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#15470 - 10/03/09 07:39 PM Fire Bayonet Thread
Billy G. Offline



Registered: 03/31/00
Posts: 4673
Loc: USA
I thought I would take this opportunity to restart the original thread that explored fire bayonets. That thread, as many of you will remember, lasted at least a few years & had a tremendous amount of information. It also had tons of pictures from many GD members collections & I hope collectively we can recreate some of that thread here now. Please feel free to add pics of your pieces or any info that may help add to the appreciation of these fine edged weapons.

Feuerwehr bayonets are somewhat more popular now than when I started that thread 6 or 7 years ago. Initially I had no interest in dress bayonets, a sentiment I'm sure many dagger & blade collectors feel. First off there's plenty of them out there & it's probably human nature to practically disregard something that's so plentiful. I know, I do it myself.

As far as detail there's not much there, right? These pieces are as plain as plain can be & yet there is beauty in their simplicity. The lines are clean & true, almost utilitarian in their appearance.

Most collectors would look at a pile of fire bayonets thinking they're all the same but there are differences there, subtle differences that obsessive collectors can not only see but ponder over for hours. But I'll get to the subtle differences & variations at a later date. For now maybe it's best to start where I started, at the beginning. Here is that first piece.


Attachments
Obverse_2.JPG (2029 downloads)

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#15471 - 10/03/09 07:56 PM Re: Fire Bayonet Thread
Billy G. Offline



Registered: 03/31/00
Posts: 4673
Loc: USA
Back maybe 10 years ago I only had eyes for daggers. Every once in a while the colorful Feuerwehr bayonet knot would catch my eye as it really stood out but the bayonets did nothing for me. Guess one day I thought "maybe I'll get just one nicely conditioned piece to fill the niche.".

Yeah right, was that ever short sighted. So it was that I found this piece on Eban, seemingly perfect long model bayonet with nicely conditioned frog & well toned knot. The seller wanted something like $200 on a buy it now which was a lot in those days since I probably could have had a nice Heer dagger for $300. So I pull the trigger & the piece arrives a few days later.

My beginning in fire bayonets started where many German edged weapons collectors start, with the ubiquitous mark of Carl Eickhorn. I was soon to learn the significance & timing of maker marks but this is how I saw my first Feuerwehr piece. I was amazed at the plated blade & how utterly perfect it was, save for a few runner marks. The grip plates were similarly perfect & fitted just flush to the hilt. The curious crossguard caught my attention but then, that one of the main features that distinguished it from the standard Heer/Luftwaffe KS98. I read somewhere that the recurved crossguard was fashioned after the hooks that adorned the duty belts of the firemen of yore.

I picked up the piece many times that week & loved that even though it was 50+ years old at the time, it still looked like it could have been made last week.


Attachments
FW_Eickhorn_'35-'41.JPG (2019 downloads)

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#15472 - 10/03/09 08:27 PM Re: Fire Bayonet Thread
Billy G. Offline



Registered: 03/31/00
Posts: 4673
Loc: USA
I was satisfied with my seemingly perfect Eick fire bayonet. That lasted weeks, maybe a month. Then I realized there were long & short models & these curious, vicious looking sawbacks. The prices on the sawbacks, then as now, were significantly higher than the plain blades examples. And so it was that I decided to obtain an example of long & short models in both plain & sawback blade.

Jeff Slaker, also known as Colorado, an old GD'er had some fire bayonets he was unloading, most had frogs, some even had knots & all were priced most fairly. It was from Jeff that I picked up my first sawback, a '35-'41 Eickhorn long model. Jeff actually provided me with a number of nice examples over the years & I owe him & many others a debt of thanks.

This piece typified the differenced between the early era Eickhorns & later production pieces. The weight was lighter overall & the plating on the pommels & crossguards was thinner, as you can see from the slight bubbling in this pic. It was obvious to tell, especially in hand, that the parts used to make these later pieces wasn't as good as some of the others but the quality in construction was still there. While of a later vintage, all parts are so well fitted that it's tough to find fault with it. Additionally, it's sawteeth are frighteningly sharp. The maker's mark was the same as the other plain bladed example I had but it's such a decent mark in & of itself & I hadn't yet had the bright idea to buy at least 1 example of every mark on these bayonets. But that would change.


