One of the joys of edged weapon collecting is the occasional discovery of an absolutely exquisite artifact. A fine example is the Prussian Aero Corps dagger pictured here. This dagger is so unique and in such nearly perfect condition as to almost defy description. Examining an historical object like this causes you to wonder if it has been in some time warp for nearly 100 years.

Prussian Imperial Aero Dagger

The dagger is essentially a pre-war Prussian Aviator dagger of standard specifications and based primarily on the DFAC Automobile-Corps dagger with the exception of the propeller crossguard design. The dagger is nickel silver mounted throughout, including the scabbard fittings and fitted with an etched blade of exceptional beauty.

The nickel silver fittings are all darkened and lacquered, with nearly all of the lacquer remaining.

Prussian Imperial Aero Dagger

The dagger fittings show a high degree of hand finishing and chasing. Edged weapons that require some degree of hand fitting generally are internally numbered to facilitate this assembly process. Such is the case with this dagger. The pommel, ivory grip, blade tang, cross guard and butt plate are all precisely punched with a tiny chisel leaving two perfectly placed hash marks on each piece.

The pommel is an open finial Prussian crown type with alternating Imperial eagles and Christian crosses in panels around its perimeter. This ultra rare dagger elevates the pommel design from the norm in that two different forms of crosses are observed on each side of the eagle. One cross is cast in a raised format while the alternating cross is hand chased into the panel. When examining the chasing it is obvious that a master engraver was responsible for finishing this dagger.

Prussian Imperial Aero Dagger

The genuine ivory grip is grooved and double wrapped with darkened, two strand, twisted nickel silver wire. The cross guard is identical with the Imperial naval style with the exception of the central panel. The center of both sides of the guard are pebbled, with a meandering punch design and darkened. The obverse center is adorned with a standard gilded Aero Corps propeller that is pinned through the grip. The reverse contains a round two-piece scabbard spring release button. The butt plate, release spring, and red felt buffer pad complete the hilt of this dagger.

Prussian Imperial Aero Dagger

The central ridge blade is stamped with the knight helmet trademark of WKC. The trade mark is the variation with the helmet comb that shows a saw tooth design. The blade is acid etched with an aero design of singular beauty. The etch is primarily a double floral pattern around a central panel. The background of the design is darkened to give added dimension. The blade is not nickel plated, which provides even more enhancement of the pattern. The central panel of the blade obverse features a precisely etched Rumpler Taube aeroplane flying over a mountain village. On the reverse is an early Farman/Albatros bi-plane in a similar mountain environment. As with other parts of this dagger the wax template used for the blade etch was expertly trimmed to enhance the overall crispness of the design.

Prussian Imperial Aero Dagger

The scabbard of this dagger also has darkened nickel silver fittings. The fittings are affixed to the reverse leather body with staples. The top fitting contains a scabbard throat that is soldered to the top fitting and no scabbard screws are used. This throat design is rarely seen in navy daggers but was the preference in automobile and aero corps dirks. The top fitting is completed with an obverse frog lug for vertical wear and a side ring affixed directly to the top fitting with out a sus-pension band and eye for horizontal wear. Both fittings are scalloped in design where they meet the leather scabbard body. The lower fitting is typical with a rounded tip. The black leather body is centrally stitched on the reverse and is constructed without scabbard liners.

 

Impressum - Mail

The Early Prussian Aviators and their Daggers - By Vic Diehl and H.Hampe