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SOLD! $2000! WWI US Experimental Shinkle Hand Grenade C

Updated: Mar 17

The WWI US Experimental Shinkle Hand Grenade C, while not as widely known as other weapons of its era, holds some unique stories that offer a glimpse into the creativity and sometimes strange realities of wartime innovation. 

From an invention perspective:

  • An inventor's gamble: The grenade was the brainchild of Truman Shinkle, a dentist from Indiana with no prior military experience. He saw a need for a more powerful and versatile grenade than existing options and poured his own funds into developing the Shinkle C.

  • Unconventional design: The grenade's design was quite unusual. It resembled a flattened can with a spoon-like handle and internal chambers filled with black powder and shrapnel. This design aimed for increased fragmentation and blast radius compared to standard grenades.

  • Testing and refinement: The Shinkle C underwent various tests and modifications, including being dropped from airplanes and even thrown by hand from moving vehicles. Despite improvements, concerns remained about its safety and effectiveness.

From a military perspective:

  • Limited adoption: Despite Truman Shinkle's efforts and promising test results, the Shinkle C never saw widespread adoption by the US military. Concerns about its safety, complexity, and potential for user error outweighed its potential benefits.

  • Alternatives in the trenches: Standard grenades like the Mk II and French F1 grenades remained the primary choices for soldiers due to their reliability and familiarity. The Shinkle C became a footnote in the vast array of weaponry used in WWI.

  • Legacy of innovation: While not a battlefield success, the Shinkle C represents the spirit of wartime innovation and the willingness to explore unconventional solutions. Its story reminds us that not all inventions, even those with good intentions, find success in the field.

Beyond the battlefield:

  • A dentist's wartime contribution: Truman Shinkle's story highlights the diverse contributions of individuals to the war effort beyond traditional military roles. His dedication and ingenuity, though not fully realized, offer a unique perspective on the war.

  • A reminder of the past: The Shinkle C serves as a physical reminder of the many experimental weapons developed during WWI, offering a glimpse into the ongoing quest for military advancements and the ethical considerations surrounding such innovations.

  • Museum displays: A few Shinkle C grenades are preserved in museums like the Smithsonian Institution, allowing visitors to learn about this unconventional piece of WWI history firsthand.

This amazing piece of history sold for over $2000 during the March 16, 2024, Geibel Ordnance Auction.


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