LUFTGRAV #38493C Prototype Luftwaffe Gravity Knife FKm Type II b - SMF
Most of us are familiar with Gravity Knives having the standard and take-down variants equipped with single retractable blade, but most likely few of us are aware of a prototype produced by the SMF firm having a double-edged blade with center ridge. The blade would indicate the new design was being considered for close-combat usage as opposed to the traditional Fallsfirmjäger role of assisting with tangled parachute lines. According to the author of the "Luftwaffe Gravity Knife" reference, Mack A. Pattarozzi, a telegram exists from the OKH directing commanders of specific units to evaluate the "Fliegerkappmesser" in a combat environment and reply within 30 days with the results of their evaluation. No documentation exists as to the results, but a number of these knives were produced, supposedly 900. An example of the Model FKm appears on the cover the Pattarozzi reference book.
I have been in this hobby and business a long time and have bought and sold large quantities of Gravity Knives over the years; this is the first example of the model "FKm" that I have encountered. This example definitely shows usage and apparently was one of the test examples. The mounts of the knife are all in a standard blue finish appearing identical to any other example on the outside. It is interesting that the marlin spike is not waffenamted, since this was not a Luftwaffe or Army issue piece. The mounts all have a good blue finish and the springs are nice and tight. The throat area has the arrow designation, as does the flat bracket below. The activator lever is numbered "51" and the butt of the throat is numbered "10". Just as is often the case in standard pieces, the numbers do not match. The grip plates are the standard walnut wood and they are in fine condition, showing normal darkening caused by handling.
But the important thing here is the blade. It is the same length as a standard Gravity Knife. It differs though, in that there is a distinct center ridge with double edges. The ricasso is tapered downward from the center ridge. The blade edges each have some minor period sharpening. The SMF logo is etched on the reverse ricasso being the seated king holding an upward-pointing sword. Below the "Solingen" etching is the word, "INOX", which is the term used internationally for "Rosfrei", or stainless steel. Other than the edge sharpening, this blade remains in mint condition still having all of its factory grain remaining.
This is an opportunity for the serious Gravity Knife collector to acquire the "holy grail" piece. How many of these were made is a mystery and how many survived the war is unknown. One thing is for sure, it is an extremely rare bird. I know it's a lot of money for a Gravity Knife, but then again, find another!
Excellent Plus. $7,495.00
LUFTGRAV #38285C Takedown Gravity Knife – Paul Weyersberg
The knife has a blued throat, lever, and marlin spike. The side plate springs are in a natural nickel-plated steel. The usual button, which when pressed, allows the throat to come out of the knife so that the two grip plates can be split apart for cleaning. The throat is marked with a downward arrow and is marked “631” on the butt. This number is also seen on the pieces below the throat. The activator lever is marked “11”. This piece has good, strong springs and the blade actuates very nicely.
The marlin spike retains all of the original bluing and has what appears to be the original tip. In the corner is a stick bird waffenamt with a “5” in his belly.
The blade remains mostly bright but does have some smudging in the surfaces. I don't see any sharpening on this blade and if you look closely you can still see some graining; this blade is quite nice for a gravity knife. The reverse ricasso is marked with the Weyersberg logo; a downward pointing sword flanked by a pair of wheat stalks.
A nice takedown example here, showing some period wear by still in very fine, collectible condition.
Excellent Plus, Plus. $1,195.00
LUFTGRAV #35539 Luftwaffe Gravity Knife - Paul Weyersberg
This Gravity Knife is a fine nickel-plated example. The plating is in very fine condition throughout, being almost new-like. The marlin spike appears to have the original point and it is waffenamted in the corner; a stick bird having a "5" in his belly. The activator lever and the spring below are marked, "81".
The wooden grip plates are in good shape, one side having a few circular marks in the surface that must have gotten pressed into the surface when the knife was set on something, but they are not bad. The other grip plate is perfect.
The blade is a very fine bright example still having most of the original grain. There was a tiny amount of sharpening on the blade, but we were able to remove it completely, so this blade is very close to full mint. The blade is marked with the dual ovals which contain the firm's name and location, "Paul Weyersberg & Co., Solingen". Beneath is the stainless steel marking, "Rostfrei". The springs are nice and tight and the blade workings are great.
A fine piece here.
