They've been around for hundreds of years and never with a good reputation.
Even so, given their compact nature and relative simplicity, they've long been favored by lads in wartime.
Examples abound of Civil War knucks, cast from bullet lead around the campfire.
In the First World War they were used in trench raids or just generally carried around a-la Dumbo's feather.
"Hunched under their assorted burdens, the infantry moved up to the line. Their excitement was mingled with nervousness, but at least the waiting was over. At long last they would have a chance of having a 'proper go' at the Hun. Despite the bellicose array of weapons dangling about their persons, many Tommies had thoughtfully provided themselves with knuckle-dusters, lengths of chain and even vicious knives as their personal contribution to the armoury of battle. Most had never seen a German face to face but, as if anticipating some street corner brawl, they intended to be ready when they did. The fact was that, in spite of the long months of careful rehearsal, of lectures and training, of preparation and of orders, in the untried ranks of Kitchener's Army there was hardly an officer or man who appreciated the difference between a raid and a general attack."All are solid, cast brass.
From "Somme" by Lyn Macdonald
From "Somme" by Lyn Macdonald
$40 each plus $5 shipping.
These are always in stock and will ship the day after payment is received.
However, any three of these handsome steak-tenderizers (Save by beating the hell out of cheaper cuts of meat!) - delivered to your door by an employee of the Federal Government - can be had for a mere $105.
One final word: If you pay with PayPal, think of it as that aunt you absolutely love but would never, ever tell what you spent the money she gave you for your birthday on.
PayPal is a little old lady. She can't handle too much information.
E-mail me if I'm not being clear.
Today we welcome two newcomers to the lineup and, since it's their special day, we'll lead off with them.
Just in time for Halloween (Two weeks ago); bitchin'-boss-cool Coffin Knucks.
Next up: One of those things that could have been...
The Lincoln Knucks:
Between his election in 1860 and his inauguration in '61, an ugly (probably imaginary) plot was hatched to stab the great Emancipator-to-be while en route to Washington. A sort of stabby flash-mob was supposed to convene on the station platform at Baltimore where it was hoped that at least one assassin would be successful.
To thwart this rumored plan, an embarrassing subterfuge was devised to sneak Lincoln through the city at night.
Embarrassing because it was probably unnecessary and because it painted the not-even-president-yet... president... as cowardly.
The pundits had a field day.
During the course of this nocturnal trip through the wilds of urban Maryland, someone in his party - his former law partner and self-appointed head-bodyguard, Ward Hill Lamon or one of the Pinkertons - carried a set of knucks.
Said item now resides at the Ford's Theater National Historic Site.
They are a T-handle design that fits only one way.
Very comfortable and heavy.
Speaking of comfortable and heavy;
The Classic T-Handle
This pattern was cast directly from an original, graciously lent by Dave Grant at knuckledusterbook.com.
It's a very elegant design and is the heaviest of the lot.
It's one of three that I sell with graduated finger loops, therefore it can only be worn one way but is extremely comfortable.
Next in the lineup is an old pattern based on earlier Chinese examples. This is a pattern, popular in late 19th century America, that I call "The Screaming Monkey". You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out why I call it that: Inboard finger-loops = eyes while outboard = ears.
From that I'm thinking you can figure out the mouth.
I wish I'd made the term up but it was from an article written about brass-knuckle collecting back in the '80's.
This basic design is the basis for all the rest of my knucks.
Some look like drunk monkeys, like spaced-out monkeys, laughing monkeys. You get the picture. They're monkeys.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you...
These are the smallest and lightest knucks I make and may not fit everyone.
The next was patterned after a knuckle duster which probably parted company with its owner during Britain's "Big Push" during the summer of 1916.
The original was found near Kaiser's Oak, near the village of Gommencourt in France.
It's an older, more archaic design, the finger loops all the same size and relatively small.
The photo of the, seriously distressed, cast-iron set that I copied these from was posted on my favorite, Great War, anorak site, The Great War Forum.
Based on where the poster found them, their previous owner, who by could have been either British or German and probably lost them sometime in connection with "Britain's Worst Day", July 1, 1916. The Somme offensive. (See block-quote above).
Our lad below served a bit North, in a diversion meant to make the Axis think that the main attack wasn't going to take place astride the river that ultimately gave the battle its name.
I pontificated re same previously here .
Yet another Great War set. These are based on a photo of the original in the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, UK.
Moving forward into the Second War, this is a reproduction of the BC 41 knuckleduster.
Assumed to be a companion to the famous knuckle knife of the same name, it suffers from the same lack of information that surrounds the knife.
No one knows for certain but the belief is that BC 41, stamped both on knives and knucks, designated; British Commandos, 1941.
These are small and light but still with nice roomy finger stalls.
Available with points - or not.
This next one was copied from a photo provided by the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath.
On the website, it was referred to as a set of "Boatswain's knuckles". I suspect that they simply belonged to a bo'sun rather than having any serious, nautical provenance.
Like the Royal Armouries knucks (above), they're large and roomy but are one-sided - index-finger must go in the index-finger hole, like the T-handle. Also it includes completely gratuitous knuckle points which take the form of blunted cones. Wicked.
Like the Classic T-handle, this example was cast from an original; an original with an actual provenance.
These were carried by a participant in one of our earlier experiments in meddling abroad, the Spanish-American war.
The original is pictured next. It's a pretty standard, screaming-monkey design but larger than the classic monkey and with no hard edges anywhere. Very comfy.
The coolness factor comes to the fore with the inscription.
One side (Top photo) reads: "W. Samuels. 1898" while below is stamped "Cuba Libre" which is, of course, a rum-and-coke with lime.
The flip side reads: "Go Ahead".
I'd have gone with a motto that was a bit more dynamic. I can't imagine yelling "go ahead!" while making a charge but I wasn't there.
All I can think is that "Go ahead" sounded more badass back then.
Below that are the letters: "USV" for "U.S. Volunteers".