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PhilB

Makers of WW1 Knives, Forks & Spoons

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PhilB

There have been a number of threads on WW1 cutlery, mainly spoons, but I haven`t seen one that says much about manufacturers, of whom there were probably several. Knives are a bit different to forks and spoons in that the blades weren`t suitable for numbers to be impressed by soldiers, being too hard, and I assume the bone handles (they were all bone?) would have shattered. Spoons and forks were softer though and suitable for number impressment. I have a fork by John Round & Sons Ltd and a spoon by DIXON. What other makers` names are out there? And does anyone have a unit marked knife?

post-2329-0-64685200-1403260082_thumb.jp

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Kath

Round & Dixon both Sheffield firms.

Kath.

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centurion

There have been a number of threads on WW1 cutlery, mainly spoons, but I haven`t seen one that says much about manufacturers, of whom there were probably several. Knives are a bit different to forks and spoons in that the blades weren`t suitable for numbers to be impressed by soldiers, being too hard, and I assume the bone handles (they were all bone?)

No they weren't flatware (knives) were made with a variety of handles including

  • Ebonite - a hard black rubber based plastic otherwise used for pipe stems, music rulers, black piano keys, insulators on submarine electric motors etc etc
  • Mother of pearl - I have some that belonged to my grand parents
  • Tortoise shell - bit hard on the tortoise
  • Ivory - elephant or watrus
  • Stainless steel - whole knife uniform

And the US Army issue was a cheap all metal knife

And of course the wealthy might have all silver or even all gold (especially if you were the Czar). Semi precious stones were also used but not I think in the trenches!

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PhilB

But which ones did the WD buy?

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Kath

Of interest?

These knives held on end of lanyards?

http://www.sheffieldhistory.co.uk/forums/index.php/topic/3207-military-knives/

http://www.core77.com/blog/hand-eye_supply/core77s_hand-eye_supply_presents_the_ixl_british_army_knife_24538.asp

"During WWI and WWII, Joseph Rodgers was the primary manufacturer of these knives, but the torch is now carried on by Egginton group, originally Egginton Bros. Ltd., formed in 1872, who have sought to preserve the once ailing Sheffield cutlery industry."

Kath.

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Joe Sweeney

Phil,

Unfortunately I don't have too much time at the moment, but the Army had approved patterns-all made of metal-either cupronickel in the case of spoons or plated steel in the case of knives and forks.

Also local commands were given authority to purchase these kinds of items commercially--especially in 1914/15 so civilian styles were very common.

The three photos below show regulation patterns--I can get into pattern numbers if you wish.

The combination of KFS photo is what is on issue at the beginning of the war.

post-57-0-00237700-1403289254_thumb.jpg

The second shows the fork handle marked according to regulation. Note arrow mixed in with SWB over stamp.

post-57-0-47313000-1403289266_thumb.jpg

The spoons are all by approved patterns---Fiddle back was the norm since at least the 1880's and Old English was formally introduced in 1917 ( a fork pattern with Old English handle was introduced in 1917 too).

post-57-0-94102600-1403289410_thumb.jpg

Fiddle back forks were commonly purchased but never pattern sealed, earlier patterns with bone and wood handles with three tynes(forks) were also commonly issued.

I'll see what manufacturers marks are present later but on the regulation knife and forks I seem to recall of those I own few if any had manufacturers marks.

Hope This helps

Joe Sweeney

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centurion

But which ones did the WD buy?

Not what the OP asked

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PhilB

Thanks, lady & gents. I don`t recall seeing a regulation pattern fork or knife as shown above though spoons are more common. Is it likely that knives & forks were often abandoned in favour of a single multipurpose implement - the spoon?

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wainfleet

I've only ever seen attributable issue knives in the all-metal form shown by Joe above, which I think is the most typical regulation pattern, and with a handle that I'd always assumed to be bone, made by some process roughly akin to sintering. I suspect the bone handle type is an older form. I'm fairly sure I've also seen one fork with the bone handle, but I've definitely only ever seen all-metal spoons. In 30+ years of fairly intensive collecting I think I've seen most of the variants likely to come up, but am happy to stand corrected if anyone knows otherwise.

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ServiceRumDiluted

I have a field find spoon made by Hiram Wild of Sheffield. It is interesting because I used to supply them and often visited the factory at the bottom of Herries Rd in Sheffield. I have two others but have not been able to make out makers marks.

There will have been a lot of manufacturers, particularly at that time. I'm no expert but did deal with a lot of cutlery firms in the late 90's so have seen the process many times. A lot of manufacturers will have purchased knife blanks and added their own handles. Stainless steel was not used for cutlery until after the war as it was thought too difficult to form and grind, the only wartime knife i have has the remains of a wooden handle. Spoons and forks are easier and would be stamped, handle and all, from a single blank. Interestingly I also have a German cutlery set which is of a very contempory design.

