - 08:29 PM
Thorin6, I have always drooled over yours since I saw it posted the first time several years ago. I thought that I would never find one. I had corresponded with Tom Williams many years ago about info on this knife and he just told me good luck in finding one. I miss his posts. There was more knowledge in his head about Camillus and Mil-K knives in general than we could ever hope to gain from just finding examples. He told me that he made Mil-K knives at the factory for many years...He also sent me some old pics of the factory back in the day taken by helicopter.
Posted 23 February 2018 - 09:33 PM
bobcat, congratulations! Wish mine looked half as good as yours. I think I'll always miss both Tom and Gary.
Posted 23 February 2018 - 09:35 PM
Something new that I just noticed about the 1949 Camillus. It appears that the bail is a different colored metal than the scales. Different batches of steel? Maybe a harder or softer steel? Starting in 1957, the bails appear to be the same type of stainless steel.
Posted 23 February 2018 - 09:43 PM
Gary is another soft spot yet. I was corresponding with him on research about Camillus knives very shortly before he passed. I still do not feel right about getting out and looking at certain knives yet. I miss his helpful and considerate nature along with his drive and dedication to the hobby we all enjoy and he really loved. I just came back to the forum to post this thread for the first time since his passing. He is missed...
Posted 23 February 2018 - 10:04 PM
Sactroop and Thorin6. Do either of your knives have a bail that appears to be of a different alloy or metal?
Posted 24 February 2018 - 01:09 AM
I took a look at it and I'd like to look at it again under natural light. I'll compare it to some of the WW2 and later examples I have too. Get back to you.
Posted 24 February 2018 - 05:48 AM
Actually many different materials are used in the 1949 example.
Spear blade is 440B Stainless Steel
Can Opener 420 SS
Screwdriver 420 SS
Punch 420 SS
Grip Liners 430 SS
Center and side scales Brass
Pins (exposed) and Clevice (Bail) 18% Nickel Silver
Pins (internal) Brass
Stud for Screwdriver 416 SS
In any case great find in super condition!
All the best
Posted 24 February 2018 - 06:40 AM
See if the clevis is magnetic or not. The Ulster 48 I have, has a nickle alloy clevis.
Posted 24 February 2018 - 06:50 AM
I just noticed that my Ulster 48 is the same exact way. This knife is one year off from the 1949 Camillus. It has a bail that the color varies slightly too suggesting the use of a different metal or alloy for the bail. It makes sense on the bail for strength and or non-conductance of spark maybe. Kind of like copper or brass bails on rope knives. Just some ideas.
Posted 24 February 2018 - 07:07 AM
It is always great when Frank adds to the discussion. He always seems to have the facts and figures to answer our questions. It is really amazing the attention to detail and R&D that was put into the development of these amazing little knives. Frank, did Tom Williams ever retrieve or post the original drawings or S-Card for the 1949 Camillus? I would love to see that if it still exists...
Posted 24 February 2018 - 11:25 AM
Last night I was suspecting nickel/silver from what I thought I was seeing. Agree that looking at different knives the clevis most closely resembles the Ulster 48 and some of the WW2 Kingston's although the Kingstons don't show much if any of a yellow tinge to the overall grey color.
Posted 24 February 2018 - 02:28 PM
According to the info that Frank posted it is 18% Nickel Silver.
Posted 26 February 2018 - 06:56 AM
I am really glad that this discussion has turned to the different alloys that compose the knife and the reasons behind it. I have been doing some research and have located an example of a knife that could possibly turn our thinking about the origins of the Mil-K and the Knife, Pocket, General Purpose on its' ear. My next thread will present and discuss this missing link in beautiful nickel silver!!!
Posted 26 February 2018 - 04:52 PM
Here are copies of the production cards on the 1949 where I got the info from. I have not found how many they made yet.
All the best
Posted 26 February 2018 - 06:17 PM
That is just way too cool. Amazing the info that you have. Thanks a million for posting that!
Posted 27 February 2018 - 11:10 AM
Here's the actual cover page for the patent on the new can opener.
Anyone who wants to read the accompanying four pages of text that coming with this can just do a search for (patent 2,391,732) and read the whole thing.
IMHO, the applied for date and the issuing date are interesting. Applied for on Nov. 7th 1944. This is seven months after the Apr 3 1944 date that the United States Marine Corps officially adopted the metal scaled knife with this can opener and got started getting knives made with the intent of getting one to every Marine in the field. Also November 1944 is well into the Army's Board of testing inquiry into a new general purpose utility knife.
The issuing date is about five months after the War ended.
At the least this is making me rethink what the markings would likely be on the earliest Kingston made knives. IMHO, I now think the the first version can openers would not include the words (PAT PEND) stamped on them.
Edited by sactroop, 27 February 2018 - 11:10 AM.
Posted 27 February 2018 - 12:19 PM
You assumption is correct. Imperial (Kingston) applied the stamped word CanOpener. The added PAT PEND would be from November 1944 to December 1945. Yes Imperial were producing this style of can opener starting from about May-June 1944. Think of the PAT PEND as the middle production or product. Patent applications often come pretty late, for example General Electric didn't have a recorded application for a patent of the ESM/1 signal mirror until after close to a year from when it was developed. It may be interesting but not that interesting. How long did it take for when you submitted the paper work for a patent application for it to be officially processed and recorded as "Filed", I would assume some months. A clerk reviews applications in due process and only after it is determined to be properly filled out does it then get recorded as "Filed" then there is the grace period to assure it doesn't conflict with other patents and contest. My point is, is that a patent application isn't instantaneous.
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