Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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fernando 5th December 2014 04:41 PM

A modified fleam
2 Attachment(s)
Long time ago i bought this thing without knowing what it was ... you know, the collecting trend fever:shrug: .
Later i learnt it is a fleam, a device to bleed animals, a habit started ages ago with humans ... so often the way to hasten their death :shrug:.
This example appears to be a pattern used over time; probably dating from the 19th century, has the same design as those figuring in Nuemann's "American Revolution" work.
Certainly of French origin, marked POLYCARPE, has been subject to alterations in two of the blades that have always intrigued me. They were drasticaly transformed from their puncture like shape into what we may call utilitary knife blades. Whereas its owner found his own way to bleed whatever kind of animal or simply found for this fleam a different use, i may never know.
The classic way of bleeding is done by means of a little wood hammer that knoks the lancet punctures into the veins. The way the modified blades are now does not match with such procedure. But on the other hand i find it rather imbecile to use a fleam resource to manage a pocket knife instead of simply buy one.
Go figure :eek:


Ken Maddock 5th December 2014 05:50 PM

Nice item
Also note the point ground into the middle blade that was probably for a very specific job. I have often modified screw drivers for a very specific, often obscure job in such a manner.
Maybe not French but Swiss, the template for the original Swiss Army knife :)

Shakethetrees 5th December 2014 09:17 PM

What we have to realize is that money was not anywhere as easy as it is today.

Sure, we might complain about "hard times" and such, but, remember, all goods were at least partially hand made, therefore more dear. The disposable age was not even a remote concept yet, so, re-purposing was common.

The middle blade is not so much modified as sharpened to keep the point.

A broken fleam could have been had for pennies and converted to something useful.

fernando 9th December 2014 03:32 PM

1 Attachment(s)
The middle blade is practicaly intact. Go figure why the previous owner only modified two of them.
All three blades design should have the same shape, only with different dimensions, available for user's selection.
Their pointed design serves a technique to perforate the vain and not cut it, by means of a small wooden hammer blow.


Ken Maddock 9th December 2014 06:36 PM

Hi all
The adaptation I was referring to was not on the pointed part of the blade but on the end of the arm where the square protrusion was created by filing/ grinding on either side of the arm of the tool,
I remember doing something similar to make something to retain a spring on a gun I was working on
Thanks for showing the mallet to complete the picture
A scarifier is another interesting blood letting tool I have been on the look out for but yet to be found

fernando 10th December 2014 12:20 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Apparently this not an adaptation but an original detail thought to enable pulling the blade out of its case. All three blades in the dscussed example should have had it.
... As may be seen in other examples out there, although with varied shape.


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