This is a thread I've wanted to start for a long time now but never got around to it. Last night while enjoying some insomnia, I thought about finally getting down to brass tacks as it were. I've long had a love affair with the Fire Official's dagger & have collected them for over 10 years. Please feel free to post your own examples as I hope this thread to be not only a treat for the eyes but an education for some of the newer collectors considering such daggers for their collection.
One reason I've found them fascinating is the longevity of this specific dagger's form. With the exception of the German Naval dagger, I would say the German Fire Official's dagger has to be the longest, consistently used German sidearm. According to Tom Wittmann & Tom Johnson's fine tome "Collecting the Edged Weapons of Imperial Germany, Volume 1", the Royal Preussen Fire Department introduced edged weapons for wear around 1850 which is quite some time ago. There is a general assumption that officials from the other states authorized the practice in their respective departments subsequently.
Another interesting fact about the Fire Official's dagger, during the NS zeit, it was one of the few dagger types that did not incorporate a swaz in any part of the daggers produced during that era. We also know that Eickhorn produced this model dagger until the firm closed it's doors in the 1970's which is one of the reasons these daggers, at least those produced by Eickhorn, can be somewhat problematic when attempting to determine whether a dagger was produced pre 1945 or post 1945. But I'll get to that in a later post.
Most often seen are the Fire Official's daggers from the Imperial & Weimar era. Many such daggers were produced in this time period & were carried by career fire officers during their entire tenure which often stretched into the 3R. This was possible since the actual form of the dagger changed little. One thing that did seem to change between the Imperial period & the 3R was the length of the dagger blades. It seems the lengthy dagger blades were somewhat awkward which made them unpopular with officers so as time went on, blade lengths got shorter. When you hold one of these long daggers in hand, you come to the realization that a shorter blade made things a whole lot better.
Most Fire Official's daggers were produced by the two big boys on the dagger block, Eickhorn & WK&C, soon to become WKC. Besides differences in blade etches, each producer had a somewhat different hilt configuration which was synonymous with them. Eickhorn's pommel resembled a doorknob, for lack of a better term & the quillion arm ends resembled cloverleaves. WKC was more known for it's "flaming pommel" which was also used on Naval daggers of the same period. The ends of WKC's quillion arms resembled spear points.
This dagger was my first Fire Official's dagger & I suppose it's fitting that it's one of the more recognizable models. This fine dagger was produced by Eickhorn & was assigned model # 42 in the 1908 Eickhorn sales catalogue. As you can see, it's hilt is classic Eickhorn. I passed by many examples before this one quite literally fell into my lap courtesy of the BCN's Jack Schraeder & I am most grateful for that. The condition is just super & as you can see, this dagger was not overpolished by it's original owner or the vet who brought it back to the US. The hilt retains much of it's original lacquer. The blade alone is an astounding 19" in length which makes for an unwieldy piece considering that the hanger loops are so close together.
Here is a shot of the blade obverse. The blade is really minty, particularly for something this old. Just a couple of age spots to keep it from being completely mint. That red felt blade buffer really did it's job. Note the recurrent theme of a ladder on the blade.
Here is a shot of the blade's reverse, also as nice as the obverse. Note the etch includes a pike, a fire axe & a hose, Fire Department motifs that have changed little for 150 years.
Here is a better shot of the dagger's grip which is covered in black leather covered by a wire grip wrap. You can get a better idea for the typical Eickhorn doorknob pommel in this shot too. I'm a sucker for tang markings but sadly this pommel is peened over & it is unremoveable as so many from this period are.
You can also see the Eickhorn maker mark of two back to back squirrels. I believe this particular mark dates from the early 1900's right into the early 1920's. As is not often seen, the mark is deeply & fully struck.
Many of the post 1945 Fire Official's daggers by Eickhorn will show the '35-'41 maker mark however that mark will be etched instead of stamped. It will also be upside down in that the squirrel's rear end will be toward the crossguard on post 1945 pieces & facing away from the crossguard on pre 1945 pieces. I've read also that post 1945 Fire Official's daggers have also been seen with the single oval Eickhorn mark & the back to back squirrel mark as well.
The scabbards on these daggers is black leather which was, because of material & overall length, particularly susceptible to bending. This piece, however has no such issues. Someone must have been quite careful with it all those years ago.
The fittings, like the hilts, were available in either a silver or a gilt finish. Despite the look in the pictures, this dagger is a silver example. This is a shot of the lower scabbard drag which is quite plain in appearance. The scabbard fittings were retained by means of staples similar to some 3R daggers & Police bayonet scabbard fittings.
A better shot of the dagger's obverse inside the scabbard. This model Fire Official's daggers present a very plain picture which departs radically from some examples I'll post in the future. For now, I wanted to show something more recognizable to collectors & where it all started for me.
