MARBLES Jet Pilot Survival Knife circa 1960-1961 early “civilian” type with ferro-blued blade and original “mill-spec” 13-rivet leather scabbard with honing stone. VERY rare type in great condition, considering the age.
This is one of the hardest to find Marble’s models – an original-issue “Pilot Survival Knife” that was designed by Marbles for the US military and some actually were issued to to the US Navy pilots during the trials. Slightly used condition; proudly made circa 1959-1960 in Gladstone, Michigan USA. Marble’s was one of the best US makers of hunting knives, axes and other outdoors gear since 1898.
In 1957 Marble’s came up with the original design for the now-famous “Jet Pilot Knife” and provided the specs, along with the trial batch of knives, to the US military. The navy pilots loved the knife and it received rave reviews from the field. Marble’s was fully expecting to be awarded the actual contract for 30,000 knives and started the production in anticipation of the much-expected win. The government had other plans however, and simply gave away the specifications for the new knife to competitors for bidding. Camillus was the lowest bidder and got the contract to build thousands of Jet Pilot knives, just as the Vietnam War was unraveling. For their hard work, ingenuity, and blind trust Marble’s got nothing. Cheated out of money/new contract, and lied to by government officials, Marble’s began selling the already-manufactured “Jet Pilot Knives” as a new model civilian “survival knife”. These were excellent knives and identical to the original military version in every respect, except for a bronze guard and colored spacers on the ends of the handle. The “original mil-spec stock” knives all had ferro-blued blades – a special rust-resistant Fe3O4 (magnetite) coating similar to “parkerized” finish. The pre-manufactured ferro-blued blades ran out of stock in 1961; post-1961 survival knives all had polished bright-finish blades. A lot of these original 1959-1960th production 6-inch blade knives had actually ended in Vietnam, brought into the country as “private purchase” fighting knives.
The knife is about 10-1/4″ / 26 cm overall; the blade is about 5-3/4″ / 14.6 cm long; 3-line Marble’s / Gladstone / MICH. U.S.A. logo stamped on ricasso. The blade is razor-sharp; it has been very lightly sharpened; the tip is intact; about half of the original ferro-blueing is remaining. The saw teeth on the back are in great shape with no damage. Stacked leather washers handle with colored fiber-n-brass spacers at the ends. The head-duty “hex” pommel is a solid chink of steel; the extra-wide guard is cut from bronze; all handle parts are tight with no play. The original 13-rivets “mil-spec” leather scabbard with a front pocket is in great condition, considering the age; the leather is soft and supple. All original rivets and stitching are intact, original keeper is nice and tight. Original honing stone is present; it’s slightly used but in great condition overall. This vintage Marbles Jet Pilot Survival Knife with original early “13-rivets” military-issue leather scabbard are in excellent over condition, considering the age. Don’t miss your chance to add this rare early Marble’s Ideal to your collection!
I have another early 1960th Marble’s “survival knife” available for sale, please check it out.I have a small but very interesting collection of various edged WW1 and WW2 era weapons to sell. Don’t forget to check out the Militaria section for other WW1 and WW2 era combat knives, including German WW1 era trench knives, vintage USAF WW2 Pilot Knives and a couple of rare WW2 “OSS Drop” knives we offer for sale.
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