IRON GUARD FIRST TYPE MODEL 1880 HUNTING KNIFE

$1,475.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 490-3260

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This is one of the first 1,000 Model 1880 hunting knives produced in early 1881 that used an iron guard and handle socket, and is housed in one of the scabbards modified in 1888 by the addition of a large leather loop with to enable it to fit on a cartridge belt, a design that was replaced in 1889 by brass hook and swivel and in 1890 by a fixed hook. The handle socket is clearly stamped US / SPRINGFIELD on one side, indicating manufacture at that armory and is number 533 on the other side, placing it near the middle of the brief production run. Subsequent production of the knife starting in 1883 used brass for the guard and handle socket and ran to another 10,500 knives, but the overall form of the knife did not change: it used an 8.5 inch blade, 2-inches wide, with a spear point and median ridge. The blade on this one is smooth metal, with good edge and point. The metal shows as a steel gray with some thin, darker gray stains. The handle is very good, with good color and surface, distinct ridges and grooves, and no chips or losses. The top of the pommel has some dings but some of the SWP / 1881 inspection stamp can still be made out with the date being the strongest.

The scabbard is very good. The leather has a black finish but shows a deep brown where it is rubbed. The face shows age cracks, but no flaking. The reverse shows some wrinkling and rubs, but no crackling or finish loss. The brass throat plate is in place. The reverse of the loop shows and “EG” inspector stamp. Since this appears on the leather that was added after cutting off the original hinged clamp or the shorter belt loop that replaced it for time, this would be an inspection stamp for the modification.

These wide-bladed knives were multi-purpose. Butchering game and various duties around camp were one function. One veteran praised them, since up to that time, “whenever we went out on campaign we had to provide ourselves with hunting or butcher knives at our own expense. (Government bacon being too strong or tough for the ordinary case-knife.)” When not battling government rations, however, they might also be used for entrenching, something increasingly stressed in tactics, and were deemed effective enough for that purpose that the trowel bayonet was declared obsolete in late 1881, though it was another ten years before the knife was redesignated as an entrenching tool in 1892.  [SR] [ph:m]

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