Gary Cunningham's

Bayonet Point's

Updated Oct, 2004

Bayonet Points #22 - October, 2004

The US Bayonets M1905 and M1
World War Two Production

First, I would like to clarify the nomenclature that I personally use for bayonets in this article. Production of the Model of 1905 bayonet occurred at Springfield Armory and Rock Island Arsenal during the 1906-1922 time frame. About 1925 a simplification of nomenclature began, including the beginning of use of the letter "M" followed by numbers. New items were to be numbered beginning at M1 – items already in the system used M instead of Model. Therefore the Model of 1905 became the M1905. I use the nomenclature of the time of manufacture to differentiate between the two production periods of the 1905 bayonet, Model of 1905 for the first production period from 1906 to 1922, and M1905 for 1942-1943 production. On WW2 period Ordnance records however, it must be remembered that both were listed as the M1905. Some writers and collectors have used the designation Model 1942 for those M1905 bayonets produced in 1942 and 1943 – however, as this was never an official designation, I prefer not to use it.

In an earlier Bayonet Points article I mentioned that I use the M1905E1 nomenclature for all the Model 1905 and M1905 bayonets that had their blades shortened to the 10-inch M1 bayonet length. I recognize that this designation was used only during the testing phase, and that those bayonets that were shortened were officially designated M1 just as those originally made with 10-inch blades were. However, this can lead to some confusion among collectors, and I see no good reason not to continue to call the shortened version the M1905E1 as a useful collector name, while still recognizing that the official military nomenclature was M1. Along this line, it may be noted that many of the photographs in Ordnance publications of the period used the shortened bayonets to illustrate the M1 bayonet.

Section 1 - The M1905 Bayonet

Background

By mid-1939, it had become evident to the War Department that a war in Europe was possible, and events in the Far East raised questions about the role of the US military in that region. Planners began to take inventory of the military goods on hand, and what supplies would be necessary if the military forces were to be rapidly expanded. This resulted in the Protective Mobilization Plan.

An inventory showed that there were about 581,000 serviceable Model 1905 bayonets available (and about 2,050,000 Model 1917 bayonets). This was considered to be adequate for immediate needs, and no plans were made to procure more bayonets. Scabbards, however, were in short supply which resulted in the development of the plastic bodied M3 scabbard which I discussed earlier in a Bayonet Points article.

By mid-1941 it was felt that there would be a need for more M1905 bayonets, and the various Ordnance Districts were instructed to actively seek bids from companies for the production of the bayonet. It was desired to contract with companies that would be equipped to produce the bayonets without the purchase of new machinery or tooling, and who could begin deliveries by January of 1942. It was anticipated that about 287,700 bayonets would be ordered, with deliveries to be completed by June 15, 1942.

Although several bids were received, most were found to be based on purchase of new machinery and tooling, to be paid for by the government and loaned to the facility. This was not in accordance with the bid instructions, and would result in long delays in delivery while the machinery was ordered, delivered and set up.

During the time from the initial bid invitations to the time the bids were received and studied, conditions in Europe had reached a point where it was considered necessary to order more bayonets than had originally been anticipated. After a careful study of the bids and deciding which companies had the most machinery and tooling available to begin production as rapidly as possible, contracts were issued to Wilde Drop Forge and Tool Company, Kansas City, Missouri (WT); Utica Cutlery Company, Utica, New York (UC); and Union Fork and Hoe Company, Columbus, Ohio (UFH).

These contracts anticipated the beginning of deliveries in late 1941. With the world situation getting worse, three other contractors were assessed, with contracts to be issued on an "as needed" basis. These companies were Pal Blade and Tool Company (PAL), Holyoke, Mass.; Oneida, Ltd., Oneida, NY (OL); and American Fork and Hoe Company, Evansville, IN (AFH). With the entry of the US into the war, contracts were issued to all 3 of the new contractors, and all 6 were ordered into production as rapidly as possible.