Attachments
FW.JPG (2010 downloads)

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#15473 - 10/03/09 08:39 PM Re: Fire Bayonet Thread
Billy G. Offline



Registered: 03/31/00
Posts: 4673
Loc: USA
This piece came off Eban back in the glory days. I remember I beat Ron Weinand out for it which meant to me the piece was probably worth having. Ron always said sawbacks are scarce but short sawbacks are scarcer still.

It was after I got this short sawback that I realized the very real differences between early & later production. Everything about an earlier vintage piece is better IMO & you can really see it in this bayonet from the quality. You can also date it's production to '33-'34 which is when Eickhorn is said to have used this logo.


Attachments
FW.JPG (2004 downloads)

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#15474 - 10/03/09 08:52 PM Re: Fire Bayonet Thread
Billy G. Offline



Registered: 03/31/00
Posts: 4673
Loc: USA
Besides the relative scarcity of these short sawbacks, what drew me to this particular piece was the unusual hanging device that was on this bayonet. The best I can describe it would be a semi crudely fashioned frog with suspension loop affixed to a clip that was hung from a belt. There also was a strap with snap button to hold the grip of the bayonet in place while in wear.

I loved the piece even more when I found a slight wear mark on the reverse of the pommel where the bayonet obviously rersted against the metal clip while being worn. It gave it just a little more character & also meant the hanging device was original to the bayonet. Volume V of Tom Johnson's original dagger books shows an identical hanging device on a short '33-'34 Eickhorn sawback.

The bakelite grip plates on this piece are the usually seen diamond pattern instead of the earlier, elongated diamond type which we usually see on very early pieces. I'll deal with the earlier bakelite in a later post.


Attachments
Obverse.JPG (1984 downloads)

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#15475 - 10/03/09 11:27 PM Re: Fire Bayonet Thread
JohnZ Offline



Registered: 03/29/06
Posts: 5222
Loc: Calgary
Billy:

Great start to this thread... Eek Big Grin Eek

John
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Always looking for Eickhorns and etched bayonets.

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#15476 - 10/04/09 03:12 AM Re: Fire Bayonet Thread
will jones Offline



Registered: 03/19/08
Posts: 488
Loc: north wales u.k.
WOW just superb Smile

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#15477 - 10/04/09 04:37 PM Re: Fire Bayonet Thread
TKissinger Offline



Registered: 01/13/01
Posts: 1854
Loc: New Mexico
Billy

Thanks for restarting your Fire dress bayonet thread. I would advise everyone to save this thread; one never knows how long it will be with us. In my opinion Dress bayonets are very collectable because they are under priced compared to other edged weapons, plus the unbelievable amount of TM's and distributors that are available.

Billy is an expert on Firemanís bayonets and we are sure to learn from this thread.
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#15478 - 10/05/09 02:15 PM Re: Fire Bayonet Thread
jancz3rt Offline



Registered: 10/17/07
Posts: 293
Loc: Czech Republic : The Heart of ...
Hi guys,

glad you made this thread. Fire bayonets and dress bayonets in general are a great niche that will never stop surprising a collector. They are still affordable and make it a perfect collectible for beginners and or people on a budget like me.

Here's one of my rarer fire bayonets bought from T. Wittmann about a year ago. Notice the unusual tip to go with the narrow fuller:





JAN Big Grin
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Dress bayonet collector : http://www.purkrabek.com/militaria-collection-purkrabek.php - My collection

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#15479 - 10/05/09 02:25 PM Re: Fire Bayonet Thread
jancz3rt Offline



Registered: 10/17/07
Posts: 293
Loc: Czech Republic : The Heart of ...
Here's one more picture of my Spitzer short fire bayonet:





JAN Big Grin

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