Jump to content

M1905 & M1910 T Handle Shovel 1905 - 1943


Recommended Posts

I bought a T handle shovel cheap ($15) and noticed it was different to my WW2 one's, on doing some checking i found out it was a WW1 pattern.

I just found one on the net the same as mine and it said it was a rare pattern -the asking price $500.

 

The wood handle is sheathed by the shovel head only on the front side and not both sides like a WW2 one.

 

Anyone else come across this before ?

 

Rich

Collector of Fixed bail M1 Helmets

https://m.facebook.com/M1Helmet/

"The dreams of Empire lure the hearts of Kings - and so men die" Burma, 1944

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 80
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Yeah that's the early pattern which broke too easily, so the reinforced it.

 

It is not really rare, but certainly harder to find. 500 is way too high. maybe 100 bucks or so.

Link to post
Share on other sites

These shovels have been discussed many time on this and other forums and I still contend that they are nothing more than a surplus store special. They were produced by a surplus dealer who had a warehouse full of handles and had a cheap blade stamped out and riveted to the handles. I remember these in every surplus store back in the 1970s. As far as I know no one has been able to produce an Army Spec. or a photograph to show these shovels were ever used by or made for the Army. There are not many left because they were so poorly made and they were intended to be used not collected so they broke and were thrown away. I find it hard to believe back in the days before WWI when quality was the watch word that any one would think this design could possibly work for the Army but it is a good story for people that have them and are trying to sell them.

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gif

donation2010.gifdonation2011.gifdonation2012.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there may be two different versions- one real - one knock off.

 

the 1910 tests stated- the shovels were issued ona three to one pick mattox under the theory that one pick mattox could loosen enough dirt for three men to shovel it. So the original idea of the shovel was not to use it to dig into hard soil, but just to move the loose earth. A number of the various 1910 designs were changed before they went into real production (the bacon can was original rectangular with square edges and a hinged top.

 

There have been enough people swearing they got one from a good source (aka the attic or footlocker of a WW1 vet) that there has to be something about it.

 

I went through the AMes archives, but they were really more concnerned with making the larger engineer shovels and did not seem to be doing the small E tools until later int he war. Unfortunatly, their early military files are not too great as they were horribly stored for a long period in an unheated attic.

 

It is also odd to me that folks that were around in the 70's still maintain these are an early model. I was rummaging in surplus stores back then (the few I could find) and never saw any, but that means nothing.

 

I think the jury is still out on this one. I am not saying there was not a knock off made, but that there is enough anecdotal evidence to imply the style was used on a early model. Besides, in WW1 The Army gave contracts to anyone that claimed they could fill them. I have to go back an look at my 1910 test files again. But IIRC the shovel was developed earlier and hung on the belt. Moving it tot he haversack was to get it off the belt where it would swing and bash into a guy's legs.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Right now I'm also searching for info on the subject but so far I haven't found any sources stating that the shovel was improved in 1910 or there after.

 

Also period photos from 1910-1911 show the M1910 shovel with both sides that attach to the handle. Also take a look at this 1908 photo that Keystone posted a while back. The photo definitely shows reinforcement to the blade. I also found other photos from the same time of the shovel showing the reinforcement. I can't remember where I saw them but I will post them as soon as I relocate them.

 

If there are anecdotes from the period please share them here.

 

Right now I'm leaning towards QED4's opinion on the so called M1905 shovel. Having owned one of these myself I can attest to how the blade looks like a cheap cast, not something the Army would have made. All other shovels I've seen on the internet are of the exact same cast blade.

post-599-1236967880.jpg

Frankie G.

 

Check out my US World War I Site,

http://www.aef-doughboys.com

Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately this photo is too small to see the details, but I viewed the photo in larger format on google books and the reinforment of the shovel blade is visible.

 

Photo circa 1910 from Manual of military hygiene for the military services of the United States

By Valery Havard

Edition: 2

Published by W. Wood and Company, 1914

post-599-1236968597.jpeg

Frankie G.

 

Check out my US World War I Site,

http://www.aef-doughboys.com

Link to post
Share on other sites
These shovels have been discussed many time on this and other forums and I still contend that they are nothing more than a surplus store special. They were produced by a surplus dealer who had a warehouse full of handles and had a cheap blade stamped out and riveted to the handles. I remember these in every surplus store back in the 1970s. As far as I know no one has been able to produce an Army Spec. or a photograph to show these shovels were ever used by or made for the Army. There are not many left because they were so poorly made and they were intended to be used not collected so they broke and were thrown away. I find it hard to believe back in the days before WWI when quality was the watch word that any one would think this design could possibly work for the Army but it is a good story for people that have them and are trying to sell them.

 

I agree, I also found one recently at a junk store and it looks too cheaply made to be military issue, the blade looks very crude and of low grade steel and the rivets almost look like old nails [not the nicely rounded type you would see on an original military t-handle]

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, if you've seen the 05 specs then that is a major item. Any chance we could get you to post them (or email me a copy?)

