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Painted WW1 Shovels again.. French collectors read!


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I'm back at trying to work out the mystery of why the M1910 specs call for the shovels to be painted OD, but so many people feel that WW1 shovels were not painted.

 

To recap, there are some known WW1 shovels that appear under very close examination to show no trace of paint in the wood grain. This could mean either the shovel was not painted, or it had been coasted with something that did not allow the paint to stick. Supposedly "someone somewhere read a mention someplace" of them being shipped just oiled to prevent rust.

 

So I started thinking about shortages of paint and dye stuffs may have caused this problem, but haven't found any mention of a shortage of OD paint.

 

Then I realized that there could be oodles of OD paint in Chicago or someplace, but during the massive railroad screwup of the winter 17/18 there might be no way to get the paint to the shovel factory.

 

Anyway, I wonder if any of the French (Belgium, Luxembourg) collectors know of any M1910 shovels that are fairly certain to have stayed in Europe and not come from the states, or used in WW2. And if so could they peer carefully at the wood and edge next tot he metal to see if any traces of paint remain?

 

The one thing I have found is that it appears (unless someone can shoot this down) that "some" WW1 shovels were parked on the end of the T with an ordnance flaming bomb stamp. but not ones made in WW2.

 

 

Anyone know who had the contracts for the shovels in WW1?

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I've heard some very knowledgeable and well respected collectors say the govt specs for WW1 M1910 intrenching shovels called for it to be painted OD. Maybe they're correct....but some were NOT painted. For example, this shovel has absolutely NO signs of ever having been painted. Wood is totally clean and all metal parts have a "brown" patina and no signs of ever having been cleaned.

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A friend of mine has a shovel with the ordnance flaming ball stamp on the round flat end of the handle.I found it on a table at the Kansas City show and he had to have it.Dont recall any markings on the shovels I have or have seen that are dated 1942 or 43.His shovel was undated.

 

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The one thing I have found is that it appears (unless someone can shoot this down) that "some" WW1 shovels were parked on the end of the T with an ordnance flaming bomb stamp. but not ones made in WW2.

I have one of those ordnance marked M1910 shovels in my collection. It is undated, so I presume of WW1 manufacture. This marking seems to be fairly rare.

 

m1910shovelstamping3fl4.th.jpg

 

Greetz ;)

 

David

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I have seen reputed WWI shovels that were both painted and unpainted. The painted shovels I have seen that were supposed to WWI were coated in a mustard/yellow shade of Olive Drab that I have not seen used on WWII equipment, but that does show up on WWI gear from time to time. The vast majority have no paint that I have seen or handled.

 

Another collector myth/story I have been told for 15 years was that the early shovels (pre-WWI) are lacking the reinforcement on the back of the shovel attaching the blade to the handle. The story goes that after the shovels broke, the Army added the reinforcement on the back of the shovel blade. I would attach a photo, but my digital camera is in DC with my wife while I am here in San Diego. Does anyone know if this story is accurate or just a story to sell a shovel for more money as a Punitive Expedition item.

 

Ian

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I have seen reputed WWI shovels that were both painted and unpainted. The painted shovels I have seen that were supposed to WWI were coated in a mustard/yellow shade of Olive Drab that I have not seen used on WWII equipment, but that does show up on WWI gear from time to time. The vast majority have no paint that I have seen or handled.

 

Another collector myth/story I have been told for 15 years was that the early shovels (pre-WWI) are lacking the reinforcement on the back of the shovel attaching the blade to the handle. The story goes that after the shovels broke, the Army added the reinforcement on the back of the shovel blade. I would attach a photo, but my digital camera is in DC with my wife while I am here in San Diego. Does anyone know if this story is accurate or just a story to sell a shovel for more money as a Punitive Expedition item.

 

Ian

 

There was an early pattern Model 1910 shovel that lacked reinforcement at the back where the handle attaches to the blade and they were prone to breakage. But I've never seen one that was later modified as you describe. I have seen early shovels that were unpainted and one that even had bluing on the blade which would suggest it wasn't intended to be painted. There is a shovel that has a reinforcement plate as described above but it's totally unmarked....not even the usual "US" stamps....and the "story" re those is they are USMC but nobody can prove this.

Greg Robinson "marine-kabar"

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Another collector myth/story I have been told for 15 years was that the early shovels (pre-WWI) are lacking the reinforcement on the back of the shovel attaching the blade to the handle. The story goes that after the shovels broke, the Army added the reinforcement on the back of the shovel blade. I would attach a photo, but my digital camera is in DC with my wife while I am here in San Diego. Does anyone know if this story is accurate or just a story to sell a shovel for more money as a Punitive Expedition item.

 

That is correct. I have one of those too. According to Ken Lewis ('General Apathy' on the forum) the design was changed in 1913 to correct this flaw. Do a search on the forum for the whole story.

 

BTW I forgot to mention that my Ordnance Corps marked shovel has remains of mustard/yellow, which I thought was civilian but may be original afterall. I got it from the US over eBay, so I don't know if the paint was pré-1918 applied.

 

Greetz ;)

 

David

Money can't buy happiness -- but somehow it's more comfortable to cry in a Corvette than in a Yugo.

 

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That is correct. I have one of those too. According to Ken Lewis ('General Apathy' on the forum) the design was changed in 1913 to correct this flaw. Do a search on the forum for the whole story.