All of the makers had a great deal of trouble getting into production, and none of them came close to beginning deliveries by the scheduled date. Although the first deliveries were scheduled to begin in January 1942, it was April before any were actually delivered and mid-summer before quantity deliveries began. There were three primary problems that all of the makers shared.

  1. Delivery of tooling and gages. None of these companies had ever produced bayonets, and although they had the basic machinery for working with steel, they did not have the necessary specialized tools to be used in the machines. Also, they were unable to obtain the gages necessary to be sure the parts met stringent government inspection requirements. The time lag necessary to get the tooling, set them up, and adjust them to the proper tolerances delayed bayonet manufacture by several months.
  2. Availability of steel. Steel was of course a critical material in a great number of defense products and, especially after US entry into the war, it became a scarce commodity that had to be carefully rationed. Priorities were established for the various types of steel, with allotments to the various users based on the priority given their product. In the beginning, the specified bayonet steel was WD-5090 which was a non-standard steel and was not readily available in the quantities needed. By July 1942 it was in such short supply that WD-1080 was specified as an alternative. Further testing revealed that properly heat treated WD-1080 was a satisfactory substitute and most later production used this steel.
  3. Shortage of trained workmen. As none of the companies had previously produced bayonets of this type, they were forced to rapidly train workmen in the various skills needed. Not only did this take time, but they often found it hard to keep the trained workers. Some of the men went into the military service, and others were lured away into other defense industries. Due to changes in orders and production schedules, the manufacturers often had to lay off workmen, then sometimes found it difficult to rehire the workers when new orders came in.

MAKERS:

As detailed above, there were 6 companies that produced the M1905 bayonet during 1942 and 1943. For those that may be interested, I am providing a short summary of the history of each of the manufacturers. Most of the information shown is found on the Internet, often at company websites.

American Fork and Hoe, Geneva, Ohio

The American Fork and Hoe Company was formed in 1902 through the merger of 17 regional steel goods companies. Among them was the Old Stone Shop of Wallingford, VT founded by Alexander Miller in 1808 (later the Batcheller and Sons Company), maker of forged steel rakes, hoes, potato hooks and scythes. This was the oldest fork company in America. By the late 1930s AFH produced a very wide range of steel products for farm and industrial use.

During World War 2, headquarters were in Geneva, OH. Plants involved in larger scale War Production were located at Evansville, IN (axes, mattocks, hammers, sledges, and tools); Akron, IN (machetes, intrenching shovels); Ashtabula, OH (bayonets and bayonet modification); Charleston, WV (axes, machetes, picks, sledges, and tools); Dunkin, NY (tools); Geneva, OH (tools and steel); and Wallingford, VT (snowshoes).

In 1949 the company was renamed True Temper, by which name it is still known. In 1967 True Temper merged into Allegheny Ludlum. In 1978 Allegheny Ludlum sold True Temper to Wilkinson Sword in exchange for a 45% interest in Wilkinson Sword. Two years later Allegheny International acquired the remainder of Wilkinson Sword, bringing True Temper back to Allegheny ownership. In 1985 Allegheny sold True Temper to Emhart Corporation, which was subsequently acquired by Black & Decker in April 1989

Among other companies presently part of the True Temper family is Ames Co., the largest maker of shovels for the military for many years.

 

Oneida, Limited

Oneida Community had begun in 1848 as a religious and social commune. The members of the community produced various items, eventually including silverware for their own use and for sale to the outside world. The Community was reorganized as a joint-stock manufacturing company (Oneida Limited) in 1880.