Great applause! What a great example.. and research.
Many thanks, there's much more on the way
Billy great dagger I'll try and get some pictures of my Eickhorn dagger paul
Very interesting thread, I am curious what is coming next. Thank you for care and for showing.
Thanks for the comments. This is something I've contemplated for a while, primarily so we can educate each other & as a vehicle for us to show off some beautiful but somewhat lesser seen daggers. The Fire Official's dagger isn't a sexy as an SS or SA dagger but they do have a lot going for them. They're also rarer when you consider how many decent fire pieces there are out there. Not that many IMHO but they don't garner the attention or asking prices of the others so I guess I should be thankful for something.
Many thanks for posting your beautiful single oval Eick, it really looks like a pristine example. Note the relatively short blade, I would say it's around 12" or thereabouts? This one could easily have been carried into the 3R era which adds interest as well.
This is another Imperial Fire Official's dagger although the form is completely different from the preceding one. Although scarce in general, this model can be found on dealers' sites & certainly on Eban from time to time. They generally don't reach super heights in price which is nice & allows the collector to cherry pick a more clean piece without breaking the bank. That said, it's sometimes tough to find this model in collectible condition. I looked for a long time to find a clean one, only to have 3 fall from the trees within the same month. Just the way it goes sometimes
One particular feature of this model Fire Official's dagger is that it is usually seen with a sawback blade, something that will tickle most blade collectors. Anyone collecting 3R fire bayonets will love that facet as most will agree that the cream of the crop of those bayonets have the sawback blades. The prevailing notion behind the sawback blade has to do with the fireman's task of having to cut through flaming timbers, to douse the flames & potentially save a life.
Both Eickhorn & WKC manufactured this type of dagger although this particular one was produced by WKC's presecessor WK&C, Weyersberg Kirschbaum & Cie. This dagger was model #108 in WK&C's dagger catalogue. The similar model produced by Eickhorn had model #743. Oddly enough, this company is still in operation & still producing daggers of yesteryear's design, albeit with today's lesser quality.http://www.wkc-collection.de/english/50marine.html
The parts on this dagger are well made & well fitted, the piece is heavier in hand that it would appear. As you can see, the hilt design is rather devoid of detail. This is a very utilitarian piece. At least from the outside that is.
The scabbard on this model is similar to most Fire Official's daggers consisting of black leather stitched in the rear. The fittings are then stapled to the scabbard body much the same way they were to Polizei bayonet scabbards. These scabbards were prone to bending & many today show evidence of previous bends. This one, happily, has no such damage.
You can see how the hanger ring placement is different on this model than it is on the more frequently seen model previously posted. The rings here are spaced wider allowing the wearer a little more control over the hanging weapon. The fittings on this model may appear gilt but they are silver.
This purchasor of this model Fire Official's dagger (both WKC & Eickhorn) had the option of using hanger loops affixed to the scabbard or suspending the dagger by means of a frog lug, similar to a bayonet. In my experience, those examples with the frog lug may be slightly scarcer to find but still out there.
The pommel is relatively plain, almost resembling that of a hirschfanger. It is peened over & sadly it is not possible to remove the pommel for a view at the blade tang.
The scabbard drag is similar to the Eickhorn dagger posted earlier in it's clean, simple lines. The only difference here is that WK&C (& WKC) was known for it's scalloped edges on scabbard fittings & this one shows the subtle detail. This can also be seen on Polizei bayonet scabbards produced by WKC.
Finally to the blade. Here is a view of the reverse ricasso showing the king & knight mark of WK&C, dating this piece to I believe pre-Imperial & the Imperial time.
The grip is fairly plain compared with other Fire Official models & made of a black wood. I'd love to say it's ebony but it doesn't seem as prone to drying/cracking as the ebony of SS dagger grips so I would think it's something else. This grip shows some dings & slight scuffs commensurate with modest period wear.
The blade shows a quite nasty sawbacl blade. But what else is that in the picture?
This model sports an etched blade. Most of us are used to seeing Fire Official's daggers with etched blades but an etched blade on this model is somewhat of a rarity. They are, almost always, seen with a long sawback blade devoid of etch. This one is an exception which was the reason, including the overall condition, that it found it's way to me.
The etch is typical of WK&C/WKC & shows a military motif showing cannons, swords & shields, not a Feuerwehr related motif. I don't know the reason for this except to say that I will show additional models by WKC that also show military motifs &/or a mixture of the two motifs. The etch itself is somewhat shallow but all there & adorns most of the 17" blade. This view is of the blade's obverse.
Here is a view of the blade's reverse. Again, you can see the WK&C mark as well as a shot of the military motif along with general filigree, typical of WKC's embellishment of the period IMHO.
I like those daggers and enjoy this thread,hope it continues! Thank you.