Excellent Plus, Plus. $1,095.00
LUFTGRAV #37708 Takedown Gravity Knife with Army Markings
The activator lever is marked with a “0” stamping, as well as “1624”. Taking the throat piece off the same number, “1624”, is seen stamped on the bottom butt portion. This number is also stamped on the lower half of the knife visible when it is opened up. The throat has the usual directional arrows, a symbol also seen on the plate below the throat.
The matching blued marlin-spike retains the original tip. In the corner it is property marked “RV 0/0651/0019”. It is very interesting to note that on the reverse of the spike corner is the letter “S”. This letter is the marking used for Army property. Since this knife does not have a Luftwaffe waffenamt and instead has an Army property stamping I believe this knife would have been used by Army paratroopers. Kind of a rare thing here.
The blade of this example remains nice and bright and retains much of the original grain. There is evidence of some edge sharpening but it is not bad.
An excellent Gravity Knife here, with the added bonus of the Army stampings.
Near Mint. $1,395.00 (#092315)
LUFTGRAV #37709 Luftwaffe Gravity Knife – Paul Weyersberg
The activator lever is marked “99” as is the base portion where the lever attaches. The marlin-spike appears to have the original factory point on it, and is marked in the corner with the Luftwaffe waffenamt stickbird with a “5” in his belly.
The grip plates are of fine walnut, having a pleasing vertical grain. These plates are in perfect condition with no problems whatsoever.
The blade of this Gravity Knife is still mirror-bright and retains quite a bit of the original surface grain. There is some mild sharpening on this blade, more on the reverse than the obverse, but nothing serious. The reverse of the blade is etched with the Sword and Wreath trademark of the Weyersberg firm, as well as the word for stainless steel, “Rostfrei”.
A very fine Weyersberg Gravity Knife here, with good, strong springs.
Near Mint. $1,095.00(#051816)
LUFTGRAV #37706 Luftwaffe Gravity Knife – Malsch & Ambronn
This Gravity Knife is the first I can recall seeing from Malsch & Ambronn, and should really appeal to those of you who enjoy tracking down seldom seen makers. This example will make a great addition to your collection of rarities.
This piece should usage on the outside, but the nickel-plated parts are still in fine condition. I notice that there are no numbers on the activator lever, or any of the other components for that matter. It is also interesting to note that the spring on this example is constructed from a single piece of steel, as most of the others we see have two individual strips of spring steel. Quite interesting indeed for those who study the construction of these knives.
The marlin-spike is in fairly good condition, the corner being marked with a waffenamt. This mark is hard to see. It appears to be obscured by either grinding or tool marks; it is hard to say for sure. You really have to look closely to see this mark to begin with.
The grip plates are a dark color walnut with a nice, slim feel to them. They appear to be a bit thinner than those we see from Weyersberg and SMF.
The blade is still bright throughout but it does have some sharpening, but nothing too bad. We removed most of it from the obverse side, but didn't restore the reverse as to preserve the trademark. This mark is a bit vague from age but is unmistakable, in the form of a man working an old-fashioned water pump. The name of the town “Steinbach” appears below.
A very interesting Gravity Knife here that is still in good, collectible condition and with a rare maker that is bound to amaze your friends.
This Luftwaffe Gravity Knife is apparently ONE OF THE later versons producedas it has a combination of blued and nickel plated parts. The throat assemblage is in a blue finish as is the spring for the blade. The activator lever appears to be nickel, as does the marlin spike. The activator lever is marked with a number "1", as well as the number "85". The blue surfaces of the throat area contrast with the lighter tones of the four rivets which hold the part together.
The marlin spike is still in good condition, appearing to have the original point ,and it is waffenamt in the corner, with the stickbird with a "5" in his belly. The springs of both parts are nice and tight on this gravity knife. The blade is still mostly bright, and still retains almost all of its original grain. It has been sharpened along the edges though, but it is not too bad. This blade grades at excellent to excellent plus. The reverse of the blade is etched with the seated king trademark. The king holds an upward pointing sword, and is seated on the firm's initials, "SMF/SOLINGEN". Beneath is the German word for stainless steel, "ROSTFREI". A good gravity knife here, that works well and will continue to fuction well for a long time.
This Luftwaffe Gravity Knife is in good overall condition, having nickel fittings throughout. The nickel is in good shape, the throat fitting having the original owner’s initial “A” scratched into both sides of it. The blade release activator is numbered “2”, as well as “655”. The marlin spike is in good shape and is waffenamt with the stick bird having a “5” in his belly. The grip plates of this example are a good dark walnut and they have a pleasing grain, showing some minor usage signs.
