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-   -   Small Sword with long triangular blade (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=22292)

Roland_M 17th January 2017 06:48 PM

Small Sword with long triangular blade
 
4 Attachment(s)
Hello,

Probably an Italien, French or English small sword from the early to mid XVIII th century.
It has a lovely pierced steel hilt with a twisted wire on the grip and a hollow pommel.
The whole sword is made from steel, it's steel in steel. Thats the way I like it!

With 35" or 89.5cm the laminated blade (refined steel) is quite long for a small sword,
the effective length is ~93cm, the whole length 107cm.

The most interesting Feature for me on this sword is the light weight.
When I first put it on my weighing machine, I thought I need new batteries.
I used my precision balance and the sword weighs indeed only 435.1 Gram or 15.4 oz after the restoration
I removed a lot of rust from the handle and gave a new finish to the corroded blade.
The loss of weight from my restoration is only 0.8 Gram of steel, thats ok for me.

This is a real old duell sword, the blade is slightly bended, it has many nicks and the point is worn.
I added a picture of the grip wire. How many duels does it take until the wire is worn-out like this? The pattern of abrasion allows me to understand how the sword was hold in hand. Requires a pretty strong hand. The fact that one or more noblemen used this sword for duels is most exiting for me. In my opinion the real duels were much harder, more powerful and dynamic than in the movies.

I made one picture together with a rapier, the development is clearly visible.
The small sword looks almost modern and weighs less than half of the rapier (~1000 Gram and 435 Gram).
In a duel the rapier duelist has pretty bad cards and will probably lose ~8 or more out of 10 duels, because the small sword is as quick as a flash and got more stiffness.

Compared to the modern Cold Steel Small Sword, the old sword is 10cm or 4" longer but also 265 Gram (9 oz) lighter than the modern reproduction.
This old original outclasses the modern CS small sword in every point, especially in length and ergonomics.

Hope you enjoy the pictures and I also hope to read many comments.

Roland

cornelistromp 18th January 2017 07:21 AM

very nice small sword, if I remember correctly, I had this particular small sword in my collection and I have sold via ebay +- 15 years ago.

I remember how light it was as if it is made of aluminum.

the grip is not complete how it is now, there probably originally was a thin filigree/twisted threads or flat metal ribbon trims between the thicker wires.

best,
Jasper

Roland_M 19th January 2017 08:35 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by cornelistromp
very nice small sword, if I remember correctly, I had this particular small sword in my collection and I have sold via ebay +- 15 years ago.

I remember how light it was as if it is made of aluminum.

the grip is not complete how it is now, there probably originally was a thin filigree/twisted threads or flat metal ribbon trims between the thicker wires.

best,
Jasper


Hello Jasper,

thank you for your comment, very interesting to hear, that this was your sword some years ago.
One side of the loose hand guard is in good condition, the other side is badly rusted and has a hole. Maybe this helps.

I also think, that some of the finer grip wires got lost.

But still a perfect duel sword.


Regards,
Roland

cornelistromp 19th January 2017 11:12 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland_M
Hello Jasper,

thank you for your comment, very interesting to hear, that this was your sword some years ago.
One side of the loose hand guard is in good condition, the other side is badly rusted and has a hole. Maybe this helps.

I also think, that some of the finer grip wires got lost.

But still a perfect duel sword.


Regards,
Roland


yes that's the one, I remember a hole (or small restoration ?) there was also an oxidation spot with raw surface on the blade, if I remember well.

best,

Roland_M 19th January 2017 11:39 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by cornelistromp
yes that's the one, I remember a hole (or small restoration ?) there was also an oxidation spot with raw surface on the blade, if I remember well.

best,


Yes there was an oxidation spot on around 40% of the blade length. The spot is visible in the pictures. After some years of restoring experience I know how to remove such spots without much loss. Before my restoration the spot was black and at least twice as big.

Thank you very very much that you sold this awesome small sword indirectly to me!


best,
Roland

Sajen 21st January 2017 01:04 PM

Hi Roland,

since I've have had the privilege to handle your small sword I can say that the iron workmanship is outstanding. :eek: And the light weight when you handle it is very impressive! Great catch!

Best,
Detlef

thinreadline 21st January 2017 03:56 PM

This type of blade is called a colichemarde blade I believe .

fernando 21st January 2017 04:51 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Maybe not the same ... i guess :o .

