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Discussion in 'Camillus Collector's Forum' started by BootsWilliamson, Nov 1, 2012.
My Camillus Pilot Survival Knife ( #5733B )
I have one of these, very pre-1967. It was old when I acquired it circa 1962. I'm speculating that it dates to mid 1950's, maybe Korean War. As a dumb kid, I broke the pommel at the rat tail end. Also, I decided to "lace" the edges of the sheath with leather boot lacing. It looks like it was done by a 14 yr. old kid -- or Bubba. Eventually I replaced the broken grip with a section of elk stag, secured w/ JB Weld. I put a leather spacer between the stag and the guard, also, reshaped the guard to single rather than double.
I still have it. And have always felt bad about the abuse it has taken in my early, misguided efforts to modify and embellish an existing knife. I didn't appreciate this knife's history or pedigree until later -- Like about 1975.
Recently, like 2005, I found this same Camillus Pilot Knife, offered at the local PX -- Leather sheath is metal backed, wrapped around the tip to prevent being pierced by the blade. NEW, and I paid about $20 for it. (Eat your heart out!) Knowing the history of this reserve Army base, and its supply chain for the PX, I expect this Camillus was a stock clearance from decommissioned Army issue inventory out of Ft. Lewis / McChord AFB, WA. It was packaged in a blister pack, labeled as US Govt. Property, not for civilian sale.
During the Korean War the Air Force and the Navy were using a folding knife that had first appeared towards the end of WW2. The picture below is of some blades used by aircrews during WW2. The knife on the right is an example of the folders that would also have been issued to aircrews during the Korean War.
In 1953 the Navy made a requisition for a new fixed blade knife to be used by aircrews. Three companies ended up with contracts to make these knives, Imperial, Schrade, and Camillus. Here are two examples made by Camillus.
In 1957 the Marbles Knife Co. proposed a new knife to the Navy that addressed some complaints that were made towards the then present pilots survival knife. It was excepted and besides Marbles, Camillus was also given the opportunity to produce the new knife. Camillus won out and made the majority of the new Jet Pilots Survival Knife. From 1957 to 1961 the new knife was made with a 6 blade.
The specification was changed in 1961 to shorten the blade to 5. Camillus made JPSK from 1957 until the mid 80s under government contract.
Very nice pictures, sac troop! A great collection of knives.
Thanks edbeau, would you believe that my wife claims I have obsessive compulsive issues?
Don't see why she would think that.
You tell your wife that comments like that are likely to get you fixated about your obsessive compulsions.
Nice historical rundown in this thread regarding production. I need to measure blade length, but I expect mine are 5" blades -- which puts them post 1961.
In the second from top photo are two w/ no fuller, and a round pommel rather than the hex. Different sheaths than the standard Pilot Survival w/ stone pouch. What's the history on those?