Thursday, June 25, 2015

New Jersey Deputy Sheriff Badges, Stock Badges circa 1910-1930

Today we'll be continuing on with our vintage law enforcement theme.  I have two vintage stock badges that date to the "Roaring Twenties" era to showcase.

Both of these badges are "stock generic", Deputy Sheriff badges, for the state of New Jersey.  Both badges are of the same design and style, but date to two slightly different time periods, and are manufactured by different badge makers, using two different manufacturing methods.  Since both badges are not marked with the issuing department, there is no way to know who actually used them.

Prior to World War Two, it was very common for small or rural police and sheriff's departments to issue a "generic stock" badge to their officers and deputies.  These badges could be purchased from law enforcement supply companies with the appropriate officer title, but were generic, with no department or agency name on them.  The badges were "stock" and could be purchased with various finishes.  The badges were much less expensive than custom made badges.  This enabled departments to "badge" all of their officers at an affordable price.  This is in very stark contrast to the practice of issuing very high quality, custom badges, that all departments issue today.

The advertisement shown above is from an old "Darley" supply catalog from the 1920's era.  You can see the price and options for the two type badges that I have, in the lower right corner of the the catalog photo-scan pictured above.

Gold Badge circa 1910's
The earliest of the two badges that I have is the "gold badge".  This badge is die-struck from brass and is most likely lightly plated with gold.  The metal is thinner overall, with the area of the state seal, quite thick and heavy.  

Tongue Catch on Gold Badge
We can tell that this badge is from the 1910's through the 1920's by the style of the back pin.  The catch on the pin is the old "tongue" style that was used during this era.  The pin itself is self-springing to hold tension when it is fastened.

Nickel Badge circa 1920's
The second badge is a much heavier badge that is cast from brass and then plated with a heavy plating of Nickel.  The state seal is left un-plated, giving it a nice bronze contrast to the nickel silver badge body.   The wear on the surface of the badge clearly indicates that it was worn for many years.

Small Burgess Catch on Nickel Badge
The catch on the back of the Nickel Badge is a "small burgess" catch.  This style of catch was patented in 1910 and is seen on badges up until the mid 1900's.  Based on the style of this badge, a stock generic, it is safe to say it dates to the 1920's to 1930's.

These old "stock generics" are often mistaken for toy badges.  Most of the toy badges in this style were made with crude castings of pot-metal or lack the weight and detail in the center seal of the originals.  It is worth taking a close look at any "toy badge" that you encounter to make sure that it is not one of these old, historic badges!

Now for a few closer photos:

Friday, June 19, 2015

Mohave County Sheriff's Department Belt Buckle, circa 1970's Arizona

Today I picked up a very interesting new addition for the "Badge Collection".  It is a solid brass belt buckle from the Mohave County Sheriff's Department in Arizona.

I can not be certain of the exact age, but when I picked it up I guessed that it was from the 1970's or 1980's.  After a little bit of online research, I found a forum posting that showed a duplicate of this buckle.  The poster stated that he received the buckle and a department patch, from a Mohave County Deputy in 1979.  It looks like my guess was right!

The buckle appears to be worn a bit smooth on the surface, which indicates that it was probably worn on the duty belt, behind the Sam Browne gun belt.   The buckle is unmarked so there is no way to tell who did the casting.

In the 1970's, Mohave County, Arizona, was a very rural "Wild West" county with a very low population of around 50,000 or so.  Today the population has grown to over 200,00 and the sheriff's department is a very modern, 21st century department.  

Mohave County Sheriff's Department had it's moment in the "Hollywood Sun" back in 1959, when it was featured prominently in the movie "Edge of Eternity".  The movie featured a Deputy who solves a grisly, multi-victim murder at the edge of the Grand Canyon.  The highlight of the entire film is when it ends with a dramatic fight scene in a cable gondola car above the canyon! 

Here's a New York Times review of the movie from 1960:

Here's a shot from the movie showing one of the Mohave County Sheriff's Department patrol cars and a deputy.  The car on the left is from the Arizona State Patrol and the car on the right is from the Sheriff's Department.

And here is a movie still that shows the old Mohave County uniforms.  The shot is from 1959, but I would imagine it would still be the same in the 1970's.

And to finish things up, here are a couple more shots of the buckle.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Danish Hiking Club Song Book for Meetings 1937, Dansk Vandrelaug's Sangbog D.V.L.

Here is an interesting little book that I picked up yesterday.  