.

batjka 22nd January 2017 03:29 AM

Beautiful smallsword!

I have to disagree with your opinion of smallsword vs a rapier fight though. A rapier is a good bit longer, and is also double the weight. A light smallsword would have a really tough time parrying a rapier as it just doesn't have the mass. And any lunges by a small sword would not reach the intended target as the fighter would likely be impaled on the rapier's point. It is agreed by experts that a smallsword is only good to fight another smallsword. With other weapons, they are at a disadvantage.

Jim McDougall 22nd January 2017 04:39 AM

The 'colichemarde' is a blade which evolved in the 17th c. in a transitional sense from rapiers of the time, and was in effect with a heavier extended forte blade which dramatically reduced to a narrower thrusting blade. The idea was actually for a faster blade which could parry the rapier. As noted, the weight of the sword has the weight in the hand, and the point can be maneuvered with extreme rapidity. (Aylward, 1945, p.37).

In "The Smallsword in England", Aylward, p.36, regarding the colichemarde blade of the developing smallsword appearing about 1675, the author notes,
"...one is always reluctant to cast doubt upon a picturesque legend, but it must be confessed that it has not been possible to trace the use of the word colichemarde either in the English or French literature of the time; those wishing to indicate a blade of this type resorting to such phrases as ' the blade broad from the hilt half way'. "

The lore is that the term is a French corruption of the name of John Phillip the Count von Konigsmark, a Swedish soldier of fortune in the service of Louis XIV, and a renowned duelist who is said to have created this blade. It was believed he originally had blades ground down in this manner and soon they were made in this form.

While the blades seem to have gone out of fashion rather at the same time as rapiers, in the time of George I, with civilian fashion, the colichemarde remained stubbornly with the military. Aylward claims (p.38) "...nor is it proved that the colichemarde blade disappeared with any kind of abruptness, for in a series of swords with these type of blade it will be seen that the change to even taper was made very gradually, the edges of the forte converging more and more until at last the shoulder vanishes altogether".

As blade width was reducing from about 1720s and colichemarde blades were still somewhat produced until c 1780s it is believed, perhaps this example is one of a transitional form as described above despite the shouldered form still known later in the century.

Roland_M 23rd January 2017 08:38 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by batjka
Beautiful smallsword!

I have to disagree with your opinion of smallsword vs a rapier fight though. A rapier is a good bit longer, and is also double the weight. A light smallsword would have a really tough time parrying a rapier as it just doesn't have the mass. And any lunges by a small sword would not reach the intended target as the fighter would likely be impaled on the rapier's point. It is agreed by experts that a smallsword is only good to fight another smallsword. With other weapons, they are at a disadvantage.


Today where the time of duels is long gone it is difficult for us to make clear statements, how they were fighting in the real life.

After I had many old blades in my hand, I slowly begin to have a feeling for it.

The main advantage of the rapier is the length, ~13cm more is pretty much.
But we talk about a duel weapon and in this case the weight of the sword is of highest importance.

There are many videos on Youtube and nowadays they are trying very seriously the find out the old way of sword fighting. They more and more come to the same conclusions than in the Renaissance or Medieval.
The Rapier for example is a good and fair opponent for a one and half hand longsword of italian type (designed for thrusting).

But the duel rapier is slow and very exhausting because of its high weight of ~1kg. The rapier-duelist normally tries to make offensive and defensive moves together in one action (Youtube "Rapier vs Longsword").
The small sword duelist on the other hand got such a fast weapon, he can make offensive moves and defensive moves indepently from each other.

Fighting with a small sword is completely different to a rapier and at least twice as fast or faster. If you watch a rapier duel you can see every move clearly but with a small sword one needs the slow motion to see whats happend.


Regards,
Roland

satsujinken 23rd January 2017 10:31 AM

it's a colichemarde sword, halfway in evolution to rapier, with half of the blade still wide, to parry heavier sword

popular in 16-17 th century, if I'm not mistaken
congratulations

Donny

Roland_M 23rd January 2017 10:39 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinreadline
This type of blade is called a colichemarde blade I believe .


I also believe it is a Colichemarde type but the blade is multiple bended exactly in the quite long transition area. So it is not 100% clear.

This might be a very interesting conclusion: the transition area is obviously the weakest point of a Colichemarde blade.

