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Hello All,

I want to take a moment to share with you the story of my acquiring an ID'd Vintage WWII Scagel Double-Edge Fighting Knife.

But first, here is some background information of why I wanted to own a Scagel Double-Edge Fighting knife of this style. I had learned about this style of Scagel's Fighting knife from my on-going research about Robert Van Adestine's hand forged knives. My continued Collection / Study of Van Adestine knives includes many examples of his large Double-Edge Fighter. 

My 2nd book; "Van Adestine Knives II - More Treasures from Little Wolf, Wis" details the History of the knives that were made by Robert Van Adestine.

                                                                 < click te picture to buy the Van Adestine Knife book

 

From my book; here are two of Robert Van Adestine's Double-Edge Fighting knives, compared to two of William Scagel's Double-Edge Fighting knives of this style. The top 2 are by Robert Van Adestine, the bottom 2 are by William Scagel. The similarity between these two makers is unmistakable. 

                                                                    < click te picture to buy the Van Adestine Knife book

 

Robert Van Adestine's Hunting and Fighting knives were sold at the VL&A store in Chicago. ( Von Lengerke and Antoine ) They were also sold through their yearly mail-order catalog. The VL&A salesman visited Robert Van Adestine's workshop often to purchase Hunting and Fighting knives that they were selling. My best friend, Frank Binder, was Robert Van Adestine's grandson. For inclusion in my book, Frank told me the following story, as told to him by his Grandfather, while he worked the red hot metal of the Fighting knife blade that he was forging.

"... A VL&A salesman from Chicago visited here a while back," " He told me a man named Bill Scagel stopped by the store and looked at one of my fighting daggers there, "" The next time he stopped by, he showed them one that he had made, and it looked just like one of mine. ..."

It has been an on-going controversy as to "who copied who" when comparing the two Double-Edge Fighters. Regardless, this story is about my recently acquired Scagel Double-Edge Fighter, not Van Adestine's.

After purchasing this knife, I contacted Emily, who originally sold this knife. I had numerous emails, text messages, and phone calls, to learn the History of the knife. Emily told me that her Grandfather lived in Michigan, and that he purchased the knife in 1940. She said that she knew very little about her Grandfather other than his name; "Raymond Pearl Nash" and she said she thought he was a good man.

With this information, the research commenced by searching through the U.S. Military's data base of 11,000,000 WWII enlistment records. In a matter of a few days, the enlistment record of "Raymond P. Nash" was found. Here is a copy of Raymond's 1941 enlistment record.

With this new found detail information of his enlistment, I continued my research. And, Success - I not only found additional history of Raymond P Nash's service, I also found a picture of him in a group photo of the 607th Tank Destroyer Battalion in which he served as an Officer.

With this additional information, I was also able to find a short Military Biography of Raymond Pearl Nash. It told that he was awarded a Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Clusters, which indicated that he was wounded in action on 3 occasions. This new found record also told that he was captured in France in July, 1944, and that he was later retaken by Allied Forces. When all this History was shared with his granddaughter Emily, she told me that this was much more information than she had ever known about her Grandfather, and said that she was genuinely grateful for my bringing all this interesting History to her attention.

Emily went on to say that her Father, "Wayne Forrest Nash", enlisted in the Military in 1969, and that he also carried this knife during his tour in Vietnam. She said her Father was so proud of his Father's knife that after returning from Vietnam, and for the rest of his life, he always had the knife with him. She said it was always in his high-top work boot, or in his cowboy boot, every single day throughout his entire life, whether at work or at play. It was a constant companion and tool with him in the Oil Fields and on all his Well Drilling jobs, for the next 50+ years. Emily's father was also a man of great notoriety and was respected by all in the Drilling industry that he loved. Sadly, Wayne passed away in 2020.  Here is Wayne Forrest Nash's obituary.

Emily told me it was a very difficult decision for her to sell the knife, and that she has had much mixed feelings after selling it. She said she had tears in her eyes when she packaged it up to send it away. I assured her that the knife would be as much appreciated by me, as it was by her late father.

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With the knife's History now established, here is my recently acquired WWII Scagel Double-Edge Fighting Knife. The blade of this knife remains 7-1/4" long and has some carbon staining. It shows a "well used life" with evidence of much sharpening because it was kept sharp throughout its entire life, and it is still very sharp to this day. Although the knife is nearly 85 years old, the blade remains in very good condition, with the handle having a few bumps and dings from its many years of continuous use.

This Style Scagel Fighting knife is a very rare variation because it has both a brass guard and a brass butt cap that is soldered to the end of the blade's through tang. This knife's brass butt cap also has a hole for attaching a lanyard. Other Scagel Double-Edge fighters of this style have butt caps of aluminum or Bakelite that are 'pinned" to the through tang, and none of those others have a lanyard hole. Similar Double-Edge fighters of this style typically have a handle with hardwood slats that are pinned to the through tang with two brass pins. This knife also has a handle with hardwood slats, except the slats are attached to the through tang with three brass pins instead of two.

The blade has a deep, crisp, "W.SCAGEL / HANDMADE" stamp. To the right of the stamp, is the barely visible partial remnant of the well known Scagel "kris" stamp. The other side of the blade has the partial remnant of an "oval VL&A Chicago" stamp. But only a portion of the oval, and the ending "o" from the word Chicago, are left on the blade. Finding partial stamps on Scagel knives is not uncommon. Scagel applied the stamps while the blade was red hot while being forged, and on many blades the stamps are left only partial because the grinding and polishing of the final finishing wears the stamps away.

The sheath for this knife has been forever memorialized with Emily's Grandfather's Name, and Rank, and Service. It is marked with Raymond P Nash's name, and his Officer's rank of 1st Lieutenant , and with his service in the 607th Tank Destroyer Battalion.

The sheath with this knife may, or may not, be original from the time when the knife was purchased. The knife may have been purchased mail order from VL&A, or from William Scagel himself. It is known that some Scagel knives were sold without sheaths because the purchaser supplied his own. In addition, leather sheaths were prone to wear and dry rot from humidity, and may have been replaced many times during a knife's long life. However, this sheath does have the features of a vintage sheath made by VL&A's in-house sheath maker. Most VL&A sheaths were fabricated with 7 rivets that had fold-over prongs on the back and those types of rivets are found on this sheath. This sheath also has a chocolate brown snap button on the securing strap which is another feature found on the sheaths that were made by VL&A.

Unlike many others Scagel Fighting knives, where their owners have tried to enhanced them by polishing the blades, this knife remains in "original" used condition. Despite this knife having some battle scares, it is a Very Rare WWII Scagel Double-Edge Fighting Knife with the unique History of being carried in - not one, but two Wars - by Father and Son. Although Scagel made hundreds of knives during his long knife making career, and various Fighting Knives of different styles, less than half-a-dozen or so Double-Edge Fighters of "this style" are known to exist. The knife is now a most welcome companion to my ongoing Collection / Study, of Van Adestine knives.

My search for treasures continues ......

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