Billy just outstanding pictures I love it paul
Very interesting topic.
Look forward to seeing more from your collection.
Mikee, Paul & Roger,
Thanks gents, much appreciated. I hope to interest you more with some additional pieces to be posted as I get the chance.
I hope you can post a few shots of that very beautiful & unusual Fire Official's lionhead piece you have.
This is a really special Fire Official's dagger that I'm sure most of you have not seen before. In fact, no one I know has seen this model dagger previously. When I initially saw it, I didn't know what to make of it as there are a lot of differences between it & what we see more commonly everyday. The condition was slightly less that I would ideally like but it was clearly a dagger for a fire official. Despite the questions I had & the condition, I still had to have it.
I sent it off to Tom Wittmann to get an idea what he thought of it. Tom was very impressed by the dagger's condition because of it's age. When I inquired which period Tom thought the dagger dated from, he responded somewhere between 1860 & 1890. Needless to say I was floored & at the same time ecstatic. But what Tom said sort of made sense to me considering the crossguard looked an awful lot like some of those pre 1900 Naval dagger crossguards. Based on the blade etch & flaming pommel, I thought it looked a lot like a WKC/WK&C product; Tom agreed.
The scabbard appeared to be a standard Fire Official type scabbard constructed from black leather & standard, simple type scabbard fittings. A set of dagger hangers was used with this dagger suspended from two hanger loops, both affixed to the scabbard's top fitting. Sadly, I don't have any sufficient pictures of the scabbard but will add one later.
But I digress, here is the dagger I'm gushing about.
I know what you're thinking, it looks a lot like a standard Fire Official's dagger & it does. But the parts are different enough to merit the attention of the collector.
Notice the quillion arms & the detail to the outside. Looking at it now, the design almost resembles a War Merit Cross
This is a radical departure to the crossguard we all associate with WKC but remember, this piece allegedly dates before 1900. Some naval daggers of this period had similar crossguards so it makes sense that this form may have simply predated the WKC Fire Official's dagger as we know it.
Here's a good shot of the "flaming pommel" which has thus far only been attributed to WKC products. You can also see the grip which is wrapped in rayskin, similar to officers' sabels of the day. The rayskin is covered by a single strand of copper type wire.
Upon closer inspection though, this pommel wasn't like the others I had seen or owned. The pommel was not peened over, it had a pommel nut that was a separate piece this threaded through the pommel & was removable.
The scabbard drag, despite the ding, was similar to most German Fire Official's daggers, plain & quite utilitarian. I'll be posting pieces in the future that are as different from this piece as they can be.
Here is a shot of the obverse crossguard, clearly this piece was intended for someone affiliated with the Feuerwehr. For a collector of fire related items, you really can't go wrong with a Feuerwehrhelm & crossed axes.
Here is a shot of the reverse crossguard showing other fire related motifs of a ladder & pike. Again, always nice to see these things which clearly indicate the purpose of the dagger.
I had a really tough time photographing the blade etch on this piece suffucuently so I had to settle for spot shots. This panel is on the obverse blade & shows fire related paraphernalia. I believe this panel is quite similar to the etched on Feuerwehr sabels produced by WK&C in the Imperial period.
This panel is on the reverse blade & shows what most of us would consider a military motif including a breastplate, swords & banners, similar to the Imperial sawback I posted previously. This piece is clearly for a fire officer but there's a mixing of the etches, showing both were used, sometimes even simultaneously.
Here's a better shot of the grip showing the rayskin covering, single strand of grip wire, crossguard & pommel. There has been some shrinking to the leather scabbard, resulting in a slightly shorter scabbard. I could probably get the dagger blade in a little more but there's no need to possibly push the scabbard drag off the scabbard leather by being a brute. The pommel actually fits quite snugly but I don't want to cause problems usually resulting from overtightening a dagger pommel.
The blade is not in pristine condition & shows some modest age spots but considering the age & overall rarity of this model, I was still super happy to add it to my collection.
That's the piece for this evening. Next up, I'll try to add a piece that's in terrific condition with some nice rare features & a little mystery to it
Billy what a great dagger with great pictures.I'm sure learning a lot from you and keep them pictures comeing paul
Here's some "filler" until Billy can get back to us with more of his great collection and experience.
Both are early WKC fire pieces.
The first is the standard Imperial model Billy referred to in his explanation of the neat early capstain-quillon dagger he showed. This is for comparison of some of the points of later development (re: quillon ends, horn grip, unornamented quillon block, blade etch- unornamented black leather scabbard fittings).
The second item is a sawback, lionhead with typical WKC fire motif etched blade and rayskin wrapped handle. The langets are marked, both sides, with "D&R" which I suppose to possibly designate a private factory unit. (More knowledgeable opinions are welcomed).
This dagger starts to hint at the variety available to Feuerwehr collectors.
