Object Title

Knife spear

Knife spear

Date

1900-1930

Object Number

X.1765

Provenance

Purchased by private treaty, 12 June 2001.

Physical Description

The hilt comprises a hollow cylindrical handle with an open end and a long sliding collar, and a small, oval, (chromium-?) plated copper alloy guard. The half of the handle furthest from the blade has four longitudinal slots with longitudinal slots with rounded ends in the intermediate segments. On the inner faces of the ends of three of the segments (presumably originally on all four) designed to grip the haft. The greater part of the collar is cross-hatched. A thicker, plain section at the end furthest from the blade has an L-shaped slot which engages with a pin (which is screw-threaded and probably a replacement - see below) on the outside and near the end of one of the segments of the handle. When the collar is moved to the end of the handle it can be locked by turning it. When moved thus, the collar forces the segments of the grip slightly inwards, causing the pins to dig into the haft (not present).


The single-edged, steel blade has a saw-cut back for 110 mm beyond the fairly long ricasso. A fuller runs from the end of the ricasso to approx. 65 mm from the tip. On the ricasso is stamped, on inside: BALDOCK KNIFE SPEAR/MADE EXPRESSLY FOR /WALTER LOCKE & CO LTD/
PATENTED; and on outside: JAMES DIXON AND SONS/SHEFFIELD/ENGLAND.


The brown, leather-covered cardboard scabbard has a 20 mm deep leather reinforce at the mouth to which is stitched a diagonal leather belt loop. The main part (beyond the reinforce) has cross-hatched tooling and gilt tooled boarder lines, and in the centre of one face is a gilt tooled decorative motif.


There is no haft (see Notes).


Condition on acquisition: The knife is in fairly good condition with very small rust patches; plating of the copper alloy guard is wearing off; the screw-threading on the pin on the outside of the collar has no function and it is probably a replacement which has resulted in the loss of the corresponding inner spike. The scabbard is damaged. The seams have opened towards the bottom and, just below the reinforce, there is a horzintal break on one face and one edge has worn through the cardboard.

Dimensions

Dimensions: Knife: Overal length: 360 mm (14 1/8 in.), Blade length: 240 mm (9.5 mm), Blade width, at hilt: 30 mm (1 3/6 in.), Scabbard: Length: 243 mm (9 9/16 in.) Weight: Knife: 434 g (15.3 oz), Scabbard: 54 g (1.9 oz)

Component parts

Associations

Places Britain

Notes

The knife was patented on 12 June 1902 (application 14 April; Patent No. 8623 including two illustrations; photocopy on inv. file) by Major Charles Blair Baldock. No haft or handle is illustrated in the patent but a version is there described on which the collar had an internal screw thread designed to engage with a thread on the outer surface of the end of the handle (lines 21-5).
These knives are discussed in H.L. Blackmore, 'Hunting Weapons', London, 1971, p. 75 (brief mention only); and by R. Flook, 'British and Commonwealth military knives', Airlife Publishing, Shrewsbury, 1999, pp. 13-14, Pl. 8 (two examples illus.). Other examples known are in the MOD Pattern Room collection; and belonging to the Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust (Kelham Island Museum) (inf. G. Rimer, September 2001).
James Dixon was one of the largest cutlery firms in Sheffield. Founded in 1805 and adopting the name James Dixon and Sons in 1833, it reached its peak in 1914 but went into decline from the 1950s and had ceased production by the 1990s (see G. Tweedale, 'The Sheffield Knife Book', Sheffield, 1996, pp. 184-5).
The number was split (and the location of this entry changed to 'See under suffixes') as follows 21/02/05 - knife A, scabbard B. Previously the knife had no suffix and the scabbard was A. (PJL)