 

BTW I forgot to mention that my Ordnance Corps marked shovel has remains of mustard/yellow, which I thought was civilian but may be original afterall. I got it from the US over eBay, so I don't know if the paint was pré-1918 applied.

 

Greetz ;)

 

David

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I am not convinced that the first shovels did not have the back strap. I find it inconceivable that anyone could think you could take a one inch dowel and put two large rivets through it and think it would not brake the first time it was used and contrary to popular opinion the people that design this stuff are not dumb. So until I see an Army spec showing it with out the back strap I don't believe it. The shovels without the back strap do exist but they are a surplus store special. Back in the 1960s a surplus dealer had a warehouse full of original handles that the Army had made for replacements but never used. They were pretty much useless except for fire wood so he had some cheap blades stamped out of sheet steel and had them riveted to the original handles. These things were everywhere in the late 1960s and could occasionally found as late as the 1980s but since they broke so easily most of them did and were thrown away so you don't see them today. I am sure some of the other old timers will remember these if they think about it. Below is one of these shovels and a WWII one, compared to the real one these shovels are much cruder, the bends are shallower and not well defined. The blade is unmarked except someone has stamped Ralph on this one, the handle has the US on it but it is on the bottom side because who ever was putting them together wasn't worried about where it was supposed to be. When you have one of these in your hand there is not doubt the Army did not make it. Real issue shovels of this pattern may exist but until I see it in an Army supply catalog I won't believe it.

 

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  • 1 month later...

All interesting.

 

Odd that the memo reads to me like one reinforcement is LONGER than that other- and on the ones in question there is not really ANY reinforment.

 

Steve McGeorge is currently working on all the specs and correspondance of WW1 shovels so maybe the truth will turn up. What I can say has surfaced is a 1916 spec that does not mention paint. So to follow the spec exactly the thing would not be painted at all. for the Pick mattox it says painted black except for the two inches in from each end.

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I have one of those ordnance marked M1910 shovels in my collection. It is undated, so I presume of WW1 manufacture. This marking seems to be fairly rare.

 

m1910shovelstamping3fl4.th.jpg

 

Greetz ;)

 

David

 

I have nothing to add to the discussion about the painting of the shovel, but if the Ordnance Shell and Flame shown on the handle in the photo is the same as the others being mentioned, it is not WW1.

 

I could be wrong of course, but in 50 years of collecting US miltary weapons I have not seen the Closed Flame version of the Shell and Flame used as early as WW1. In general, this mark does not appear on bayonets and similar weapons until about 1942. The WW1 mark is the Open Flame version shown on the left below. Of course it is possible that the closed mark was used earlier in some other applications, and I have been wrong before.

 

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I have nothing to add to the discussion about the painting of the shovel, but if the Ordnance Shell and Flame shown on the handle in the photo is the same as the others being mentioned, it is not WW1.

 

I could be wrong of course, but in 50 years of collecting US miltary weapons I have not seen the Closed Flame version of the Shell and Flame used as early as WW1. In general, this mark does not appear on bayonets and similar weapons until about 1942. The WW1 mark is the Open Flame version shown on the left below. Of course it is possible that the closed mark was used earlier in some other applications, and I have been wrong before.

 

SF.jpg

 

Hi gary,

 

thank you for your imput. It may be possible they have used a very crude and stylised 'flaming bomb' as a stamp dye. This particular shovel is of WW1 manufacture, but the mark could be applied later, although I doubt that. Perhaps when we can see other stamped shovel handle's?

 

Greetz ;)

 

David

Money can't buy happiness -- but somehow it's more comfortable to cry in a Corvette than in a Yugo.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Of course I had forgotten that in 1918 an AEF bulletin went out talking about the paint shortage in France and why the AEF should not paint their guns/vehicles cammo because of it.

 

But of course this could just be a shortage due to shipping space- but it also then makes me wonder if there was lots of paint in the USA, maybe they would have been painting the patterns on at home before shipping....

 

Somewhere, someplace, there is a piece of paper that explains it all....

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I can't dispute anything or confirm anything said. I have shovels both painted(OD and the cream green) and unpainted. One has an OD handle put on a Cream Green shovel. One unsupported and one with the extra back support spot welded on. Two has Ordnance bomb marks on the end of the T. And one has the spade support that wraps part way around the handle. I will crank up the camera and see if I can post some pictures.

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I thought I'd post some pics of my WW1 m1910. Its got a lot of dark of almost pea green like early 1910 cartridge belts, but anyways I know the pics don't show it but it has a camo pattern on it similar to a helmet its really faint you can see it on the head though.. It also has the ordnance mark on the handle but its massive! I mean the size of one found on the 1905 bayonets. but anyways I think a lot of ww1 shovels were painted dark i mean dark green 2 out 8 ww1 shovels I have owned over the years were dark green, and they weren't reissued in ww2 either. One came out of a ww1 grouping the one in the pic and one was bought my grandfather from a surplus shop in the 30's lol, which i still have but its handle is destroyed.

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Here's mine, recently obtained.

Unfortunately, it is damaged so I wouldn't know if it was marked with the "flaming bomb".

 

T-handleshovel.jpg

 

T-handleshovel1.jpg

 

It has the "US" on both the wooden mid-section and the metal part.

 

Erwin

 

Btw, should I restore the handle or leave it as is?

704th Tank Destroyer Battalion

 

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Interesting version on the left.

 

I don't recall seeing one of those before (or maybe just never noticed)

Yes it is different. Its marked with the big US kind of crooked. I've never seen another and can find no Info on it

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