Thanks for posting Gents, you've got som really great looking examples of fire sidearms at their best! I do love the variety indeed.
Other than here on GD, I've never seen anything referencing that lionhead sawback & would love to know what the initials stood for. Such mysteries keep me enthralled. Even the dedication on the scabbard fitting, it's got an individial's name & not just a particular department. Just super.
This dagger's something of a mystery. What's the mystery you ask? Well, what's the specific unit or designation for this dagger?
Well, it sort of looks like a Fire Official's dagger in some respects. And in some respects, it resembles a Naval dagger. So is it a Naval Fireman's dagger? Could be, the truth is we just don't know. Whatever it is, the dagger remains in near mint condition. Although I know a few people with this model dagger out there & this is the best of the lot IMHO. It came to me from the far off shores of New Zealand about 8 years ago & I'll admit I overpaid for it but I didn't care. This was one of those "had to have" situations. In hindsight, I'm still happy so why complain?
This dagger type is pictured on Tom Wittmann & Tom Johnson's book "Collecting the Edged Weapons of Imperial Germany, Volume 1" on page 239. There it's described as a dagger having a "Naval/ Fire" motif probably produced by WK&C, speculation suggesting a harbor or marine fire detachment.
One can see with it's flaming pommel & spear point quillion arms, WK&C was the likely manufacturer. But why a naval/fire connection? The combination of an ivory grip with brass fittings certainly makes me think Naval but if so, why a steel scabbard & not brass? Seems foolish to protect a beloved dagger from the elements & sea salt with a rust prone steel scabbard. But the form does look to be quite similar to Imperial & Weimar era Fire Official's daggers so without a catalogue reference, we still seek a definitive answer.
If anyone else has one of these, I'd love to see it or hear your thoughts on the dagger's intended purpose.
A shot of the obverse crossguard. The grip, as you can see, is a beauiful piece of turned ivory. The quillion arms are quite detailed on their extremities & the fittings are clearly brass. This picture also gives a good view of the scabbard throat retaining screws which are at either flank of the scabbard throat, have flat heads & jut out significantly.
One horrible moment happened shortly after I unpacked this dagger from it's journey. I nearly threw out the brass ferrule with the box. Gladly a buddy noticed my mistake fast & alerted me before I did a bad thing. How hard would it have been to find one of those parts?
A slightly blurry shot of the reverse crossguard, note the brass release button similar to a Naval dagger. You can also see the lone hanging loop on the scabbard.
Here is a shot of the scabbard body which retains nearly all of it's original black lacquered paint. Just some carrying scars consistent with modest wear is all I can see on it. The lone hanging loop is attached to a most plain band & the scabbard drag has a slight lip, that's it. One of the plainest scabbards you'll see on a dress dagger IMHO.
A view of the obverse blade etch. As you can see, it's not filled with Feuerwehr ephemera but rather a more generic military motif. Not unheard of as has been previously seen in some of my earlier pieces but still curious. A shame there's no maker mark although I don't think there's any great question who made this dagger. Whoever made it, the blade on this baby is really a thing of beauty.
A shot of the reverse blade etch, a well executed albeit Feuerwehr lacking motif. Is this dagger Feuerwehr related? I just don't know although I hope to someday find it is. Until then we can all speculate as to it's true purpose but it's such small mysteries that continue to make the hobby more interesting for me.
The pommel on this dagger was not peened over so I was able to break the dagger down & view it's guts. Most pieces are internally stamped "83".
Next time, I'll try for something very special & a little more traditional.
Billy on Tom Johnsons site under Imperial fire axes and daggers he has one that looks like yours.Its listed as a Rare Imperial Harbor Fire Offical's Dagger hope this helps paul
Yes, that's the same dagger. Tom's example has a blued scabbard which is different than mine, otherwise they are nearly identical. Tom's description of this dagger as an Imperial Harbor Fire Official's dagger is similar to what he & Tom Wittmann wrote in their book Collecting the Edged Weapons of Imperial Germany although at that time the description seemed speculative. It sounds like they're more definite about it now but I don't believe there's any period reference to it. Either way, I love the piece.
