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Gemini Survival Knife From Ace Joe Foss
W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company Astronaut Survival Knife From The Joe Foss Collection
Survival Knife Inscription Closeup
Engraving On W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company Astronaut Survival Knife
Case Suvival Knife Presentation Plaque
W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company Astronaut Survival Knife Presentation Plaque
This artifact is an Astronaut Survival Knife - M-1 limited production edition similar to the one which flew for the first time on the Gemini III mission.   This knife is serial number 308, model 1966.

This particular artifact was part of the Joe Foss Collection.  Joe Foss was a World War II flying ace and war hero.  He was a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.  Later he became the Governor of the state of South Dakota.  His resume also includes being the first Commissioner of the American Football League.  Foss also was a host on the sporting TV series "The Outdoorsman".  He was a past president of the America Rifle Association.

Mr. Foss consigned this survival knife for auction to Odyssey Auctions.  The knife was auctioned in the March 26, 1995 Odyssey Auctions Space And Aviation Autographs And Memorabilia Auction.  This was lot number 430 in that auction.

The item description from the auction catalogue stated, "430. Rare "Astronauts" Knife. A limited production knife produced by the W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery in conjunction with NASA.  This is the same type of knife which was part of the survival package carried on the Molly Brown by John Young and Gus Grissom.  The machete is house in a shadowbox frame featuring a space background with the Molly Brown capsule in orbit.  An attractive display."

On the back of the shadowbox is taped a card describing the knife.  The card states,

"New ... Special Made For Our Men In Space.

The Astronaut's Knife. Available In Limited Production Only!

Case is deeply honored to contribute this unique knife to the Gemini and Apollo Survival Kits.  This was made to specifications developed in conjunction with NASA Manned Space Craft Center in Houston, Texas.  The first knife used was apart of the survival package carried in the "Molly Brown" space capsule by Air Force Major Virgil I. Grissom and Navy Commander John Young on their historic flight of March 23, 1965.  All flights under these projects have since this time carried a Case Astronaut's Knife as part of their survival package.

There can be no compromise with quality when men's very lives depend upon their equipment.  You can appreciate our pride when such projects turn to Case for their cutlery needs.

The blade of this notable knife is engineered of 13 gauge special high carbon stainless steel.  The handle is polypropylene.  It is the lightest known plastic that exudes no fume, a necessary attribute since two primary consideration in the spacecraft are air purity and minimum weight.

The polished edge is fantastically sharp.  It will literally shave the hair off a person's arm. The back of the blade has a double row of teeth capable of sawing wood.  The handle is pinned to the blade by a round brass rod.  An area near the handle is purposely left blunt for use as a pry.  The handle is shaped for sure grip and drilled to receive a lanyard.

Above presentation case and mailer 4 inches deep x 9 inches wide x 21 inches long. Weight 6 pounds including knife."

The Earth To The Moon Air & Space Museum obtained this artifact from the Odyssey Auction.  Later, a type written, hand signed statement of authenticity was obtained from Mr. Foss regarding this artifact.

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UPDATED : January 8, 2007
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