In World War I, they not only sent 265 men into the armed services, but also bent all their efforts to produce various materials for the armed services. Although they manufactured ammunition clips, lead-plated gas shells and made combat knives, their real specialty was the production of a wide range of surgical instruments, of which they became the principal source

In World War II and the Korean War, over 900 men joined the various armed services, and, except for tableware for the use of the Army and Navy, all the Company's resources were devoted to war work. The list of their production is impressive. Since they were known as experts in the surgical instrument field, naturally that was their first effort. Considering that the company was exclusively a manufacturer of silverware, the diversity of their war production is extraordinary; carbine slides, rifle sights, parachute quick-release devices, engine bearing plating, bomb shackle releases, hand grenades, shells, survival guns, bayonets, parachute hardware, aircraft fuel tanks, aircraft elevators, chemical bombs. They also purchased a separate factory in Canastota, New York, in which they made various army trucks, aircraft survival kits and elaborate photographic trailers. For some years after the end of the war, they manufactured compressor rotor and stator blades for jet engines. And, when it was all over, they reorganized their plants, welcomed their soldier sons and went back to making - even better than ever because of the new skills they had learned - knives, forks and spoons, and all that went with them.

Oneida Ltd. is today the world's largest manufacturer of stainless steel and silverplated flatware for both the Consumer and Foodservice industries, and the largest supplier of dinnerware to the foodservice industry. Oneida is also a leading supplier of a variety of crystal, glassware and metal serveware for the tabletop industries.

(From an article in the Syracuse, NY Post-Standard, September 10, 2004): "Unable to pare the plant's high operating costs, Oneida Ltd. announced that it will cease manufacturing stainless steel flatware early next year and cut 500 jobs. The move ends almost a century of flatware making in Sherrill. America's last domestic maker of stainless steel forks, knives and spoons now will become solely an importer, buying goods from other factories and selling them under the Oneida name."

 

Pal Blade and Tool Company

Pal Blade Company began in Plattsburgh, New York in 1935 as a merger between the Utica Knife and Blade Company and the Pal Blade Company of Chicago. On January 17, 1941 the company formally purchased the cutlery tooling and machinery of Remington Arms Company Cutlery Division, and set up a new factory in an existing building on Bigelow Street in Holyoke, Mass. They were in production by June, 1941 continuing many of the Remington patterns and also developed a line of their own in both hunting knives and pocketknives.

During World War 2 the company made the M3 knife, the M1 bayonet, the M4 bayonet, and some pocketknives such as the TL-29. They also made the Navy Mark 1 and Mark 2 sheath knives. They also supplied the military with millions of razor blades from their Plattsburgh factory. Their RH-36 pattern (Remington Hunting, Pattern 3, 6 inch blade) was purchased in large quantities by the military and sold to servicemen through the Army PX system.

Following the war they continued to make a line of commercial knives, but by 1953 the machinery was effectively worn out, and it was decided to close the factory. Pal Blade Company of Plattsburgh was acquired by American Safety Razor in 1953. They continued to manufacture razor blades, and remain in business making Personna and Bic razors and other products today under the American Safety Razor (ASR) company name.

 

Union Fork and Hoe

UFH was founded in 1890 by G. B. Durell in Columbus, Ohio. During the first 40 years, the company marketed a core product line of forks (pitchforks), hoes, rakes and repair handles.

During World War Two, UFH operated plants in Columbus, OH (bayonets); Frankfort, NY (spades and shovels); Rome, NY (bayonets, inboard wing jigs, hand tool M3A1, bomb nose fuses, boosters M21A4, bomb tail fuze PT8), and at Rome NY as Grade Machinery Division (bayonets).

The name was changed to UnionTools in 1971. Today UnionTools is a leading manufacturer and marketer of non-powered lawn and garden tools in North America. For more than a century, UnionTools has been a leader and innovator in design and manufacturing techniques that improve tool life and performance. Today UnionTools sells its products under a variety of well-known brand names, including Razor-Back®, Union®, Yard 'n Garden®, Perfect Cut®, and pursuant to a license agreement, Scotts® (Scotts and the Scotts logo are registered trademarks of The Scotts Company). In addition, the company manufactures private label products for a variety of retailers.

 

Utica Cutlery

Utica Cutlery was formed by a group of Utica businessmen in 1910, and opened their plant at 820 Noyes Street, where they are still located today. The first products produced by Utica were pocketknives, which remain their prime product today. Over the years they have also produced hunting knives and a line of tableware.