Edited by ServiceRumDiluted

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PhilB

Thanks, SRD. I had cause to visit some Sheffield cutlery finishers in the 60s and they were quite numerous. I had assumed that the WD would have bought in large quantities from a fairly short list of manufacturers but maybe not. The only names to surface so far have been Round, Dixon & Wild, but perhaps there were many more?

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ServiceRumDiluted

I'd suppose that there would be numerous people involved in supply to the WD, as I say my knowledge of the cutlery industry is that there are many parts to the process, some would produce the blanks and handles in house and do all the grinding and polishing whereas some would sub contract part supply or processing out. Many small and large firms, and many little mesters would have been involved i'm fairly sure. I can't point you at any reference work I'm afraid. But there must be some useful sources somewhere.

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ServiceRumDiluted

This is the eating utensil bit of my collection of bits,post-96724-0-66200200-1403790651_thumb.j

I am aware that they could be easily post war picnicing pilgrim/farm worker lost items but the spoons all have british markings.

Top left is an unmarked battered fork, top centre is a pocket knife handle in wood with alloy pommel, right is a bent spoon, detail;post-96724-0-76364800-1403790665_thumb.j

it says Nickel Silver wears White made in England. I believe 'wears white' was a mark of the manufacturer Viners. on the top of the spoon is 'GR' and the crown, indicating it is for service use.

Centre is the German combined spoon and fork, very similar to modern camping cutlery.

Lower centre is the Hiram wild spoon, lower quality metal, but still in good shape.

Bottom is a detached spoon handle marked with broad arrow and what I think is 'I G Ltd' '19??' but this barely shows in the picture.post-96724-0-76555700-1403790678_thumb.j

None of these items have any personal markings on them, all were found on the surface in the early 1970's (not by me, I was 6 months old at the time!) and I hope the pics are of interest.

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PhilB

Certainly! Thanks SRD.

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trenchtrotter

John Round & Son on an attributed spoon belonging to a soldier with 4th KRR. Gassed at Loos in 1915. Spoon probably gassed too!

R&D on a field found example from the Somme.

W Tay & Sons, Birmingham on another Somme find.

Unknown shield Makers mark on my ASH and numbered spoon from a field near Ovillers. This also has hallmarks but not for silver.

All the typical pattern.

Years ago I found a German combo set as above at Verdun. Has been in the outhouse for years. The above post by SRD made me dig it out. I had always sprayed it periodically with WD 40 to limit corrosion. I washed in soapy water and to my amazement it retains the original field grey paint finish!!!

TT

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trenchtrotter

Checked another Somme find. Same type of pattern. T Wilkinson & Son, Birmingham. Think this one was from near High Wood Or possibly Guillemont?

TT

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PhilB

Thanks TT - the list grows longer!

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ServiceRumDiluted

TT, off topic slightly but I have just noticed a distinct similarity between our profile pictures! I can easily change it if required. SRD

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trenchtrotter

SRD

No need. Both similar images but different artists. I think your image was from a periodical and mine from a propaganda poster?

Thanks anyhow.

Regards

TT

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ServiceRumDiluted

Thanks TT, it was from Punch, I have an original copy of 'Mr Punch's history of the Great War' from 1919. The caption to the picture reads 'to the glory of France, Verdun February-March 1916'. I think it has been reprinted and is worth tracking down.

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Guest starsshooter

Hello from sunny Italy!

I was contacted by someone who owns a approved-pattern spoon, with the following marking KRR 38513.

The owner may have been a POW during the Great War. I suppose KRR stands for King's Royal Rifle, is there a way to find the soldier's identity?

Many thanks in advance,

f-xavier

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Khaki

When did they start/stop using (tinned) finish on cutlery?, I have a soldiers cup and spoon both tinned, both British military

khaki

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GWF1967
On 6/20/2014 at 17:12, PhilB said:

But which ones did the WD buy?

image.jpeg.c359bd606c50bcf13ce125fb2a856Govt. manufacturers.  John Round & Son,  + W.Tay. I have another by S.S.P & Co.Ltd.  All marked W/I\D 12 .  

 Other spoons without W.D mark are by R&B, NS and Thos. George

 

Edited by GWF1967

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PhilB

This Dixon spoon has all the appearance of WW1 including the asymmetric wear. However, it`s very big for an eating iron (table spoon size) and I`m wondering if it might be a civvy spoon conscripted.

IMG_2849 (800x297) (2).jpg

IMG_2851 (800x408).jpg

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Dave66

Thanks for posting Phil,

I have a similar one that I’ve often puzzled over due to its size.

T Wilkinson & Sons, and stamped W/|\D 3, the reverse stamped GHJ 1509 but may be an over stamp.

Also have a Fork of similar size by J.Collyer & Co, broad arrow stamped and dated 1916.

 

Dave.

89B14793-C577-4797-9A96-6F71DCEF118E.jpeg

754729EA-3A57-49FC-9CDE-A00ABF073E4F.jpeg

89E727A3-BE2F-4010-9934-3B506CC99B75.jpeg

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