Here's Tom Johnson's description & picture:
RARE Imperial Harbor Fire Official's Dagger. No Maker. A photograph of ths actual dagger appears on page 66 of Imperial German Edged Weaponry Volume Three and an example is also pictured on page 239 of Collecting The Edged Weapons Of Imperial Germany Volume I. Although unmarked this dagger was no doubt produced by the W.K.& C. Firm as evidenced by the "flaming ball" pommel and crossguard with "spear head" guillon tips unique to W.K.& C. produced Fire Official's daggers. Brass hilt fittings show only minor wear/age patina to the screw-on type flaming ball/ waves pommel and crossguard with spear head guillon tips. The turned ivory grip with seven swirls is well toned, darker on the obverse, with no cracks or chips, and was never fitted with wire wrap. The polished, double-etched, 13 ¼" inch blade grades EX showing light surface wear/age,gray spotting and evidence of abrasive cleaning, but no nicks to cutting edges. Both obverse and reverse blade feature 9 5/8" long, lightly etched panels featuring a military motif of drums and swords. The blade is complete with a retaining spring/release button and brown leather buffer pad. The dent-free, blued steel scabbard with single suspension band/ring grades EX+ retaining virtually 100% of the bluing with very minor scattered pitting. Rare Imperial example.EX/EX+
Here's a scan of the Eickhorn catalogue showing some nice Feuerwehr daggers. It's interesting to see the disparity in blade lengths from left to right.
Here is an unusual Fire Official's dagger variation you don't see everyday. Although it doesn't fit the mold of Eickhorn's Fire Official's daggers, that's exactly who made it. According to Eickhorn's catalogue, this dagger was model #527.
From memory, the blade is 17", give or take which probably accounted for it's unpopularity. And it's the period unpopularity that makes it so rare & ironically, more popular today. It's very understandable why these very long, narrow blades could be unwieldy. The narrowness almost makes them look dainty which is the furthest thing from one's mind when contemplating an Imperial/Weimar era German fireman
Note the detailed crossguard & unusual pommel which is peened over. The grip is turned black horn. Although this model has much that differs from traditional Fire Official's daggers, the etch is all Eickhorn, showing the same traditional fire motifs. This beauty came all the way from England, courtesy of Eban, many years ago. Since that time, I've seen maybe 2 or 3 on dealers' sites but that's it. All were priced in the clouds too.
Here's a view of the reverse grip. While the general appearance of the dagger could cause confusion, there's no questioning it's purpose when looking at the reverse crossguard panel showing a ladder & pike.
Here's a closer shot of the very unusual pommel.
A shot of the reverse ricasso showing the Eickhorn single oval maker's mark. Although someone may correct me, I'd date this piece as mid to late 1920's which means it might have been carried into the 3R. You can also see the felt buffer pad which is still there & obviously did it's job this many years.
A view of the scabbard top fitting which is, as usual, quite plain & lacking in detail.
Ditto the scabbard drag which does show a nice patina.
A decent shot of the obverse blade etch, typical Eickhorn IMHO.
In searching, sadly I could not find a fuller view of the reverse blade. All I had was this crummy shot of the center panel of the reverse blade etch, although you get the idea. The etch includes axes, hoses, a pike & something that resembles either a lantern or a fire call box, not sure myself.
I love them all, keep em coming. I think your right about the Eickhorn mark, I have seen this exact mark on hirschfängers from 1925-1930.
OK so maybe this isn't one of the more recognizable types
This is a Fire Official's dagger for the region of Alsace Lorraine. Different, huh? I bought it close to 10 years ago when I didn't even know what it was. Thought it was cool & when I heard there was a Feuerwehr connection, well that was it.
Clearly this model dagger was constructed much differently than the standard German Fire Official's dagger. I mean, everything about it is different. Initially when I looked at it, I was struck by it's Spartan appearance. It does look like a no nonsense weapon actually. The blade is not etched but is thick & one sided, not double edged like the standard dagger. It also has a double fuller, something we'll see on some additional Alsace pieces to be posted in the future. And it's worn from the belt like a bayonet, not suspended on hangers. Interesting to say the least.
The condition is not the best but I can count on one hand how many I've seen in 10 years of looking & still have fingers left. Condition aside, this was one of those occasions where you have to strike while the iron is hot.
This is a scan from the WKC catalogue showing this model dagger. This dagger wasn't manufactured by WKC but I just show it for reference as a model made by multiple producers.
Here is a shot of the blade unsheathed, you can see it's features & how different it is from the usually seen Fire Official's dagger. Did you notice that maker mark yet?
Here's a closeup of the scabbard frog lug & crossguard, they're constructed of brass & quite plain when compared to their standard German counterpart.
A shot of the unusual pommel which is peened over & not removable. Sad as I would have loved to get inside this one for a look see. The grip is unusual too, seems to be constructed out of a type of black bakelite although I believe this dagger's construction predates the invention of bakelite.
A shot of the scabbard drag, plain but somewhat similar to the German examples we've seen thus far. That'll change with some of the more ornate Alsace examples on deck. You can also see a poor attempt to repair the scabbard leather which seems to have had some trouble over the years.
Here is a view, albeit a poor one, of the maker's mark, a "B" with a crown. The mark appears on the obverse & reverse with the obverse being slightly larger in size. I had never seen this mark before acquiring this piece so it was a bit of a puzzle.
You can also make out a brass strike plate that covers the blade as it is in the scabbard. Probably not as effective as the leather buffer pad as this blade shows it's age in some places but is still presentable.
