This is an VERY FINE condition example of a US M-1905 (Type IV) bayonet by a very scarce maker; Wilde Tool. The M-1905 Type IV bayonet is better known to collectors as the M-1905/42 bayonet. The M-1905 bayonet was adopted in 1905 for use with the M-1903 Springfield rifle, replacing the ramrod bayonet that was originally incorporated into the M-1903 rifle design. During its production and service life, it also became the standard bayonet for use with the M-1 Garand battle rifle. Three minor variants of the bayonet were produced between 1906 and 1922, when the initial production of the bayonet ceased, not to begin again until 1942. All of the bayonets in the initial production run were manufactured at either the Springfield Armory or at the Rock Island Arsenal. All of the first production M-1905 bayonets were produced with 16” spear point blades, and all of the bayonets produced between 1906 and 1922 had rough-hewn walnut grip panels. The earliest version of M-1905 bayonet, the “Type I”, was produced with a blued hilt and crossguard, and a bright blade, with only about 3/16” of an inch of blue at the ricasso. These bayonets were produced from 1906 to 1917 and records indicate that about 950,000 of the Type I bayonets were produced. The second production variation (Type II) was manufactured from 1917-1918, with some 150,000 units being produced at the two national arsenal manufactories. These bayonets were fully blued with no part of the blade left bright. The third variant of the M-1905 bayonet (Type III) went into production in 1918 and continued to be produced through 1922. These bayonets were identical to the first two types, but were fully parkerized instead of blued. Some 525,000 of the Type III bayonets were produced during that four-year period. In the years between the end of World War I and the beginning of World War II, thousands of the M-1905 bayonets were refurbished at the national armories and most of these were parkerized as part of their refurbishment, making the original Type I bright blade and Type II blued blade bayonets quite scarce. With the coming of World War II, even more of these older bayonets were modified to the current standard of Parkerizing, and starting in 1943 many were shortened to the M-1905E1 standard with a 10” blade, often called simply the M-1 “cut down” bayonets. The Type IV M-1905 bayonet went into production in 1942, and is often referred to as the M-1942 bayonet by collectors. These bayonets retained the original 16” blade length of the previous M-1905 patterns, and the parkerized finish of the Type III bayonets, but had plastic grip panels and a new composite scabbard (designated the M3 scabbard), replaced the earlier wood and leather scabbard patterns that were used with the first three variants of the M-1905 bayonet. None of the M-1905 Type IV (1942) bayonets were produced by the National Armories; instead all of the production was handled by six contractors. These companies were American Fork & Hoe (AFH), Oneida Limited (OL), Pal Blade & Tool (PAL), Union Fork & Hoe (UFH), Utica Cutlery (UC) and Wilde Drop Forge & Tool (WT). Five of the six manufactures produced the M-1905 Type IV (M-1942) from April of 1942 through May of 1943, with a total production of about 1.5 million units. Wilde Drop Forge & Tool, however, stopped producing the bayonet in February of 1943 and never started production again. Total production numbers for each of the manufacturers varies based upon the source referenced. The most accurate and in depth production analysis appears to have been completed by fellow SABC (Society of American Bayonet Collectors) board member Frank Trzaska. Frank gives the following production figures for the M-1905 Type IV bayonet in his “Bayonet Points #22” as follows:
Union Fork & Hoe - 385,000 (26%)
American Fork & Hoe - 350,000 (23%)
Pal Blade & Tool - 250,000 (17%)
Oneida, LTD - 235,000 (16%)
Utica Cutlery - 225,000 (15%)
Wilde Drop Forge & Tool - 60,000 (4%)
The two largest producers (Union Fork & Hoe and American Fork & Hoe) produced about half of the total production of 16” long M-1905/42 bayonets during World War II, with the four remaining companies producing the other half. The smaller makers were simply not set up to produce the bayonets on the same scale as the two huge toolmakers. Wilde Drop Forge & Tool, in particular, had trouble meeting production expectations, as they were a small hand tool manufacturer and had simply never produced items on such a mass scale. By the middle of 1943 it became apparent that the 16” blade of the M-1905 pattern bayonets was too long, cumbersome and unwieldy for effective use in the field. As a result, a new bayonet, (designated M-1) was adopted. The M-1 bayonet was the same pattern as the Type IV M-1905 with the only real change being the shortening of the blade specification from 16” to 10”. Between 1943 and 1953 nearly 3 million of the new 10” blade M-1 bayonets were produced by five of the six original M-1905 Type IV contractors (Wilde Drop Forge & Tool “dropped” out). Additionally more than 1 million M-1905 bayonets were shortened to 10”, the M-1 standard. The end result is that today, unaltered US M-1905 bayonets with 16” blades (whether of the first three types or the 1942 production fourth type) are very scarce.
