APPENDIX 1Joseph Rodgers “Military Knives” patterns

The following is a screen-snip taken from the Joseph Rodgers & Sons catalog circa early 1900s (page 55) showing the three knives that are designated as “MILITARY KNIVES”, being pattern Nos: P.1651, P.1652 and P.1653. It appears that an identical illustration was used in the circa 1912 Joseph Rodgers catalog.

As far as can be currently ascertained, knife P.1653 was the first Joseph Rodgers knife to incorporate the wire cutter tool – that 40 years later evolved into the “OSS/SOE Escape knife”.

These three knives may also have been the first Joseph Rodgers knives to incorporate a tin opener tool. Interestingly, the “service knives” produced by Rodgers for WW1 incorporated a slightly different tin opener – that was both shorter and broader, whereas the knives that evolved from the P.1653 knife continued with this longer version through to the early 1950s.

Regarding knife P.1632, after many years of searching I am yet to see an example – either physically or a photograph.

Regarding knife P.1631, I have been able to collect two examples – both well worn, but ultimately easy to recognise. See photos following, with a copy of the catalog image for comparison:

Source: Authors manuscript collection

Source: Author’s collection

 

 

APPENDIX 2: Coles III, pages 158 & 159 (together with additional Collector Note comments).

Availability to collectors – based on observations documented elsewhere in this Collector Note:

Illustration No.1 – “First prototype made from parts”. This is probably a one-off and can be distinguished from the earlier “sawblade” knife by the inclusion of tin-opener tool – and consequently the nickel silver scales are from the original Rodgers’ “Military Knife P.1633”.

Illustration No.– “Factory pattern all metal is bright except the saw blades”. This appears to be the “M” stamped model described by Van Dyk. This is a pre-production item and therefore would have been produced in very limited quantities.

Illustration No.3 – “Experimental black plastic handle all metal is blue”. This is most likely a one-off item. It is shown in the Van Dyk article but was not included in the later North West Knives sales catalog dated Nov. 2000.

Illustration No.4 – “Trial piece all metal is blue except the cutting blade”. The role of this knife in the OSS/SOE Escape Knife narrative is described earlier in the Collector Note under the heading 1. Escape knife – ‘All purpose’ version’ in the section Phase 4: Post WWII – 1950s. Based on evidence that there have been two sales in recent years of what appears to be an identical knife, together with a photo of a similar knife in Silvey’s book “Pocket Knives of the United States Military”, it is assumed that this knife was produced in sufficient quantities (i.e. 250) to fulfill a military contract and therefore is available to collectors – albeit that production numbers were in-reality quite small.

Illustration No.5 – “All metal blue not marked issue knife”. This is the OSS/SOE Escape Knife, as described in detail on the following page extracted from Cole III – page 159 and is the primary subject of this Collector Note.

 

 

 

APPENDIX 3: Copy of article “Knives of the OSS” by Adrian Van Dyke in the May/June, 1975 edition of American Blade magazine

 

 

 

NOTE: the text at the bottom of the photo does not equate with knives shown. To correct this problem the photo needs to be rotated 180 degrees – then it all makes sense. The following APPENDIX 4 shows this same page with the photo rotated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APPENDIX 4: Copied from article in “The American Blade” magazine Volume 11, Number 4 – May/June 1975. (page 16) NOTE: The illustration has been rotated 180 degrees to make sense of the description following and includes annotations that indicate other references.

 

Left group, top to bottom:

1. OSS escape knife, finished bright, the only marking is an “M” stamped on the inside of the wire cutter handle. This piece is thought to be a pattern piece that was used to check against production specimens to see ifthey conformed to specifications. The “M” is thought to stand for “model” or “master”; Cole illustration No.2,also included in NW Knives sales catalog dated Nov. 2000

2. experimental variant with black plastic checkered handles; Cole illustration No.3,

3. trial piece with the manufacturer’s name marked on the blade; Cole illustration No.4also included in NW Knives sales catalog dated Nov. 2000

4. this knife is thought to be the first prototype of the OSS escape knife and was made from parts on hand. The handles are made of nickel silver and blades are marked with the normal markings of a commercial knife. Cole illustration No.1also included in NW Knives sales catalog dated Nov. 2000