An overview of the dagger in the scabbard. One thing I've never been able to locate is a picture of what the period frog for this model dagger looks like. Some of you may like this piece, some will probably hate it but all will probably agree it's unusual & something not often found on the market. The blade also strikes me as really wanting to be a bayonet although it's in a dagger's hilt. Thick, almost a slab, single edged & fullered, nothing dainty about it. Next up, I'll try to embellish a little on this Alsace thing.
Tonight's installment is another Fire Official's dagger hailing from the Alsace region. This one is somewhat more embellished than the one posted last night as you can see. The dagger, as a whole, has a tremendous heft & is more like a short sword than a dagger. The hilt & fittings are brass & the blade is the thick slab type.
The grip is perfect, no chipping or cracks & the grip wire remains nice & tight. The crossguard is a thing of beauty with the curved over appearance similar to the previous example, albet more detailed. Note the lionhead in the center & the dragon heads (?) on the quillion arms, pretty cool IMHO. This dagger was suspended by a frog, notice the frog lug. Very nice detail to it & a beautiful little fire helmet in the center. And what's up with that pommel? Quite unlike I've ever seen.
Here's a shot of the blade unsheathed. As you can see, it's double fullered which seems to be something specific to Alsace Feuerwehr daggers. Unlike German Fire Official's daggers, most Alsace blades are plain. But not all
Here is a better view of the very unusual pommel. I have no idea what it's supposed to be, looks like there's some leaves & vines in there though. It's peened over & not able to be taken down, sad.
Here is a better shot of the scabbard frog lug. Even this often overlooked item does not want for detail.
A better view of the scabbard drag, also well detailed in ever way. This dagger is really a work of art.
Here's an underneath view of the hilt. As you can see, it's all brass & quite heavy. My only complaint is the mostly missing red felt buffer
And a shot of the blade tip with fullers. I love etched Feuerwehr blades & it's a shame the blade isn't etched on this example. But it almost doesn't need it as there's so much for the eyes to feast on. But how would such a piece look with all this & an etched blade?
Here is a scan from what I believe to be an Imperial era Eickhorn catalogue. While this model doesn't seem to fit either Alsace example, #1131 or #1132, it looks a little similar to #1132 in general appearance & the scabbard fittings. The pommel on the posted example os clearly unlike either of these though. While any Alsace Feuerwehr piece is scarce, the deluxe models are quite rare IMHO. Sadly the blade on mine is unmarked.
Here is another unusual Fire Official's dagger, this one a deluxe model also for Alsace. Again we see something that is very different from the Preussen type dagger but also different from the preceeding dagger as well. Similar to all Alsace Fire Official's daggers I've seen, this one has the scabbard frog lug for suspension from a frog instead of hangers. The fittings are all brass which makes for a heavy dagger. The blade is also a "slab-type" which is thicker & generally heavier than the usually seen, thin version.
There's a lot of detail on this dagger. Everywhere you look, something is jumping out at you.
Here's a view of the obverse grip. You can see the grip is turned black horn wrapped by a single strand of twisted copper wire. The pommel & crossguard are wild, unlike anything else I've ever seen but that said, they're tastefully done. I got this dagger because of it's affiliation to fire service & the oddity factor but it, like the other 2 Alsace pieces I have, really grew on me.
In this shot, you can see that the crossguard has a pleasing central theme of a Feuerwehrhelm with a crossed pair of axes. Beneath the crossguard is a type of cap that covers over the blade when it's sheathed to prevent moisture damage. It did it's job as the double fullered blade is just gorgeous.
The blade is obverse marked WK&C & as you can see it's etched with typical WK&C fire related motifs. I had a lot of trouble capturing the blade without glare but will try to add a shot or two in the future as time allows. Just a keeper all around!
Here is a shot of the reverse grip which is different than the obverse but no less pleasing.
A better shot of the crossguard detailing.
A better shot of the detail on the reverse crossguard.
WK&C maker mark & a little of the etch.
Even the pommel is done with exquisite detail. This is the pommel obverse.
A better shot of the reverse pommel detailing.
A shot of the wonderfully detailed scabbard frog lug.
And finally, a shot of the relatively plain scabbard drag.
I haven't to this point posted a standard WKC model Fire Official's dagger, until now. I was waiting to pick up a nice example, possibly with a nice engraved scabbard dedication. Every once in a while one pops up that's nicely conditioned but it's usually priced in the stars so I waited. And I'm glad I did. This one popped up maybe 4 years ago & I knew I had to have it. I hope by looking at it that you will see why.
Right off the bat, this piece has what looks like a period knot wrapped around the crossguard. Now Imperial/Weimar period Feuerwehr knots are fairly scarce but they are out there. Usually if you see one on a dagger, it's more than likely a Feuerwehr sword knot. You know the type, large, wide bulb with a wide & flat strap.
