Big Bertha

Big Bertha
Circa 1940, on the streets of Rochester New York, Bertha does her work.
"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, January 17, 2010

Adventures in Patternmaking I


As implied above, this won't be completely covered in this session. I'm lazy and your attention span has likely spanned its utmost already for today; as has mine. Fair enough.
Besides, I promised adventure. That takes time.

"Pig Boat": If you don't know that this means "submarine" in an informal sense then... you do now.
I can't remember when I first heard the term. I think it was from my first wife's dad (Pigboat sailor circa 1920's). In fact, I know that I heard it from him - just not sure if it was the first time. I know that I heard the expression tossed about by and about "sub sailors" all through my memorable and eternally valued time in the Nav.

But when I tried to verify the origins of this rather venerable expression I ran into difficulties. Whenever it related remotely to subs, the origin was invariably given as... concisely: Submariners stink.
As a young moron just out of my 'A' school, a newly certified, junior turd-herder (UTCA), I shared this observation with my recruiter - whom I had stopped to chat up (!!!) and who, coincidentally had the dolphins on his jumper: That sub-sailors were... hygienically impaired.
I was corrected forthwith and rightly so - although, speaking in my defense, during the First War, the German U-Boat sailors wore black underwear and not as a fashion statement (Eewww!).
However, compared against what I thought I knew about why pig boats are called pig boats, the logic of this definition forces one to assume that "pig iron" is so-named because it smells like bacon (best scenario) or pigs.

I heard that they were called pig-boats because, when the old diesel models were being "tended" by their tender, they looked like a flock (herd, covey, kindle?) of piglets crowding around Mama looking for a boob.
It looks more a hen to me but no one would have joined the sub-service if they'd thought that they'd be riding "chick boats".
Aove, USS Holland (AS-3) moored at Buoy 19, San Diego harbor, California, in 1940, with eleven submarines alongside. Submarines are (from left to right): Salmon (SS-182); Seal (SS-183); Stingray (SS-186); Perch (SS-176); Pollack (SS-180); Cachalot (SS-170); Cuttlefish (SS-171); Skipjack (SS-184); Sturgeon (SS-187); Snapper (SS-185) and Sargo (SS-188).
During the Second War, a chief molder, working in the foundry of the above pictured ship, produced around 300 examples of the knife pictured at the top. Most were as pictured, cast onto an existing M2, bowie blade. A very few were cast onto M3, trench knife blades.
If you can find one, it will run you somewhere in the several-thousand-dollars range.
Eugene Stone's son has a website with information and pictures.
E. W. Stone Knife
Now, to lighten the mood and to address a nagging problem that I have with the coolness of this knife, I find that I'm not alone. Stone knives are discussed in this Forum.
Some of these militaria collectors were ready to toss this thing out as a piece of Chinese crap.
Wiser heads weighed in and, in the end all learned more about E. W. Stone and that things are not always as they seem.
Study up at the website linked to above and you'll find that - surprise - it really is a piece of Chinese crap - just several times removed from it's 1930's, CC origins - which adds some extra texture to its Chinese crapitude.
Even now, the cycle continues. The "inciting incident" (Inn't that great? Drama class, Yo) for this adventure series involved the arrival, at my house, of the below pictured piece of merchandise.

The top one of course. The lower is the Camillus M2 belonging to the research collection here at the institute; included for scale.
The other one... Hooooo boy, No, I did not order it.
But you can here. Twenty bucks. Cheap at twice the price.
No, this is less a knife than - as the bald-guy-with-a-tiny-ponytail-concept was once labeled, a cry for help.
We've gone full-circle.
This is a piece of Chinese crap.
And it's mine. Stay tuned for part 2.

1 comment:

Andy said...

Must admit, if I saw one I would think "Pakistani POS". Learned something else today.

That forum is pretty entertaining too! Good thing people aren't as confrontational in person as they are on the web, otherwise there'd be a lot of goatee pulling going on!

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