The U.S. Model 1918 Mark I Trench Knife was the second major “Knuckle Knife” to be officially adopted and issued to the US military. It was developed for use in the horrific trench warfare that typified the stalemate on the Western Front during World War One and saw use not only there, but during World War Two as well. The knife was manufactured in the United States by Henry Disston & Sons (H.D. & S.) as well as Landers, Frary & Clark (L.F. & C.) and Oneida Community Ltd (O.C.L.). The knives were also produced in France and are marked with the usual 1918 and US marks, as well as Au Lion on the blade. Whether this mark was a maker’s mark or simply a motto is not known. The U.S. M-1918 Mark I Trench Knife is easily identifiable due to its large “brass knuckle” style guard and grip. The knives were 11 ¾” in overall length, with a 6 ¾” dagger style blade. The brass grips were marked U.S. 1918 and with the makers name or initials. These knives remained in use with the US military, classified as limited standard (secondary issue) through January of 1945, when the knives were officially classified as obsolete. The knives were carried in a blued sheet steel scabbard that was typically maker marked, and was equipped with a pair of wire tabs that were intended to engage the US pistol web belt in use at that time.
The example of the U.S. Model 1918 Mark I Trench Knife offered here is in about FINE condition. The knife was produced by the Landers, Frary & Clark company of New Britain, CT. L.F. & C. was established in 1865 and produced a wide variety of housewares, cutlery and event appliances. Many of their products were marketed under the trade name “Universal”. The products of L.F. & C. included everything from scales, mousetraps and ice skates to electric ranges and toasters! L.F. & C. also produced the US M-1917 Trench Knife as well. The assets of the L.F. & C. company were purchased by General Electric in 1965. This Mark I Trench Knife is clearly marked in two lines in the brass grip: U. S. 1918 / L. F. & C. / 1918. The brass grip and knuckle guard has a very attractive, un-cleaned bronze patina. The blackened steel dagger blade is smooth and free of any pitting or roughness and retains about 20%+ of the original blackened finish, with the usual fading and wear from a combat knife that actually saw some use. The blued steel scabbard is in about FINE condition. The scabbard is clearly marked on the rear, near the throat: L. F. & C. / 1918. The scabbard is complete and original and retains about 50%-60% of its original blued finish, with some wear and fading, mixed with a reddish-purple patina. The scabbard is free of dents or dings, and retains both of the original web belt mounting hooks. One is slightly bent, but this does not affect the display or the quality of the knife and scabbard combination.
Overall this is a very nice displaying example of a very popular and collectible World War I and World War II era US trench knife. The knife and scabbard are 100% complete and correct in every way and would make a nice addition to any military edged weapons collection. These brass D guard knuckle knives always make a great centerpiece to any military knife display and certainly draw attention due to the size and fierce appearance. SOLD