 

That pretty much proves it is not an official early model. It then leads to two options- a variation (which looks more unlikely) or junk.

 

But the ones i have seen just look far too old to be from the 70's. I have to go look at mine again.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually thought of a third possibility.

 

If it is not the original version as we supposed, but appears to be older than the 70's,

 

I wonder if they were made for a militia or military school.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'l try and get some pics for my one. It is well made and has had around 3 coats of paint in it's life. I am over in England and it's the only one i have seen. If i recall there is a picture of one in Ken Lewis' book "Doughboy to GI".

 

Rich

Collector of Fixed bail M1 Helmets

https://m.facebook.com/M1Helmet/

"The dreams of Empire lure the hearts of Kings - and so men die" Burma, 1944

Link to post
Share on other sites
I'l try and get some pics for my one. It is well made and has had around 3 coats of paint in it's life. I am over in England and it's the only one i have seen. If i recall there is a picture of one in Ken Lewis' book "Doughboy to GI".

 

Rich

 

Yes, please post a photo of your shovel. I would like to see if it's identical to all the other shovels out there passed off as the "M1905".

 

By the way a few years ago someone on the Gunboards posted a photo of an M1910 shovel that had the Ordnance Wheel stamped on the blade. Does that belong to anyone here? If so please post a photo of it. Maybe that's the earliest of the shovels.

Frankie G.

 

Check out my US World War I Site,

http://www.aef-doughboys.com

Link to post
Share on other sites

The early photos of the shovel I've seen from 1908-1910 all have the same style of "shoulders" on the blade. This would be the shovel seen here. I've always thought this was a 1917-1918 made style, but period photos prove otherwise.

 

Until recently I assumed that the variation with notches near the blade was an early M1910. The notches variation usually have the Ordnance Bomb stamped into the side of the T handle.

post-599-1237146530.jpg

Frankie G.

 

Check out my US World War I Site,

http://www.aef-doughboys.com

Link to post
Share on other sites

That was just a thinking out loud idea- but state militias and military schools have been known to buy some pretty strange "military looking" items at times.

 

I am curious if anything like this shows up in any old surplus catalogs.

 

Now in theory if the real handles are mated to new blades, the attachment rivets should be different. I pulled mine out and looked- at first they looked the same, then in better light they could be different. I have ot charge the camera battery and then I will post them.

 

This is just a weird mystery. It apears they are not an army issue item now, but there may be something to them being older than the 70's.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Now in theory if the real handles are mated to new blades, the attachment rivets should be different. I pulled mine out and looked- at first they looked the same, then in better light they could be different. I have ot charge the camera battery and then I will post them.

 

The rivets on the blade to these fake shovels are hammered on one side, looking different than the rivets on the handle.

Frankie G.

 

Check out my US World War I Site,

http://www.aef-doughboys.com

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Unless someone finds something new I have been convinced that these are not early shovels.

 

But there is one odd thing I found in checking my documents- in the 1910 reports the shovel is described (paraphrasing) as having double straps on the blade end.

 

 

I just find it curios that the "double" would be mentioned unless there was a chance that someone might misunderstand it. It just struck me as odd, but then it does tell you what wood the handle is supposed ot be made of so it probably was just being very detailed.

 

So I guess it is up to someone to come up with very clear, firm evidence that there was ever a single reinforcement shovel.

 

(I'm kind of joking - but we'll probably find that there is ONE real one in a collection that was an expeirmental trial in 1905 and no more made, then the rest are all junk surplaus ones that happen to look similar).

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've posted my shovels before on this forum. I have one of the unsupported one that I bought with the carrier attached to a havorsack at an estate sale. I have the wrap around model just posted. I have one where the rear support was added.(Military fixing a problem?) Then I have the regular WWI Model. They all look military to me \. Robert

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

 




Link to post
Share on other sites

The above shovel "British Made" type is a correct period item. I have pictorial evidence of it being used.

Will try and post a picture of one in use.

 

Cheers,

 

Jon

WWW.FAAA.ME.UK

"Now if there’s one thing you can be sure of, it’s that nothing is more powerful than a young boys wish.
Except an Apache helicopter, an Apache helicopter has machine guns and missiles. It is an unbelievably impressive compliment of weaponry. An absolute death machine."

Link to post
Share on other sites
The above shovel "British Made" type is a correct period item. I have pictorial evidence of it being used.

Will try and post a picture of one in use.

 

Cheers,

 

Jon

 

 

That would be great! My idea (not even a theory) that this shovel may have been British made is based on the long, narrow font of the 'US' stamping. That same type of narrow font is also used for some regular webbing BM stuff, such as first aid pouches I believe. I don't think this idea will hold up anyway. If there is interest I will try to take some better pics in the weekend.

 

Greetz ;)

 

David

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

 

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif

donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.