Another theory about the Colichemarde type from me is that it is lighter than later triangular blades with a nearly round base and maybe the ergonomics are slightly better.


Roland

Jim McDougall 27th January 2017 03:44 AM

In reading the 1885 work of the fencing master Egerton Castle, "Schools and Masters of Fence", I found some interesting passages which might support the period for this type blade of first quarter to mid 18th c. :

...the characteristic of the colichemarde blade is the very great breadth of the fort, as compared with that of the faible. The change is very abrupt; the blade, which is stiff and broad in the portion nearer the hilt, suddenly becoming excessively slender about the region of the half weak.
The pronounced difference facilitated the rapid management of the point to an extraordinary extent, without weakening the sword at the forte, from which all parries are made; so that practically the blade remained strong as ever. This form of blade was eminently favorable to methodical fencing, and this is one of the rare instances in which the form of the weapon was not the result of the development of the theory, but one in which the invention of a new shape ultimately altered the whole system.

Soon after its coming into general use we begin to hear of the free use of the 'cut over the point', of multiple feints, and what especially constituted te essence of small sword or French fencing, in contradistinction to rapier play, namely circular parries (contra-degagements) in the four lines.

This highly perfect form of blade was used between the years 1685 and 1720, and then seems very suddenly to have gone out of fashion, being REPLACED AGAIN BY ONE WHICH TAPERED VERY UNIFORMLY FROM THE BASE TO THE POINT.

But the advantages of an exceedingly light point were too important to be neglected, and accordingly the WHOLE blade was made very slender".

( Egerton Castle- pp.239-240. )

It would seem that this 'triangular' blade may well be indeed transitional as described above, but well apart from the rapier. The civilian examples more strictly following fashion likely took the gradual taper shape (triangular) in order to retain the heavier forte. At some point the blade became entirely slender, probably by about 1730.

Meanwhile as I noted earlier, the military, always stubbornly adhering to tradition still maintained the earlier blade shape, as evidenced by examples as late as 1780, George Washington having one of them.

I believe this example to be of 1720-40 period based on these notes .

kronckew 27th January 2017 09:20 AM

1 Attachment(s)
edited: for a historically accurate (:D) depiction of a colchemarde in action see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bn-7UtKNuwE&t=13s

George Washington has been noted as actually having this colchemarde sword.

fernando 27th January 2017 06:32 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland_M
Today where the time of duels is long gone it is difficult for us to make clear statements, how they were fighting in the real life...

Well said, Roland ...
Surely we are all aware that (school) fencing is one thing, (honor) dueling is another, and sword fighting in combat is way far different than those two, even if there aren't period video clips to demonstrate.
... From what i wonder whether fighting in combat depends, not so much in sword characteristics, but in the man (or woman) handling it. I fear that subtle differences in blade configurations are not so convincing as their effective brutality, so to say, notwithstading primary factors like weight and length but again, all those transcended by handlers not minding much about virtual modus operandi to hit their target. The Roman gladius was a short weapon, the Falcata Iberica was also rather short, yet it was narrated to be a vicious weapon.
All this to gain courage to say that the Colichemarde in its original configuration might be a fashionable fencing or dueling thing but not an actual combat resource in itself; maybe because i humbly find that its unestethical look is not compensated by being a combat resistent weapon.
But don't hit me, i am only the piano player :o.
And by the way Roland, your example, be it transitional or not, has by far a more balanced appearance :cool:

Jim McDougall 27th January 2017 08:57 PM

Wayne, thank you for adding the picture of George Washington's sword that I mentioned, pretty interesting example.

Actually fencing has been described as a 'science', where dueling has been described as anything from a passion to an obsession, in these times. It seems that the sword in combat is quite a different thing, as the dynamics there are profoundly dynamic to say the least.

I recall an anecdote pertaining to a cavalry action in the Crimea during that war, where a British cavalryman was 'annoyed' because a Russian horseman had responded 'out of sequence' to his strike , giving him a cut so and so and knocked him off his horse.

Fencing, and in its ultimate theater, the duel of honor, is a most systemic and carefully gauged arrangement, where the features of the weapons are key in their performance in accord with techniques practiced.
Combat is an explosive and volatile interaction where no such rules or strategies can be expected to be followed, as shown in the anecdote above and how out of place it was.


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