This is one of those hard to find US M-1905 Type IV (aka M-1942) bayonets in its original 16” blade length, the bayonet is even rarer because it was produced by the Wilde Drop Forge & Tool Company. The bayonet is in VERY FINE condition, and is accompanied by an equally FINE M-3 composite scabbard, produced by the rarely encountered maker Detroit Gasket. The bayonet is well marked, with the reverse ricasso being crisply marked in three lines: WT / (Flaming Ordnance Bomb) / 1943. This makes the bayonet even rarer, as Wilde Tool only produced bayonets during the first 4 months of 1943. The front of the guard is also appropriately marked WT. The Wilde Drop Forge & Tool Company (pronounced Wild-ee according to Frank’s research) was established in Kansas City, MO in 1927. The firm was a partnership between brothers Paul and Otto Froeschl, and was apparently named for Henry Wilde who provided the initial financing for the company. They produced high quality hand tools, with their most important contribution to the tool trade being the development and introduction of pliers with angled jaws. The product was known as the Wilde Wrench and was a set of straight nosed pliers that had their jaws set at a 32-degree angle from the handle, giving increased leverage to the user. The Wilde Wrench remains in production to this day. During World War II, Wilde Drop Forge and Tool produced pliers on contract for the US Navy, as well as hand tools for use by other military and defense contractors. Their run as bayonet makers lasted only about 10 months, and the end result is that their bayonets are the scarcest and most desirable of all US M-1905/42 bayonets. Although not a particularly successful bayonet manufacturer, the company remains in business today, producing high quality hand tools. This Wilde Drop Forge & Tool bayonet retains about 85%+ of its original Parkerized finish on the blade, with wear most apparent in the last couple of inches near the tip and along the high edges and contact points. The bayonet blade remains for length, and is unaltered at 16”. The blade shows some very lightly freckled surface oxidation scattered with the dark-gray Parkerizing, but it essentially pit free with only some light scattered pinpricking present, mostly near the tip where the finish has worn. The crossguard retains much of its original Parkerized finish, mixed with a smoky gray patina, with some very small, scattered patches of brown surface oxidation present. The pommel cap retains nearly all of its dark gray-black Parkerized finish. The bayonet retains its original reddish-brown composite grips with a black colored section in the center. This grip coloration is specifically associated with Wilde Tool produced bayonets. The interior of the grips are a dark reddish brown with black flecks, with the grooved exterior being the same basic color with black rectangles present in the center of the grips. It is not clear what produces this effect, nor it is clear why the rectangle of black is not present on the inside of the grips. While Frank Trzaska notes that the example he has examined are unmarked, these have a very small DA (or possibly PA) mark molded into their interiors, one over the number 9 and one over the number 4. These are probably mold numbers. Trzaska notes that these reddish brown grips most resemble those produced by the Auburn Button Works. The grips are in VERY FINE condition and show only the most minor handling marks and small dings. The bayonet latching mechanism is mechanically excellent and functions exactly as it should. The bayonet is accompanied by an VERY FINE condition, original US M-3 Scabbard, manufactured by Detroit Gasket Company. The M-3 was a new composite scabbard, manufactured of resin impregnated cotton duck cloth painted OD green. The metal mountings, such as the throat and web belt attachment hook, were parkerized. The Victory Plastics division of the Beckwith Manufacturing Company manufactured the majority of the M-3 scabbards. During World War II over 3 million M-3 scabbards were manufactured. Only three companies produced the scabbards, Columbia Rope (which only made 1,000), Beckwith and Detroit Gasket. Detroit Gasket only produced the scabbards from January of 1942 through June of 1943, when their contracts were cancelled. During that time they only manufactured 345,000 of the scabbards, roughly 11% of production. This makes the scabbards very scarce today. Detroit Gasket used a different resin formulation in the production of their scabbards than did Beckwith, and this resulted in a number of issues. The scabbards tended to be very brittle, and did not hold up well in the field. Additionally, the OD Green paint applied to the scabbard bodies did not adhere well and tended to flake off, revealing the brown color of the resin impregnated cloth scabbard body. Beckwith scabbards were made in such a way that even when the paint wore off, the underlying scabbard body was still greenish. The brittleness of the Detroit Gasket scabbards meant that they could not be shortened to 10” when the new M-1 10” bayonet was adopted. This was the final straw that caused their contract to be cancelled. Strangely, Detroit Gasket scabbards are typically associated with the bayonets made by Wilde Tool, so the rarest of the M-1905/42 bayonets should be found with an equally rare M-3 scabbard. The scabbard throat is marked with a (Flaming Ordnance Bomb) with a U.S. in the center, over the sideways and mirror imaged DG Detroit Gasket logo. Collectors usually refer to this logo as the “Lazy S”, as it looks like an “S’ on its side. However, it is the Detroit Gasket “DG” in mirror image, obviously the result of a die maker not paying attention to his job, and making the logo read correctly on his die, and not after it had been stamped! This scabbard retains about 95%+ oft is O.D. Green which appears to be original, but might be an old repaint. There are some patches where the paint has chipped and flaked, and the dark brown color underneath is visible. The throat, mounts, web belt hook and locking mechanism are all in perfect working order and are in wonderful condition, with a smooth dull gray parkerized finish.
Overall this is a VERY FINE condition example of the rarest of US M-1905/42 bayonets, complete with its original and equally rare scabbard. Somehow, the bayonet managed to escape being shortened to M-1 10” specifications, which suggests the bayonet may have been in a combat theater where it was safe from alteration. These 16” bayonets are getting very hard to find these days, especially with any level of condition. This one is 100% complete, correct and original, and was made by the Wilde Drop Forge & Tool Company, who only produced 4% of all M-1905/42 bayonets. Right now a major antique arms & militaria dealer is offering a cut down, M-1 variant of the WT bayonet for $550, without a scabbard. This one is full length, in better condition and complete with its original (and very scarce) Detroit Gasket scabbard, for only $100 more. I’ve seen Wilde Tool bayonets and scabbards sell for well over $750 over the past couple of years, so I doubt this fine example will hang around long. It will be a fantastic addition to any serious WWII bayonet collection and great addition to the display of a high condition, early WWII production M-1 Garand.SOLD