1904 US Bolo Knife

Condition: Excellent

SKU: JW3702 Category: Tags ,


Product Description: This 1904 US Bolo Knife is a really appealing, complete example, that shows honest wear and use. The large, heavy blade shows signs of wear, with spots and marks here and there as well as a couple of nicks to the cutting edge. The blade is stamped on one side with “US 4337” and on the other side with the date of manufacture, 1905, relatively early on in the production of this tool. The handle of this knife has fantastic patina, with attractive toning to the brass. The wood grips have some old marks from use, but remain sound. This 1904 US Bolo Knife is complete with its original leather scabbard, which remains solid. All of the original stitching is intact, with no issues. The scabbard is nicely marked and dated and dated “RIA 1912 H.E.K.” indicating manufacture by Rock Island Arsenal. The leather has some typical minor surface marks, and the scabbard is complete with all of the original metalwork, which retains most of the original finish. This Bolo knife is a great, representative example, in excellent condition.


Historical Description: The United States military used “Bolo” style knives as an issue-type utility tool during WWI and into and through WWII. These originally started off in 1904 as full-size machetes, intended to be used by Hospital Corps troops who needed to hack through jungle to transport wounded, build field hospitals, and to cut poles for litters. They could also be used as close combat weapons in a desperate situation, and eventually saw issue to many types of units. In 1909, a new version of the Bolo knife was introduced that was less expensive to produce, though the 1904 pattern remained in production until 1915. Both the 1904 and 1909 variants were issued with leather scabbards. A shorter Bolo knife with a cloth-covered wooden scabbard was introduced in 1910. In 1917, a simplified version of the 1910 knife was introduced, that was issued in large numbers and widely used during WWI, by machine gun crews and other troops who needed to be able to clear brush. Eventually, the US military determined that the shorter Bolo knives were less efficient than a well-designed machete. The M-1942 Machete replaced the Bolo knives in production, though the Bolos continued to be used through 1945.


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