Utica Cutlery currently shows three divisions with separate websites. They are (information taken from their individual websites):

The Utica Cutlery Company – Utica Stainless. Established in Utica, New York in 1910, Utica Cutlery Company has been providing quality stainless steel housewares products to consumers since its inception. Our focus is and has always been to provide consumers with quality stainless steel products such as flatware, cookware, bakeware and cutlery

Walco Stainless division of Utica Cutlery. The Walco name is synonymous with quality, dependability and service in the Hotel and Institutional trades. With over 50 years of history the Walco team has serviced the industry with products which have met strict specifications within tasteful and contemporary design. Currently Walco is an independent division selling to the Hotel-Restaurant Industry. Walco Stainless has proven to be a great success to Utica Cutlery Company and an asset to the Tableware Industry.

Kutmaster division of Utica Cutlery. For nearly 90 years KutMaster has been a leading manufacturer of top quality knives and specialty tools for outdoor and household use. Through the years, we've continued to produce innovative products that meet the demanding performance requirements of serious outdoorsmen, "Do-It-Yourself" handymen, and professional tradesmen around the world.

 

Wilde Drop Forge and Tool

In 1927, Wilde Tool (pronounced WILD-EE) was started by Paul & Otto Froeschl at 27th and Fairmont in Kansas City Missouri. One source states it was named for Henry Wilde who provided the startup financing. During World War Two, they produced the M1905 bayonet and hand pliers for the Navy, as well as a broad line of tools used in various defense industries. They also served as a subcontractor for parts and tooling for other makers. In 1955 the operations moved from Kansas City to Hiawatha, Kansas. Today, Wilde Tool Co., Inc. is a privately held corporation presently managed by the 3rd & 4th generations of the founders.

From their website: "Some 75 years ago in Kansas City, Missouri two brothers, Paul and Otto Froeschl, thought of a new idea for the ordinary straight nose plier--angle the nose 32 degrees to create the greater leverage and gripping power that a straight nose plier is unable to give. Thus was born the original WILDE WRENCH, the first angle nose plier, granted U.S. Patent No. 1,800,447, and the beginning for the two brothers of over forty years experience in the designing and manufacturing of pliers and other quality hand tools. During this time, the name WILDE has become synonymous with fine quality tools and for many years our trademark was "THE PLIERSMITHS™". The original WILDE WRENCH is as practical and useful today as it was over fifty years ago, a testimony to the soundness of the idea and the design which produced the first angle nose plier. The original WILDE WRENCH is still available, together now with a wide variety of other pliers and hand tools."

 

Production

Contract figures and information used in this article come from three government sources. They are Bayonets, Knives and Scabbards - United States Army Edged Weapons Report, 1917 thru 1945 (referred to in this article as the Report), the Alphabetical Listing of Major War Supply Contracts Cumulative June 1940 through September 1945 (referred to as the Listing) and the Ordnance Department Digest of Significant Purchase Actions (referred to as the Digest). All of these are available through Frank on his Government Documents Page.

Unfortunately, especially in the early dates, these publications do not match well at all. Apparently some of the numbers are summaries, and the early Purchase Orders were replaced by Ordnance Contracts with changes in numbers being made. The first mention of contracts for the M1905 bayonet in the Digest is not until the week of August 20, 1942 and some of what it says is in conflict with the information in the Report and in the Listing. Most of the contract dates and exact quantities ordered for the M1905 will have to be considered at least somewhat questionable.

The Listing does have information about the earlier contracts, and some amounts and dates can be interpolated using all three sources. The chart below is summarized from the Listing and the Digest. The Digest does not show any listings for bayonet contracts until August 1942 as mentioned above, and the Report is a summation with no contracts or dates listed.