The blade is as good as you will ever see. This mint condition example has full original graining and precise shape. A beautiful example here! The reverse ricasso is darkly etched with the seated king trademark. The king holds an upward pointed sword, while sitting on the firm’s initials, “S.M.F.”. Beneath this in an arch shape is the town, “Solingen”, and beneath this the German word for stainless steel, “Rostfrei”.
A very nice gravity knife here, with good working springs.
This Luftwaffe Gravity Knife is made of all polished nickel parts and it is the non-takedown type. All of the nickel parts are in good condition throughout. The springs are nice and tight on both the marlin spike and blade. The activator is stamped with a number one and also, “54” underneath this number. The marlin spike has the usual stick bird waffen amt in the lower corner and the bird has a, “5” in his belly. The grip plates are a good oak solid wood and the reverse plate is in good condition throughout. The obverse plate has a gauge cut across the letter portion of the wood as well as a matching type cut across the upper area of the same grip. I do not know why this was done but a lot of things can happen during wartime and perhaps boredom.
The blade of this example works well and it is still bright. It also has quite a bit of crossgraining in the finish. Unfortunately, someone has done a sharpening job and the sharpening was not done too well as some of it has scored the blade itself. It is not bad though and this blade still rates at excellent to excellent plus. In fact, some of this could be taken out if somebody wanted to work with it. All in all though, a good original gravity knife.
Excellent Plus, Plus. $750.00
This Luftwaffe Gravity Knife appears to have been a nickel-plated version, but possibly, it was produced later in the war as the mounts are a steel base. The mounts are all in good condition, however, there is a light coating of rust that is noticeable on the throat area as well as on the back strap and some area around the marlinspike. It gives the gravity knife an unusual look, as the flush mount four rivets on each side of the throat area stand out against the dark background created by the toned metal base. The springs on both the activator lever and the marlinspike are strong and work nicely. The activator lever is marked “318”. The marlinspike appears to have the original tip and it is waffenamt in the corner.
The grip plates of this example are a fine toned oak and they are in perfect condition, showing very little wear. The blade of this example, on the obverse, is bright and in mint condition with full grain. The reverse of the blade also is still quite nice, although there are some sharpening scars that show about ¾ of the way down. Other than these scars, the reverse blade is still in fine condition also. This blade is etched with the SMF logo that features the seated king holding an upward pointing sword. Below the king are the firm’s initials, “SMF”, and the location town of “Solingen”. Below this is the German word for stainless steel, “Rostfrei”. A nice gravity knife here that with a little effort could have the finish brought up, but actually I kind of like it the way it is. The choice would be up to the next purchaser, as I’m quite sure this finish would clean up.
This maker mark for a Gravity Knife is extremely difficult to find. I have sold a lot of gravity knives over the years, and I have only had one F. & A. Helbig example in the past. If there is someone out there that is specializing in gravity knife types, this example should be of prime interest.
Holding the knife next to the Weyersberg and SMF entries, it is interesting to note that the mounts are of a slightly different shape. The throat is different, as is the activator lever and also the grip plates are of a flatter nature than the other types. These aspects all make for a unique item here. The mounts are all nickel plated type, and they are in good shape throughout. There are no number stampings anywhere on this gravity knife. The activator lever spring works well, as does the marlinspike spring. I note also that the marlinspike appears thicker than the types used by the other makers. This marlinspike is stamped on the corner with a waffenamt. The waffenamt is the standard stick bird with a "5" in his belly. The grip plates appear to be walnut, but as stated above, they are flatter in nature than the more curved types used by other producers. These grip plates are in excellent condition throughout, having no flaws or problems.
The blade of this piece unfortunately has some fairly good edge sharpening. The sharpening does go up slightly also into the blade surfaces. In the areas not scarred by the sharpening though, the blade is still factory bright and has all of its crossgraining. The maker mark is very lightly etched on the reverse ricasso, being a double oval. The ovals contain the firm's name "F & A Helbig" and their location below. About half of the maker mark has been worn off by the sharpening. Below the maker mark is the word for stainless steel "ROSTRFEI". An interesting example here, in good working order, and a very rarely seen maker.