We headed out to run a few errands here in town, and decided to swing by our local thrift store to see what, if any, treasures we could find there.  I found this wonderful little song book that was published in 1937.  The best part was that it was only .99 cents.  I love it when that happens!  I will display this with my Scandinavian grouping of military and vintage camping gear.

This book is small, 8.5 cm, by 12.5 cm, by 2 cm, and is 473 pages in length.  That's a lot of pages in a tiny book!  The book was published in 1937 by the Dansk Vandrelaug,or D.V.L..  Know in English as "The Danish Hiking Club".

The D.V.L. was founded in May of 1930 with 20 original members.  By the end of 1930 it had grown to 100 members, by 1937 it was 38,000 members and then it grew even larger, to around 70,000 members in 1958!  Today there are over 8,000 members in 20 local chapters throughout Denmark.  It is plain to see that it was, and continues to be, a very popular club and association in Denmark!
DVL Web Page / History

This little song book was meant to be used by club members when they attended their local meetings.  You don't see that sort of thing these days.  They must have had a great time back in the "old days" of the D.V.L. !

Early photo of D.V.L. hikers from the 1930's (From D.V.L. main website)

I don't read Danish, so there is only a limited amount that I can say about the contents, so I will let the photos do the talking for me.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Czech VZ 24 Mauser Bayonet and Scabbard, Czechoslovakian VZ24

Today I will showing off and reviewing my Czech VZ24 Mauser Bayonet.  This is the bayonet that I have paired with my Romanian - Czech VZ24 Mauser that I will be showcasing in an upcoming post.

The VZ24 bayonets are not uncommon and it is thought that the Czech's manufactured several hundred thousand of these over the years!  Even though they are a "common" bayonet, that does not take away from their quality, and beauty.

The most unique feature on these bayonets is the "reversed blade".  When you first look at a Czech VZ24 bayonet, it looks like any other Mauser bayonet of the era, however, on closer inspection, it is apparent that the cutting edge is on the TOP of the blade!  It is not known why this blade configuration was chosen, but it is quite unique and distinctive.

Manufacture of these bayonets started in 1924, with the first production of the VZ24 Rifles and continued through until the end of WW2 with only a few variations.  
The first variation that you are apt to encounter is the VZ24 bayonet that has had the muzzle ring ground off so that it resembles the German K98 Bayonet. 
The next variation is a VZ24 bayonet that was manufactured without the muzzle ring.  

When the Germans invaded and captured Czechoslovakia, in 1939, they took control of the Czech firearm factories.  The Germans took control of vast numbers of VZ24 rifles and existing bayonets.  The Germans issued and used the Czech rifles and bayonets throughout WW2 and often entire military units were issued the Czech VZ24 rifles and bayonets instead of the German K98 Mausers.  

German soldier carrying VZ24 Rifle, bayonet with muzzle ring, and Czech shovel.
Initially the Germans issued existing Czech bayonets.  The Germans then had the muzzle rings ground off the captured VZ24 bayonets before issue, and then they changed the production lines to produce bayonets without the muzzle rings.  These "K98 Style" bayonets (bayonets manufactured without rings) were stamped with the three letter code of DOT and still retained the unique Czech "inverted blade" of the originals.  The Czech bayonets will fit both the VZ24 and K98 Mausers without any alteration, with or without the muzzle rings.

I am not certain of the exact date that production changed from producing bayonets with muzzle rings to those without, but I would assume it was shortly after Czechoslovakia was taken over by the Germans in 1939.

The Czech VZ24 bayonets with the muzzle rings, are not stamped with the date of manufacture, however, there is a Czech Army acceptance stamp that has the date the bayonet was put into military service.  It would be assumed that this date would very closely approximate the production year of the bayonet.

My bayonet is stamped with CSZ on the bayonet, indicating that it was manufactured by the Czech State Armory, "Ceskoslovenska Zbrojovka".  The meaning of the letter B under the CSZ stamp is unknown, however I would guess that it corresponded to a "batch run" of bayonets.  These bayonets can be dated to a "time period" based on which side of the blade the CSZ is stamped on.  1923-1937 on the left, and then switched to the right side in 1938.  My bayonet falls into the 1923-1937 period, which matches the 1936 date on the scabbard.

The scabbard is stamped with the Czech Military Acceptance Stamp, a Bohemian Lion with the year code for 1936., as well as CSZ indicating the Czech State Armory for manufacture.

Let's take a look at a few more photos of this unique bayonet.