The Report lists what is supposed to be the original order quantities for each of the makers. The first mention of M1905 bayonets in the Digest is dated August 20, 1942, and the quantities shown are, in most cases, not what was stated in the Report. The contract dates and amounts also do not match well with the information shown in the Listing.

Contractor                     Quantity shown     Quantity shown In Report In Digest

American Fork and Hoe                 200,000       2,652

Oneida, Limited                         100,000        100,000

Pal Blade and Tool Company         200,000       824

Utica Cutlery                             200,000       44,000

Union Fork and Hoe                     440,336     130,000

Wilde Drop Forge and Tool Co     60,000       60,000

 

Model 1905 Bayonet Contract Information as found in the
Alphabetical Listing of Major War Supply Contracts Cumulative
June 1940 through September 1945
and in the Ordnance Department Digest of Significant Purchase Actions.

 

The Contract numbers shown in the format 303 ORD 1279D are from the Listing.

Those shown as P.O. numbers are from the Digest.

The numbers in parentheses in the comment column indicates the number that would have been supplied for the dollar amount shown.

 

Company

Contract #

Contract Dollar Amount

Deliveries to Begin

Deliveries to Finish

Comments

AFH

303 ORD

1279D

1,572,000

01/42

02/44

Price shown in Digest $3.90 per unit with spares at 0.07 per unit. This would indicate an order for about 400,000.

AFH

P.O. #

2081

 

Award Date

06/16/42

 

Award quantity shown as 2,652

           

OL

740 ORD

2237

361,000

02/42

12/42

Price shown in Digest $3.90 per unit with spares at 0.10 per unit. This would indicate an order for just over 90,000.

OL

740 ORD

2239L

324,000

05/42

06/43

(81,000)

OL

P.O. #

5669

(not clear)

200,000

Award Date

02/09/1943

 

Price shown as $4.00 per unit.

Contract quantity 50,000 units.

Cumulative delivery to this date shown as 110,130.

OL

P.O. #

5669

 

Award Date 05/14/43

 

Price shown as $4.03024 per unit

Award Quantity 50,000.

By the date, this contract should have been for the Bayonet, M1

           

PAL

478 ORD

01527

812,000

01/42

09/42

Price shown in Digest $4.00 per unit with spares at 0.06 per unit. This would indicate an order for about 200,000.

PAL

478 ORD

1778

175,000

05/42

09/42

(43,000)

PAL

478 ORD

1826

1,432,000

05/42

01/44

(353,000)

PAL

P.O. #

1833

 

Award Date

05/08/42

   
           

UFH

Not Shown

548,000

10/41

04/42

Price shown in Digest $4.00 per unit with spares at 0.06 per unit. This would indicate an order for about 135,000.

UFH

740 ORD

105L

406,000

02/42

03/43

(100,000)

UFH

740 ORD

2353

528,000

05/42

05/43

(130,000)

Company

Contract #

Contract Dollar Amount

Deliveries to Begin

Deliveries to Finish

Comments

           

UFH

P.O. #

5668

(not clear)

7,478.24

Award Date

01/05/43

 

Contract for Spare Parts for Bayonet M1905. No quantity shown.

           

UC

740 ORD

2146

756,000

10/41

10/42

Price shown in Digest $3.70 per unit with spares at 0.08 per unit. This would indicate an order for about 200,000.

UC

740 ORD

101L

166,000

02/42

01/43

(44,000)

UC

740 ORD

2341

360,000

05/42

05/43

(95,000)

UC

P.O. #

5670

33,916.00

Award Date

01/05/43

 

Contract for Spare Parts for Bayonet M1905. No quantity shown.

UC

P.O. #

5672

801,222.40

Award Date

02/24/43

 

Price shown as $3.951 per unit plus 0.055112 per set of spare parts. Quantities shown as 200,000 bayonets and 2,000 sets of spare parts.

Cumulative delivery to this date (late February 1943) is shown as 241,042

UC

740 ORD

3571

669,000

03/43

11/43

Almost certainly converted to contract for Bayonet M1 early in production

UC

30115 ORD

246

207,000

11/43

11/44

From the dates, would presume to be M1 bayonets, but notation states M1905.