But this one was different. First of all, the strap is like a dagger strap, thin & round. Secondly, there are red flecks in the strap & stem. Thirdly, the cat's anus has a carmine dot. Seldom does an accouterment really stoke me but this one did. I had never before (or since) seen such a knot. It was just snugly enough wrapped to make me feel it was there the whole time. And boy is it toned, remember this knot was originally silver bullion.
OK so that's the knot, but what about the dagger? Looks like a garden variety, albeit minty, WKC example. Right?
OK so this looks like a standard WKC dagger, flaming pommel, spear point quillion arms, floral crossguard center, scalloped scabbard fittings. So what gives? BTW, the hangers were a subsequent addition. I just thought they looked kinda nice in the pics.
Here's a shot of the WKC knight which I believe was used from the Imperial period through the Weimar period. The blade etch is plainly visible & it's also a good shot to view the knot strap.
A shot of the reverse blade etch showing Feuerwehr motifs. But besides the condition & fancy knot, what's so special?
This, a presentation from the Pionier Abteilung of the Göthen Volunteer Fire Department. The only bummer is there's no name or date although I suppose it's researchable to some extent. This is one of my favorite daggers.
A better shot of the knot bulb which, interestingly enough, is tough to shoot while still attached to the dagger. And I'm not about to take it off
Billy that's a great fire official's dagger.One day I might find one thank's for showing it paul.
Thanks for your kind words. On TJ's site I recently missed a very nice presented Eickhorn model #527. It wasn't in the update section & by the time I saw it, it was gone. Sometimes it's just a case of being in the right place at the right time. Of course with the money in hand too
Billy G. looks to me you have your fair share of being in the right place at the right time .
what do you do ?? I'm guessing you have some rope with a big magnet on the end , just toss it out the window, wait a while ,pull it pack in and caught another third reich item.
very nice collection billy !! please keep sharing the photos.
p.s. with out this forum & and all of you guys (& gals),I would not see so much of this stuff. Az. has a lot less to offer /see at the shows ect.
Thanks for the kind words. One reason I've been able to acquire such pieces is the relative lack of knowledge & of course, the relative lack of interest in them. Probably more a lack of interest. Look at them all, not a swaz in the bunch. Most are Imperial or Weimar which always garners less interest than a 3R era piece, swazs notwithstanding. I've been lucky, some friends know I like these pieces & have emailed me when one has popped up. Others were for sale on Eban, others still from dealers although you will always pay through the nose with a dealer.
Another good thing about Fire Official's daggers, there really isn't the reproduction issue with them. True Eickhorn made them legitimately until the late 1960s or thereabouts but vetting a post 1945 piece from a pre 1945 piece isn't that difficult. And of course it's about being in the right place at the right time. I've been skunked many times being a day late looking into something or jst bidding too low on Eban.
It's also knowing what to buy & what not to. I also passed up a super beautiful ivory presented fire axe that was offered to me at a wholesale price by a very reputable dealer. I just didn't want it at the time. Boy am I kicking myself on that one to this day!
You sure know how to pick them.
I am still looking for a nice TR Eickhorn fire dagger.
Which mark are you looking for? I'll keep my eyes open.
I am looking for the 35-41 squirrel holding sword and the 42 over shoulder marks.
And, if you run across a nice Eick etched fire bayo (that is a real one..)
Wow, is that all?
I've seen the '35-'41 mark on a rare occasion on a Fire Official's dagger but never the over the shoulder mark. A single or double oval can be had once in a while although it's been a while since I've seen either of those too.
I've seen plenty of etched fire bayonets by Eickhorn, none that were period IMHO. The search continues,...
Very nice to see you finally got that dagger from Tom, considering the cpsy of these daggers I think you found a very reasonably priced rig. The hangers are really the icing on the cake, I don't know if they're completely unique but I've never seen another. Whatever they are, they're very unusual & very much look the period, the reverse looks similar to a number of Feuerwehr sword hangers I've seen. Probably a special order item. A beautiful addition to your awesome collection, thanks for posting pics of it!
Very, very nice.
Paul very nice dagger you beat me to it owell next time thank's for the great pictures Paul
Thank you very much indeed guys, and Vigs,,, sorry.....
Was lucky enough to be offered a stone mint belt and buckle at the same time-how could I refuse??
beautiful dagger, hangers and belt buckle, that's what I call a FULL display.
Well done mate !!!!!!!
A positively stupendous addition to your Pack collection. I am jealous, of course, since this is only the 2nd Pack example of a Fire Official's dagger I've encountered in roughly 15 years of researching & collecting them.
Your dagger closely resembled an Eickhorn example with respect to its fittings & perhaps Pack bought their Fire Official fittings from Eickhorn, but the similarities are not complete. That grip is different, more straight up & down rather than bulbed in the center.
