In 1934 the Army Air Corps with Collins developed the Model No.18. Collins supplied examples with their pattern No. 216 green horned handle on the No.18 to the AAC. However, the Army Air Corps did not use this pattern, but contracted a modified version through the 1930s. When WWII began, the U.S. government was purchasing commercial products for the military and by the end of 1942 the earlier pattern Emergency Parachute Kit was about to be replaced with the 10” folding type. Because of the requirement for more equipment by the Material Command, urgently needed orders for the old type emergency kits included 9” blades, due to the unavailability of the folding version, still in development, Collins supplied the Army Air Force with available commercial versions of the No.18 with both the “Sword” and “Crown Hammer” logos with the No. 216 grips, because there were no further engineering modifications to the drawings and also resulted in more cost-effective measures.
This example complete with its original embossed leather sheath is a rare beauty! The 9” double fullered blade shows typical wear and evidence of sharpening. Some darkening is present, but would clean up nicely should the new owner decide to do so. Personally, I would add a wipe down with oil and just enjoy! It has a great look as is. The ricasso is deeply stamped with the “Crown/Hammer Collins & Co” logo and “Legitimus Made in U.S.A No.18”. The really stunning part of this piece are the absolutely gorgeous No. 216 grip plates!
The colors are amazing tones of yellows, oranges, greens, and tans, an almost alabaster appearance. The original grip rivets are all present; and, the rivets have a touch of rust and verdigris that really makes the grips plates pop! Other than a few pecks and scratches, the grips are in fantastic condition with no splits or broken off pieces. The embossed sheath stamped with “13” is also in beautiful condition. It reminds me of the embossing on a cowboy pistol holster! The belt loop is untorn and unbroken, which is usually not the case. The leather is a bit stiff, but a treatment with a conservation type leather balm would bring it back to beautiful color and condition. I can say this is the first one of this type I would add to my personal collection; however, “You can’t have one of everything”. Definitely a “Rare Bird”, especially in this condition!