No contract found in the Digest with this date or number.

           

WT

849 ORD

2346

200,000

10/41

06/42

Price shown in Digest as $3.265 per unit plus 0.06 per unit as spare parts. This would indicate an order for about 60,000. Note that this is by far the lowest price per unit of any of the makers.

WT

P.O. #

870

 

Award Date

09/27/41

   
           

 

Most collectors want to know how many were made by each maker. As can be seen, the information shown in the above table is both confusing and somewhat misleading. It is nearly impossible to determine how many M1905 bayonets were actually delivered by each maker. This is compounded by the fact that the contracts were converted to the M1 bayonet in April and May of 1943.

The Report does give a summary of the number of bayonets delivered on a month to month basis. It does not break it down by manufacturer.

Month         Number Delivered         Cumulative Total Delivered

April, 1942                 82                        82

May, 1942                 3,242                     3,324

June, 1942 1             5,787                      19,111

July, 1942                 31,413                     50,524

August, 1942              60,625                     111,152

September, 1942       124,019                     235,171

October, 1942            171,986                     407,157

November, 1942         204,666                    611,823

December, 1942          209,741                    821,564

January, 1943             189,559                     1,011,123

February, 1943            228,772                     1,239,895

March, 1943                197,751                     1,437,646

April, 1943                  96,632                       1,536,278

May, 1943                    4,300                        1,540,578

 

The Report also gives a monthly production capacity of each facility in early 1943:

Union Fork and Hoe Company 55,000
Oneida, Ltd. 30,000
Utica Cutlery Company 30,000
Pal Blade and Tool Company 40,000
American Fork and Hoe Company 50,000
Wilde Drop Forge and Tool Co. 12,500

Adding these numbers give a monthly total capacity of 217,500. As can be seen in the previous chart, that number was reached only once (February) and approached in about 4 or 5 others. We can probably assume that in the months from October 1942 to March 1943 that each of the makers were probably approaching capacity.

So as far as being able to show the exact number delivered by each maker, I have nothing that I feel accurately reflects that information. However, using the numbers in the tables and some "best guesses" based on some other available information, we can estimate the totals delivered by each manufacturer.

According to the Report, only two makers were in production prior to August (Oneida and Union Fork and Hoe). During August, the other 4 began deliveries. By October most of them were beginning to operate near capacity, and that was maintained until March. So if we allow each maker near capacity numbers for about 6 months, that would result in the following numbers:

AFH: 300,000

OL 180,000

PAL 240,000

UC 180,000

UFH 330,000

WT 60,000 (it is believed that Wilde just completed their single contract)

The total of the above is 1,290,000. This leaves about 250,000, which would include April and May 1943 production and pre-September 1942 production. April and May are about 100,000, probably divided more or less proportionally among the makers. The 50,000 made pre-August 1942 was mostly UFH with the other makers beginning deliveries in August .

Using the figures above, and making some reasonable interpolations from the figures above, an estimated production figure for each maker (and let me repeat - estimated) would be about as follows. If nothing else, it will give the collector a comparison of the relative scarcity of each maker based on the approximate percentage shown.

American Fork and Hoe         350,000     23%

Oneida, Limited                   235,000     16%

Pal Blade and Tool                250,000     17%

Utica Cutlery                        225,000     15%

Union Fork and Hoe                385,000     26%

Wilde Drop Forge and Tool     60,000     4%

 

(I am going to leave off here, and continue next month with an article on the Markings found on the M1905 and M1 bayonets. A final article will cover the history and production of the M1 bayonet.)

E-mail me at bayonetman@suddenlink.net

To purchase a signed copy of Gary's awesome book, American Military Bayonets of the 20th Century click here American Bayonets Book All of the above reports referred to and the books are available on our Books For Sale  and or Documents page.

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