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Murphy Cast Handle Knife
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The Murphy Combat Fighting Knife was produced during World War II by David Z. Murphy and his son David M. Murphy. Murphy was a custom knife maker who fist came to fame as the maker of the knives sold by the Gerber Legendary Blade Knife Company. The “Murphy” fighting knives are often categorized loosely as “Theater Knives”, even though they were not manufactured in a wartime theater of operations. They were, however, fighting knives manufactured for the explicit use of US military forces in combat during the Second World War. Murphy manufactured the knives in Gresham, OR and according to knife maker, researcher and author M.H. Cole (who interviewed David M Murphy), approximately 90,000 knives were produced during the war. This seems to be a very high number, considering the rarity of these knives on the market today. Several knife researchers and authors have postulated that either Murphy was simply incorrect in his estimate of total knives manufactured, or that somewhere along the line the production figures inadvertently received an extra “0” at the end, turning a much more believable total production of 9,000 into 90,000! The knives were produced in two sizes, a standard sized fighting knife with a 6 1/8” blade and a smaller 5” bladed “Jr” combat knife. The smaller knives are much less often encountered than the larger ones, although both are hardly common and in fact tend to be quite scarce. The knives were produced with cast aluminum hilts and bright polished blades, which were manufactured from power hacksaw blades. The larger knife has the words MURPHY COMBAT cast into the obverse grip and U.S.A. cast into the reverse grip. The smaller knife is marked MURPHY COMBAT JR on the reverse grip and U.S.A. on the obverse. The knives were supplied complete with a leather scabbard that was contoured to the guard of the knife and had a grip-retaining strap, which was secured with a snap. Several companies apparently manufactured the scabbards for Murphy, with Hamley’s Saddle Works of Pendleton, OR providing the bulk of the scabbards. M.H. Cole identifies at least four known WWII era scabbards for Murphy combat knives in his books, and assigns the variants numbers 1 through 4.