Wednesday, September 14, 2016

US M-1910 Pick-Mattock Entrenching Tool, WW1 Pickaxe

Picks must be on my radar right now!  I just picked up another old Pick-Mattock to add to the collection.  This one is a Model 1910, M-1910, US Pick-Mattock Entrenching Tool.

This old pick is one of the early models, pre-WW1 or WW1 vintage.  This pick is undated and stamped "US" on both the metal head and on the wood handle.  Only the pre-WW2 vintage picks are marked like this.

The M-1910 Pick-Mattocks were made from 1910 through WW1, and then production picked up again in WW2.  The main distinguishing feature of the WW1 vintage picks that sets them apart from the later versions, is that they are only marked US.  In WW2 the picks, and often the handles, are marked US and also marked with the date and manufacturer's name.  The old WW1 vintage picks are often passed over by collectors because they are not dated like the WW2 versions!  I think it is often assumed that they must not be "authentic" due to the lack of date and manufacturer stamps.  I got a great deal on this pick for that very reason!

These picks were designed to be taken apart and carried in two pieces.  A canvas carrier was issued with them that held both pieces separately, making the "package" more compact.  This carrier was strapped to the field pack.  (I'm on the hunt for a WW1 canvas carrier now!)  The canvas carriers can be found with WW1, WW2, and some 1950's dates.

Not every soldier was issued a pick.  I'm not sure what the ratio of picks to shovels was in WW1, but in WW2, here is how they were issued out:

Squad of 10 men:
1 man issued M-1910 Hatchet
2 men issued M-1910 Pick-Mattocks
8 men issued M-1910 Entrenching Tools (shovels)

The very early M-1910 picks were issued out un-painted.  Not long after they were first issued (pre-WW1), the regulations were changed to indicate that all M-1910 entrenching tools (picks, shovels and hatchets) were to be painted.  My pick has the last remnants of paint still visible on it.  There is some of the early Khaki-Green paint from the WW1 era and some of the later Dark Olive Green paint from WW2 on the metal head, and just a few specks on the wooden handle (The WW1 paint on the head is very faint, and around the edges of the darker WW2 green paint).  I am guessing that the paint must have been field-applied and that may be why it did not stick so well.

While examining these photos, I discovered that there was a very small, partial US Ordinance Corps, stamped marking, to the left of the pick's US stamping.  The story of that "mystery and investigation" can be seen at my blog posting here:

These US picks were well designed, compact, and some of the most useful ones that I have seen produced by any of the armies through the years.  They were used by the US military all the way up into the 1970's.  The pick was still standard issue through the Korean War era, and then tapered off after that.

Let's take a look at the album.  Enjoy!

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