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<p>If you run across a knife like this in your father’s or grandfather’s things, you might consider keeping it around. What you may have is a little known piece of World War II history.</p>
<p>Early in the war, the government had a difficult time furnishing knives to the troops. This engendered the feeling, within the government, that if it wasn’t issued, you didn’t need it. Of course the troops felt differently about that, and started requesting knives from families and friends. The resulting rush to purchase privately made knives for fathers and sons going to war emptied many a stores’ shelves. There also arose several cottage industries which furnished knives to our troops until the government could catch up with the need, with one of them being the Montana Power Company.</p>
<p>The thought of furnishing knives to the troops crossed the desk of J. P. Medlin, who was Superintendent of Plants for the Montana Power Company of Great Falls. The idea soon took on a life of its own, resulting in knives being manufactured during the employees’ spare time during working hours at the plants in Butte and Great Falls. It was a tacit agreement between workers and management that as long as the work got done the supervisors and foremen turned a blind eye to the extra time spent on making knives. However it wasn’t just a shop project, for many company draftsmen and engineers lent a hand in the manufacturing.</p>
<p>The steel for the blades came mostly from power hacksaw blades used in the machine shops, and circular saw blades from local lumber mills in the Lincoln area. Anaconda Co. employees cut the steel into rough shapes about 2 by 14 inches. The Black Eagle power plant employees ground and sharpened the knives on company grinding machines during their spare time. The aluminum for the handles came from old automobile parts, the company forge and from the casting department. Montana Power employees at the Great Falls streetcar facility cast the aluminum handles onto the blades. The handles were then ground down and smoothed. It doesn’t appear that any other molds were made, because all knives have the same shape handle. The knives were then placed in boxes usually consisting of 25 to 50 knives each. The leather for the scabbards came from the worn out leather belting used to power equipment in the plants, and even from old shoes that were being thrown away</p>
<p>The knives were made in the summer of 1942 and into a part of 1943, when troops began to be issued knives from the military. There were roughly about 1200 knives given free of charge to troops as their transport trains passed through Montana.</p>

The Montana Power Company Knife


If you run across a knife like this in your father’s or grandfather’s things, you might consider keeping it around. What you may have is a little known piece of World War II history.

Early in the war, the government had a difficult time furnishing knives to the troops. This engendered the feeling, within the government, that if it wasn’t issued, you didn’t need it. Of course the troops felt differently about that, and started requesting knives from families and friends. The resulting rush to purchase privately made knives for fathers and sons going to war emptied many a stores’ shelves. There also arose several cottage industries which furnished knives to our troops until the government could catch up with the need, with one of them being the Montana Power Company.

The thought of furnishing knives to the troops crossed the desk of J. P. Medlin, who was Superintendent of Plants for the Montana Power Company of Great Falls. The idea soon took on a life of its own, resulting in knives being manufactured during the employees’ spare time during working hours at the plants in Butte and Great Falls. It was a tacit agreement between workers and management that as long as the work got done the supervisors and foremen turned a blind eye to the extra time spent on making knives. However it wasn’t just a shop project, for many company draftsmen and engineers lent a hand in the manufacturing.

The steel for the blades came mostly from power hacksaw blades used in the machine shops, and circular saw blades from local lumber mills in the Lincoln area. Anaconda Co. employees cut the steel into rough shapes about 2 by 14 inches. The Black Eagle power plant employees ground and sharpened the knives on company grinding machines during their spare time. The aluminum for the handles came from old automobile parts, the company forge and from the casting department. Montana Power employees at the Great Falls streetcar facility cast the aluminum handles onto the blades. The handles were then ground down and smoothed. It doesn’t appear that any other molds were made, because all knives have the same shape handle. The knives were then placed in boxes usually consisting of 25 to 50 knives each. The leather for the scabbards came from the worn out leather belting used to power equipment in the plants, and even from old shoes that were being thrown away

The knives were made in the summer of 1942 and into a part of 1943, when troops began to be issued knives from the military. There were roughly about 1200 knives given free of charge to troops as their transport trains passed through Montana.





<h1>Welcome to 100 Cities / 100 Memorials</h1>
<h2>A National Matching Grant Challenge<br />To Preserve WWI Memorials</h2>
<p>It is in the spirit of these words—“Lest We Forget”—that the World War I Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum & Library jointly launch the <strong>100 Cities/100 Memorials</strong> initiative as its first sponsors, with support from The American Legion.</p>
<p><img src=In observance of the upcoming centennial of World War I, 100 matching grants of up to $2,000 apiece will be awarded for the restoration of 100 World War I Memorials across the United States. Any municipal government, individual, or organization may apply. Likewise, any individual, organization or company can become a sponsor of this effort, as the more we can raise toward this program, the greater the amount of the matching grant to the winning memorials.

A century ago, the founders of the American Legion wrote in their charter,

“The sacred purpose of the American Legion is to preserve the memories and incidents of their associations in the Great War.”
Founders: American Legion

This sentiment mirrors the commitment of the World War One Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum & Library to encourage the restoration and maintenance of World War I monuments across the country.

By restoring these monuments and memorials, many of which bear the names of those members of the community who served and fell in the Great War, the sponsors of the 100 Cities/100 Memorials initiative hope not only to honor the names of those who served, but to raise awareness of this momentous event in our nation’s history, and increase each and every communities’ understanding of their towns’ and cities’ place in military history.

It is our great hope that the 100 Cities/100 Memorials initiative will help unite the nation in a collective celebration of our victory in World War I and in proper recognition of the contributions of those who served and those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of liberty and freedom.

Kenneth Clarke
President & CEO
Pritzker Military Museum & Library                     

 
Daniel Dayton
Executive Director
United States World War I Centennial Commission

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Centennial Exhibit of World War 1


Welcome to 100 Cities / 100 Memorials

A National Matching Grant Challenge
To Preserve WWI Memorials

It is in the spirit of these words—“Lest We Forget”—that the World War I Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum & Library jointly launch the 100 Cities/100 Memorials initiative as its first sponsors, with support from The American Legion.

Wave Flag In The FIeldIn observance of the upcoming centennial of World War I, 100 matching grants of up to $2,000 apiece will be awarded for the restoration of 100 World War I Memorials across the United States. Any municipal government, individual, or organization may apply. Likewise, any individual, organization or company can become a sponsor of this effort, as the more we can raise toward this program, the greater the amount of the matching grant to the winning memorials.

A century ago, the founders of the American Legion wrote in their charter,

“The sacred purpose of the American Legion is to preserve the memories and incidents of their associations in the Great War.”
Founders: American Legion

This sentiment mirrors the commitment of the World War One Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum & Library to encourage the restoration and maintenance of World War I monuments across the country.

By restoring these monuments and memorials, many of which bear the names of those members of the community who served and fell in the Great War, the sponsors of the 100 Cities/100 Memorials initiative hope not only to honor the names of those who served, but to raise awareness of this momentous event in our nation’s history, and increase each and every communities’ understanding of their towns’ and cities’ place in military history.

It is our great hope that the 100 Cities/100 Memorials initiative will help unite the nation in a collective celebration of our victory in World War I and in proper recognition of the contributions of those who served and those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of liberty and freedom.

Kenneth Clarke
President & CEO
Pritzker Military Museum & Library                     

 
Daniel Dayton
Executive Director
United States World War I Centennial Commission



http://www.ww1cc.org/100memorials

 

 

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