1893 Grand Exhibition. The world's intro to PBR, hot dogs, ice cream cones and the Ferris Wheel.

1893 Grand Exhibition. The world's intro to PBR, hot dogs, ice cream cones and the Ferris Wheel.
A view through the wheel. The black, horizontal line is the axle, the single largest forging to that time.
"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Sunday, March 30, 2008

McNary/Bolo Prototype

The earnest young men pictured to the left, decked out in campaign hats and puttees are firing the "Benet-Mercie Machine Rifle, Caliber .30 U. S. Model of 1909"
This precursor to the heavier Hotchkiss MG of the Great War was actually a French design known as the "M1909 Benet-Mercie". It was adopted by the US Army and chambered in 30.06.
Our lads - with a French machine gun. Don't that just frost all you French bashers? Where the hell were John Browning and Isaac Newton Lewis? Actually, Hotchkiss himself, founder of the company, was an American so it's all good. Virtually all the major machine gun inventors were American.
This ain't about the guns though.
What the boys are wearing on their left hip is another piece of pre-war ordnance, the M1910 Bolo. This knife was issued to machine gunners with the idea that it would be useful to cut brush for camouflage or to clear fields of fire.
It was a nice, usefully-sized chopper. 10 1/4" blade with a deep "belly" - almost like a more conservative version of the Kukri.
It was originally produced at the Springfield Armory who, by the end of the war had manufactured 59,095.
But this isn't about this knife either. Well, except the blade.Now, we all remember the M1918 MK 1, henceforth known (by me at least - and it is my show) as the McNary pattern. To my mind a classic case of committee thinking. I know, I'm supposed to say "this writer" instead of "me" but, God, does that sound affected. Besides, in the immortal words of Charles Bukowski: "When I'm writing, I'm the captain of my (this writer's)
ship."
Okay, Major McNary designed this knuckleduster handle and everyone likes it - even though it's heavy enough to drive nails. Eventually it was decided to produce the thing with the same blade as the French M1916 trench dagger. In fact, the very first MK1's were made in France by Au Lion, and in the same hollow-handle, screwed pommel configuration.
Prior to this there was seemingly at least some casting about for a blade and/or manufacturing process. By the way, the drawing at left is from McNary's British patent of 1918. It doesn't look as if it was ever patented in the US. A check of Google Patents turned up nothing.
So, the Army wasn't married to the blade-setup which was ultimately accepted.
The boys at the Springfield Armory (remember them?) apparently had their shoulder to the design wheel early in the game as evidenced by this next photo."In a recent conversation with our good friend Bill Stone we discussed a steel bladed knuckle knife that was identical to one seen in the Adrian Van Dyk sales catalog from long ago. The knife Mr. Van Dyk had for sale from his own collection was made entirely from brass as it was a tool room mockup design piece. The knife recently purchased by Bill is a steel bladed version which would have been the knife that was made were it to have been approved. The knife in Mr. Van Dyks collection was written about and picture in an American Blade article "Knuckle Knives of WW I" many years ago. The knife came from the Springfield Armory where it was built. We don’t have any further information on the knife now in the Stone collection ..."
That's the copy, as lifted, along with the pic, from a long-forgotten knife website. Personally, I think the solid brass version was a casting pattern. It's far easier to line things up when casting a handle in place if an impression can be made in the sand for the blade as well.
Speaking of the blade. Does it look familiar? Of course, it's from the M1910 Bolo which must have been available in abundance at the Armory
Anyway, I think this is one of the coolest knives ever made and far exceeds the MK I for being interesting.
So, why am I on about this?
I just made one of the things - and sold one within days. The one I've completed is a prototype so the sold one will comprise the beginning of a, hopefully long, production run. It's paid for already as well. That focuses the mind it does.
Anyway, as a result I've just added this shank to my lineup.
It can be seen, drooled over and ultimately ordered here.
Stop by. Buy one. Buy two. They're cheap at twice the price.

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