The etch is truly a thing of beauty, not similar to any other Fire Official's dagger I've seen before. I really love Pack's Feuerwehr motif including that fireman & all the filigree work. The other Pack example I handled was identical in every way to a WKC/WK&C type, including the etch. Thanks for sharing it!
Here is a more recent shot of my Fire Official's dagger niche, this is the first time I've had them all assembled together. Looked quite nice, if I do say so myself.
Moving from left to right, the 1st three examples are Alsace type daggers which all show some of the same features which are not usually seen on a standard Preußen Fire Official's dagger, frog lugs & double fullers. From what I've seen, Alsace variants tend to be ornate on the outside & plain on the inside whereas the Preußen daggers are often the opposite. Maker marks are Unknown "B" in a circle, WK&C & an unmarked Eickhorn.
Next are two Eickhorn examples, the scarce model 527 with its unusual pommel & crossguard (single oval squirrel) & the more commonly seen model 42 (back to back squirrels).
The final four sport some unusual traits. The plain crossguard sawback features an etched blade (rarely seen on this model), a model estimated by Tom Wittmann to be from 1860-1890, a special order example with presentation blade (with rare knot) & an unknown type with ivory grip, steel scabbard & thought to be from a Harbor or Marine Fire detachment. The marks are WKC knight's head, unmarked WK&C, WKC knight's head & unmarked WKC. I have a variety of Feuerwehr dagger knots which have yet to be added.
I love those old ornate daggers. Rare and expensive. Great display.
Billy i'm speechless
Thanks gents. The high resolution shots really show off the details of the grouping & this downsized pic does the daggers no justice. I'm just noticing that now. Will see what I can do to post some group shots with better detail of the daggers & the blades since I really want to share all the variations of this wonderful genre.
Great Fire Axe. Is that a gold finish or the lighting?
That's a very nice bunch of Feuerwehr stuff John. I've seen them previously but never get tired of looking at beautiful specimens. I remember the gilt Horster axe too, not common to see a maker's mark on an axe. I think yours & one other, also a Horster, were the only ones I've observed.
Beautiful Feuerwehr axe. Did it come from Witty?
I suspect they came in both gold & silver, similar to the Fire Official's dagger. I've only seen this model with Hörster maker mark maybe three times & all were gilt.
Billy it came from Graig Gottlied Military in 2007.Thanks
I would like to see some other examples of Fire Axe's from the members, especially some from the Imperial era. These can be quite elaborate.
Vigs: You have an outstanding collection of axes. Congrats. Viewing these has been a real pleasure.
Dons thank you I'm up to 13 Fire Axes so far Paul
Here is one of my NS Zeit axes. This one is an Eickhorn Nr.915 as shown in their catalog.
Maybe a Plane-Jane axe, but it has lots of character. Keep em coming.
I've always known you had a super collection of Feuerwehr axes, they're great to see like this. That ivory gripped one is super, thanks for sharing!
I've seen that mark once or twice before & never been able to identify it either. What else is on the mark besides the crown & sword?
Although I've always tried to pick up an unusual Fire Official's dagger whenever I've seen one, the axes rarely made it to my collection.
Here's a presentation axe from my collection for 20 years of service from the city of Erfurt. Sorry for the poor quality of the pic. The color is washed out as the darker areas are gilt.
Here's the gent's name & rank, "Dem Oberfeuerwehrmann Georg Rädiger" & a date of 1887. The form of this axe is quite plain & utilitarian but I like how that contrasts to the ornate quality of the etch.
I've seen that mark once or twice before & never been able to identify it either. What else is on the mark besides the crown & sword?
This marking is a single sword piercing the crown with nothing else visible. The Carl Kaiser marking is crossed swords under a crown, usually with C. K. added.
Here is a FW Officer dagger made by Clemen u. Jung.
I see that Wittmann & Johnson have some very elaborate Imperial era fire axes on their sites. Very expensive.
Billy that's a really nice one
Clemen & Jung is one of those makers we occasionally encounter but ever so rarely. I'm not surprised that the fittings mimic either Eick or WKC, that always seems to be norm. A very beautiful example greatly enhanced by the super rare hangers, many thanks for sharing it.
Can you post a shot of the blade etch? I'm curious is the etch is similar to Eick's etch or something completely different, like Ivan's Pack Ohliger example.
You're quite right about the cost of these examples, some are super expensive but as Tom Wittmann told me, "they may be rare, but so are the collectors that want them". Cost is probably why I've always stuck with the daggers instead of the axes.
Thanks man! It's my only etched example although I do have a nice, plain 3R era example with hanging device similar to one of those you posted too. Those are tough items to find too!
Here is the etching on the blade of the C & J.