This is a really great looking, NEAR MINT example of the US Navy Mark V Dive Knife. This unique knife was designed to be an all-purpose tool for use by deep-sea divers who utilized the Mark V “dry suit” diving system. The Mark V system was adopted by the US Navy in 1916 and served until about 1979, when it was replaced by the Mark 12 system. The Mark V system is the classic “deep sea diver” dry suit with large brass & copper helmet, air lines, weighted boots, etc that you immediately comes to mind when you think about diving in the pre-SCUBA era. The Mark V knife was designed for use not only as a knife, but also as a prying tool, hammer, saw and general purpose implement to accomplish whatever tasks were at the diver’s hands. The knife was manufactured with a 6 ¾” spear point blade and was made available both with and without a serrated spine. The knife had a circular wooden grip with a palm swell and heavy brass mounts both at the blade and pommel cap. The brass pommel cap allowed the knife to due duty as a make shift hammer. The knife was carried in a heavy cast brass scabbard with a drain hole in the end and a funnel shaped opening that made it easier to sheath the knife while under water. The brass hilt cap on the knife was threaded with male threads, which would engage the female threads at the scabbard throat, allowing the knife to be secured in the scabbard. The scabbard was attached to the dive belt by a leather loop, which passed through a cast brass fitting on the scabbard. The knife and scabbard weighed in at a hefty 3lbs and were incredibly rugged and durable.
This NEAR MINT example of the US Navy Mark V Dive Knife was produced by the famous Morse Diving Company of Boston, MA. Morse refers to themselves as “The oldest deep-sea diving equipment manufacturer in the world”. The company was started in 1837 as Morse & Fletcher, a maker of brass goods. In 1864 the firm became Andrew Morse & Sons and in 1940 was renamed Morse Diving Equipment Company, Inc. It operated under that name until 1998 when the name was changed to simply Morse Diving Inc. The company remains in business today. In 1970 they moved from Boston to Rockland, MA – about 20 miles south of Boston. Morse produced this Mark V knife between 1970 and 1998, when the company name was changed. The scabbard is clearly marked in two lines: MORSE DIVING EQUIP. CO. / ROCKLAND, MA 02370. A Mark V diving helmet logo is located in the middle of the words, in between Morse Diving & Equip. Co, and Rockland & MA 02370. The blade of the knife is brilliant and retains nearly all of its original polish. The knife retains its original factory applied edge, which has not been polished, and the serrated spine is in equally excellent and untouched condition. The wood handle has a handful of minor bumps, dings and light handling marks, but has no major mars or damage. The heavy brass scabbard is in wonderful condition with only a handful of minor light scratches from handling. The brass has a lovely mellow, unpolished, bronze patina. The scabbard is crisply and clear marked, as noted above. The brass loop for the leather attachment belt is present, but the leather belt is not present. The knife was most likely manufactured between 1970 (when Morse moved to Rockland) and the end of the Mark V system issue around 1979. It may have been manufactured later than that, certainly not after 1998 when the company name was changed to its present incarnation. Production of Mark V knives was greatly curtailed with the end of the use of the Mark V system by the US Navy, so this one was most likely produced during the 1970’s, and could well be a Vietnam era knife.
All in all this is a really fantastic looking Mark V dive knife that would be a great addition to any military edged weapons collection, knife collection or naval & nautical collection. The knife is in about excellent condition and displays superbly. It could well be a Vietnam era knife, which makes it that much more interesting. With World War II era Mark V knives bringing $1,000 or more these days, this is a very affordable alternative to add an excellent condition representative example to your collection for less than half of the price of a World War II knife. SOLD