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M-1938 wire cutters; a study


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Left to right: course weave 1942, smooth canvas 1942, full flap 1944, two USMC, OD British Made 1943, and a 1945.

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It's sort of ironic, but 2 hours after I posted these photos, I stopped in an used tool store here in town and found these 1944 dated cutters.

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Bravo robinb! :thumbsup:

A very useful thread and excellent collection.

 

I do have a 1944 set: HKP-made 1944 cutters and a pouch made by the Shell Lea. GDS. Co., Inc. 1944.

 

What was not discussed so far here is handles stamping. They were stamped "30 KV" -- I guess it means 30 kilovolts abbreviated today "kV". My specimen is additionally stamped on handles "CHR CO". Does it mean that the handles were delivered by other manufacturer than metal mechanism one?

 

Best regards

 

Gregory

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Fine lot of Cutters and Carriers; one of these days I need to do a "tool shoot"... :think:

 

One thing I didn't think existed until a few years ago was a "big-head" M38 Cutter produced prior to 1944; snagged a pair from Mike Heskett at the Great Western (where else :lol: ) dated '43, and stamped "U.S.M.C." to boot. Always something to learn...

 

Robin, what did you use to take those pics? I tried to get some close-ups of my Wire Cutters' stampings, with disastrous results, the flash obliterating the stamps.

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My camera is an 11 year old Sony Mavica. Uses floppy discs. It may be a big and bulky camera, but it's never let me down.

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Robin, what did you use to take those pics? I tried to get some close-ups of my Wire Cutters' stampings, with disastrous results, the flash obliterating the stamps.

 

If your camera has a macro mode (usually represented by a flower symbol) the you need to make sure to select it, it's a good idea to turn the flash off for macro mode since many cameras have a flash that either misses the subject or obscures and washes it out of the final image. Try and use a dedicated external light source for closeups, and keep in mind your camera's macro range (usually 2-3 inches from object).

 

RC

 

-----AND ON THE TOPIC-------

 

Robin, very nice selection of cutters!

 

RC

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RustyCanteen is correct, and using a tripod to steady your camera works very well. Especially when up close like most photos of gear, only the slightest movement can blur the image. You can buy inexpensive tripods at walmart etc for about $20.

 

I use a small desk lamp for lighting and never use a flash for indoor photography of equipment. You can hold or position the light to get the best angle of lighting and it won't wash out the image like a flash does when you're too close to the subject.

 

The third trick is to use the timed shutter most digital cameras have. Once I have the camera on a tripod and I have framed the picture, I set it for a two second delay and take my hands off of the camera after I press the button. The camera will focus by itself and most all photos will come out looking good.

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I do have a 1944 set: HKP-made 1944 cutters and a pouch made by the Shell Lea. GDS. Co., Inc. 1944.

 

What was not discussed so far here is handles stamping. They were stamped "30 KV" -- I guess it means 30 kilovolts abbreviated today "kV". My specimen is additionally stamped on handles "CHR CO". Does it mean that the handles were delivered by other manufacturer than metal mechanism one?

Gregory, I have not noticed any markings on any of my cutters handles.

Here is the specimen I was writing about. The stamping of internal flat surface of the handle tip can be seen and both handles are stamped in this way.

post-75-1322478653.jpg

post-75-1322478663.jpg

post-75-1322478672.jpg

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Any comments?

Nobody has identical cutters as I posted above from my collection?

 

There is an opportunity to discuss against the myth that M1938s were "Barbed Wire Cutters" only as they are called many times (correctly?). As can be seen above they were prepared to be effective and safe cutters also for medium-voltage power lines with no more than 30 kV. Therefore they were good enough for various forms of sabotage, not only to pass throughout barbed wire barrier.

 

Does anybody know US industrial standards of 1940s era and how 30 kV was categorized? Today medium-voltage means no more than 50 kV -- how it was during WWII in the USA?

 

Regards

 

Gregory

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craig_pickrall

In the mid / late 80's a large group of wire cutters were released for surplus. They were newer production probably made in the 60's or early 70's. They are not dated. They look like the WW2 cutters but they are stamped 50,000 Volts and have a part number on them. The surprising thing to me is they sold for $5 in new condition at the surplus stores. At that time they were probably worth $35 or $40 at a hardware store. I bought 6 or 8 pair at the time both as a military item and for my tool box. I did not see any sort of carrier for them.

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Craig's post confirms that the M1938s were very good and general-purpose tool with compact, or even miniature, construction where cutting torque was computed very well. They were ideal for conventional infantry and, for instance, for airborne pathfinders or all the other special forces for attacks and silent sabotage.

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