Again, I want to thank y'all for your contributions to this threat and the help y'all are giving me for answering such a specific question, posed by somebody who is abysmally ignorant on the topic of pocket knives, for purposes other than collecting pocket knives. I truly appreciate it.
I think you were on the right track with the knives in your initial post. The most common pattern having a can opener and bottle opener (cap lifter) is the scout/utility pattern. Also sometimes called a camper pattern. It was adopted as an official knife of the Boy Scouts of America around 1912. Unofficial scout/utility knives were made by almost every American knife maker (or they had them made for them with their name stamped on them, by Camillus and others). Here’s a thread dedicated to the pattern, containing both official and unofficial versions. viewtopic.php?f=35&t=12874#p103392
Of soldiers carrying “civilian” knives, many undoubtedly had one of these. If a civilian knife with can opener and botttke opener fits your needs, find a scout/utility knife from pre-1944 and you’ll be all set. JMO
Ken, thank you. Yes, that's what I am oriented toward now, a boy scout knife or a civilian knife 1930s or early 1940s. The thread you linked is amazing (194 pages!) and the collections there are astounding.
Unfortunately though most of the times I cannot see the adoption date / manufacture date of the knives presented in it, which is crucial for my goal obviously. I guess finding the official Boy Scouts of America knife of 1912 won't be hard. Finding other non-official scout knives or civilians knife made in the 1930s / early 1940s will not be easy for me, since my knowledge on the subject is so limited that I don't know how to date pocket knives, not even approximately.
I believe somebody in this thread mentioned that bone handles are a telling sign can show if they are pre-WWII manufacture or not (while synthetic handles is a post-war sign). Any other telling signs of a pre-WWII style pocket knife? What about wood handles?
orvet wrote:This topic reminds me of a conversation I had with the late Tom Williams; he was the official historian of Camillus Cutlery as well as a 30-year employee.
Tom told me once that at the beginning of World War II the military was not prepared with knives for issue. He said we at Camilla and most Cutlery companies in America shipped just about every hunting knife we had to the military. They issued many of these fixed blade hunting knives to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. There was even a civilian knife drive where are the civilian population of the United States donated knives to the military to be issued to soldiers. I believe that included both fixed blade and folding knives.
My conversation with Tom, focused primarily on fixed blade hunting knives but I expect the military probably bought knives that had originally been made for the civilian Market and issued them to the Troops. They may have not been official military patterns but they where in all likelihood issued or given to the Troops.
As far as a period correct knife for your reenactment purposes goes, most any knife made prior to the start of the war potentially could have ended up in the hands of the troops. Do if the knife was made prior to 1941 I would think it would be right for your reenactment as this could have been a knife used by the greatest generation.
Yes, the "civilian knife drive" is also mentioned in the Silvvey. Something extremely interesting that I had no idea happened. It's truly a showcase example of the military unpreparedness of the US at the outbreak of the war, a stark difference from the situation of mid-1945.