Right group, top to bottom:

5. a knife usually referred to as a “Pilots and Engineer’s knife”. also included in NW Knives sales catalog dated November 2000

6. This is reported to be a WWII period British issue knife; knife on which the design for the OSS escape knife was based (see text); also included in NW Knives sales catalog dated Nov. 2000

7. unknown variant. also included in NW Knives sales catalog dated Nov. 2000and Nov. 2011

APPENDIX 5: The back cover (and sales details) from “North West Knives and Collectibles” November 2000 sales catalog

 

APPENDIX 6: Author’s collection

 

1 Joseph Rodgers “Military Knife P.1633.” 

Original “Flat latch” version– dated c.1901 to c.1902

Queen Victoria stamp

2 Joseph Rodgers “Military Knife P.1633.” 

First variant– assume dated circa 1911 – circa 1914.

King George V stamp

This knife has the concave rough finish on the insides of the nickel silver slabs.

3 Joseph Rodgers “Military Knife P.1633.” 

Second variant– assume dated circa 1914 – circa 1930.

King George V stamp

This knife has the smooth finish on the insides of the nickel silver slabs.

4 Joseph Rodgers “Military Knife P.1633.” 

“Sawblade” knife. Assume dated circa 1930s.

This knife has the smooth finish on the insides of the nickel silver slabs.

5 Joseph Rodgers & Sons 

OSS/SOE Escape Knife –(known officially as the “ALL-PURPOSE” KNIFE), circa 1942 – 1945.

Unused and unsharpened condition, stamped on the inside arm of the wire cutter.

6  

 

Joseph Rodgers & Sons 

OSS/SOE Escape Knife –(known officially as the “ALL-PURPOSE” KNIFE), circa 1942 – 1945.

‘Relic’ condition, including the loss of the wire latch which secures the wire cutter from opening, together with a standard bail.

7 Joseph Rodgers ‘multitool knife’, assume circa 1950s – 1960s. 

Version A

8 Barnett “Plyer” Knife manufacture by the “O. BARNETT TOOL CO. NEWARK NJ” which is stamped on the tang of the cutting blade, together with “TRADE HHH MARK” stamped on the arm of the plyer. Length closed is 4.125 inches.
9 John Watts wire cutter knife, having “JOHN WATTS SHEFFIELD ENGLAND” stamped on the tang of the cutting blade and “WATT’S PATENT” stamped on the arm of the wire-cutter. Length closed is 4.5 inches.

 

 


[1] M. H. Cole, U.S. Military Knives, Bayonets and Machetes, Book III. Published by the author, 1979

[2] Ron Flook, British and Commonwealth Military Knives. Howell Press, 1999

[3]Secret Agent’s Handbook of Special Devices” Public Records Office, London 2000

[4] Brian Moyse & Roy Shadbolt “The Elusive MI9 Escape Knife” article in the September 2014 edition of Knife World magazine

[5]Brian M Moyse & Allan H Moyse “A Rodgers Military Special” article in the October 2016 edition of Knife World magazine

[6]“mark side” being the side of the knife that normally displays blade stamps and tang stamp; the “pile side” is the reverse side. Some commentators use “obverse” and “reverse” instead – which means the same.

[7] Frederick J. Stephens, Fighting Knives, An Illustrated Guide to Fighting Knives and Military Survival Weapons of the World. Arms and Armour Press, 1985

[8] Ron Flook has advised me that “Eclipse” is a well-known UK blade maker that was established in 1909,

[9] Christopher Clayton Hutton – see details on page 6 of article: “The Elusive MI9 Escape Knife”[9] by Brian Moyse & Roy Shadbolt in the September 2014 edition of Knife World magazine

[10] M. H. Cole: – see previous

[11]American Blade magazine Volume 11 Number 4 – May/June, 1975

[12]North West Knives and Collectibles November 2000 sales catalog

[13]Michael W. Silvey. Pocket Knives of the United States Military. Published by the author, 2002

[14] Ron Flook: article “Makers of SOE Knives revealed” in September 2012 edition of Knife World magazine

[15] “Military Knives – a reference book” © Copyright 2001 Knife World Publications.