January 27th, 2016, 03:53 PM
Join Date: Jan 2016
The big folder is most commonly associated with Navy Pilots but it was standard for Army Navy and Marine Corps flight crews.
Extracted from Frank Trzaska's (BFC userid: trz) article in Knife World, February 1997:
Somewhere in this thought process the idea of a folder came about. The problem with most folders of the time was strength. The ideal survival knife had to be strong; to live up to the unforeseen demands forced upon it in time of trouble. It also had to be capable of being used as a self-defense weapon. With these criteria in mind the knife was enlarged to a four & one half-inch blade. A second addition was that of a saw blade. The saw blade had to be capable of cutting Plexiglas, aluminum and wood. This was to be a truly unique knife. The knife was to be standard equipment for all Navy, Army and Marine Corps flight crews.
The knife itself is as follows. The blade was constructed of 1095 steel with a finished length of 4 5/8". It was designed to be a miniature machete and a weapon. Hardness was a tested 53-57 Rockwell. The cutting blade was locked into the open position via a liner lock.
The saw blade was made of Cold Rolled steel containing 15% Tungsten. This is impressive in itself, as the War Production Board had restricted Tungsten content to 6.75% in virtually all weapons. This Tungsten allowance was due to the knife having a life saving requirement. The War Production Board closely monitored all steel in the U.S. for the duration of the war. Written permission to change the rules were only granted in an extreme situation. The tooth arrangement was patterned after a high-speed hacksaw blade.
The handle of the knife was made of "Tennessee Eastman's especially prepared Tenite II". Tenite II was a newly developed plastic used to combat the effects of humidity and decomposition. It was at the time impervious to cracking and repeated washing with degreasers. The grip was checkered for a sure grip in a sweaty palm and attached to the frame of the knife with two screws.
The overall finish of the knife was in a Black Oxide. This process was to prevent the rusting effect of a damp environment and to "prevent moon and sun reflections". Overall length when closed was 6". With both blades open it was a monster at 15 5/8".
Colonial made two variations of this knife, with or without a bail. The knife with the bail was of US Navy issue. It came in a canvas pouch with a cut out in the top for the bail to protrude through. This made attaching it to the flight gear easy. The knife without a bail was US Army Air Forces issue. It was intended to reside in the C-1 Survival Vest pocket. The blade markings stayed consistent for the entire run. Two lines on the top of the blade near the nail nick "COLONIAL / PROV. RI"
The Giant Jack Knife was adopted by the US Navy and the Army Air Forces as their official "Survival Kit Knife" in 1944.
The Colonial Giant Jack Knife was in military service from 1944 until the early 1960's when the fixed blade Pilot Survival Knife became the major issue tool.
Last edited by Greyson; January 27th, 2016 at 04:11 PM.
Reason: More Info