LUFTGRAV #39805 Luftwaffe Gravity Knife – F. & A. Helbig
This Luftwaffe Gravity Knife was produced by a rarely seen maker. As you may know most of the gravity knives we see were produced by either the SMF or Paul Weyersberg firms; it is very rare to see any other makers, and Helbig is one of the rarest of all.
The hardware throughout this knife is made of the usual stainless steel. The throat has a little bit of “banging” into the metal, looking like it was used as an impromptu hammer at one time. It is not bad, however. There is also some minor dinging to the obverse throat.
The activator lever works well and the springs are in good condition. It is interesting to note that there are no numbers on this Helbig example. The marlin spike is in place and looks to have been re-tipped as it is slightly sharper (and a bit shorter) than we normally see. This could be how Helbig made them, although I don’t have another example to compare it with so I don’t know. The corner of the spike has the usual stickbird “5” waffenamt.
The grip plates are a fine walnut, still in nearly perfect condition with a pleasing grain.
The blade is a nice example which has escaped sharpening. It is completely bright and has quite a bit of grain, and in nearly mint condition. The reverse of the blade is etched with the Helbig “Saefler” logo, a word whose meaning I’ve never been able to figure out. Beneath the logo is the German term for stainless steel, “Rostfrei”.
A very interesting example and a real treasure for the gravity knife collector; we just do not see Helbig pieces very often.
Excellent Plus. $1,095.00
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 marlinspike 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.
LUFTGRAV #38894C Luftwaffe Gravity Knife – F. & A. Helbig
Helbig Gravity Knives have a number of small design differences from those on the more commonly seen Weyersberg and SMF pieces. The throat is a slightly different shape as is the collar beneath it, being slightly more bulbous than typically encountered, and the hinged area of the marlin spike is a bit more rounded.
This example has fine, stainless steel components and the springs appear to still be strong. The marlinspike looks to have been re-pointed at one time but is not particularly short. There are no numbers stamped on the parts of this knife, also different from a typical example. It has the a stickbird waffenamt marked “5” on the hinged area.
The grip plates are of walnut with the standard four retaining rivets. These plates are in excellent condition throughout.
The blade of this knife is in extremely choice condition. It retains all of the original crossgrain and in in nearly mint condition. It is marked with the rarely seen trademark of the F. & A Helbig firm; pair of ellipses enclose the firm's name and location of “Steinbach KR”. Inside the ellipses is the words “Saeffer” and “Rostfrei”.
A very nice Gravity Knife here, with a very scare trademark for the type.
Excellent Plus, Plus. $1,395.00
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 has the usual 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 with a very rarely seen maker.