Big Red here with a question from "Steve 'Donk' Rackman"...
So, TAKE FIVE!
“Big Red, how did the wedge buckle evolve?”
Great question Steve,
The first version of the wedge buckle was made of steel painted olive drab and used a straight angle backed cam lever to friction lock against the leather strap. Difficulties in maintaining a consistent thickness throughout the length of the leather strap, necessary for proper friction, prevented many of the buckles from properly locking in place once adjusted to size.
In early 1943 a new version of the lever was introduced which replaced the straight angled friction lock with a rolled edge. The rolled edge of the lever lined up over a slot stamped into the base of the wedge, at the point of contact with the strap, allowing for a greater variance in the leather thickness effectively resolving the locking issues. This new buckle would continue to be made of steel painted olive drab until 1944 when brass was again available for use.
Note: It was also at this time that the front flip had a slight lip added for better ease of operation.
The brass version of the wedge buckle was coated with black-oxide and had the addition of a patent number, (PAT2363872) embossed on the underside of the lever, which had been granted to the American Fastener Company of Waterbury, Connecticut in November of 1944.
Wedge buckles were made by at least five different contractors and, except for the patent marked flips, the majority were not identified in any way. However, buckles that have a small anchor pressed in the flip indicate they were manufactured by North & Judd Company.
Big Red Says!
FIVE'S OVER - MOVE OUT!