Huge Antique French Folding Palm Knife Stag Grip and 10” Blade – NOGENT DG
Here on offer is massive example of an antique French folding Palm knife with a genuine stag horn grip and 10” blade – NOGENT DG.
This is the largest example I have seen of one these famous French knives.
The impressive large stag horn grip is 12” long and has a great aged patina to its finish.
The large 10” long single edged steel blade, slots onto the inner curved edge of the grip to protect the cutting edge. When closed the blade is slightly lose against the back palm spring, again through wear over the years of use.
On one side of the blade it is stamped with the name NOGENT and it has the letters D G in an oval at the base/ricasso of the blade.
It is in great condition but there is some light greying the finish on one side and the other shows light pitting. This may clean off with a few hours of “elbow grease”.
The “pin” locking mechanism still works but is a little worn through use and is released by pulling up on the large steel ring.
I believe the “Palm” lock folding knife gets its name from the metal locking spring system on the back of the handle that has the shape of a “palm leaf”.
The locking system is actually inspired from the 18th century Spanish Navaja knife that had a locking style blade with a back spring and a metal pull ring to release the lock.
Interestingly, when WW1 broke out in Europe, it completely changed the classic warfare and the trench battle style and called for different tactics and equipment. Storming the enemy trench with a long rifle fitted with a long bayonet was not always convenient and feedback from the front line requested a knife for hand-to-hand combat.
The soldier equipment did not include a knife and the French war ministry sent delegates to manufactures, mainly in Thiers, to find suitable equipment.
The palm knife was selected, all the stocks were requisitioned and large orders placed. So much that even the cutleries from Nontron, specialized in ferrule (ring lock) knives, started to produce palm knives.
By September 1915, more than 46,000 of those locking knives have been delivered.
However, and despite its fierce reputation in the navaja form as a fighting knife, it was not adapted to the trench combat. The blade was a bit thin and the single pin to fix it made the ensemble too weak. Moreover, the handle was sleek and the knife did not have a cross-guard, making the thrust hits dangerous, especially with a handle covered in mud or blood.
Therefore stag horn grip versions (with effectively a ribbed grip) where prized by front line troops, so it is possible that this example may have seen service in the trenches during WW1? Who knows?
The knife fully open measures 21.25” (54cm) long and the blade is 10” (25.4cm) long by 1.75” (4.5cm) wide.
It weighs a heavy 590g.
Please see my pictures for the details of the condition, which complement this description.
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