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Gavin Nugent 3rd September 2008 11:34 AM

Dutch Naval Swords
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Here are a couple of rare interesting pieces of History, a pair of Dutch Naval swords I currently have and I thought I'd use these whilst I have them in my posession as a learning tool for us all.
Both I beleive date from the 1870's, have wire bound ivory handles with pipeback blades and etchings to these blades, they do vary slightly in length and are complete with scabbards. The images can tell you more about the item than my fingers at this hour of the evening.


Jim McDougall 3rd September 2008 05:16 PM

Wow! Those really are beautiful examples Gav!
I have always liked those pipeback blades, very impressive.
It seems that Dutch weapons are relatively seldom seen in the collecting community, so it would be interesting to know more about these.
What are the inscriptions on the blade? makers ?

Thanks very much Henk for the Wilkinson book references. Those are some good photos and you're right, the one you referred to has great similarity. I didn't realize that book was published in Dutch. Do you have reference to these Dutch naval swords?

All the best,

Jim McDougall 3rd September 2008 08:04 PM

Just wanted to add some observations on these 'pipeback blades' on Gavin's two Dutch naval sabres. As I noted, I've always considered this blade feature most interesting, and it seems it occurs on Solingen made swords for Germany cavalry from about the 1870's.
In Wagner's "Cut and Thrust Weapons" these pipeback blades in which the rounded 'piping' becomes a ridge near the stepped point which seems to recall the famed yelman often seen on earlier East European sabres.
In Wagner, plates 13,18 and 19 illustrate German cavalry swords as noted dating 1879, 1889 and 1891 respectively, and two of the sword were by Geb'r Weyersberg firm in Solingen.
I wonder if that firm might have made these two swords?

It seems like these 'pipeback' blades were quite prevalent on early British swords, but later ceased about mid 19th c. on British sword blades. I wonder what brought these back on the German made blades?

katana 5th September 2008 06:52 PM

Does anyone know whether there was/is a functional reason for the rounded spine ie the 'pipe back'. Smoother draw from the scabbard ? better 'parrying' control of an opponent's blade? Thank you

Regards David

Gavin Nugent 6th September 2008 05:39 AM

The markings or quality mark on these blades are "Yzerhouwer". They also sport floral engravings down the spine of the blade and on the blade too, also ships of the line and the famous naval fouled anchor.
I borrowed the following from another site;

From John Walter's book: the distinguishing mark of the so called Eisenhauerklinge ("iron cutting blade") found on swords manufactured in Germany... An Eisenhauerklinge was a blade in which the edges had been hardened using the process that the Moslem metalsmiths had used centuries before the method had been introduced to Solingen; the stamping "Eisenhauer" - or any number of native variations - was ultimately taken as a term of quality, analogous to the later "Echt damast" marking of the third Reich.
The Eisenhauer blades seem to have been first produced in Solingen in the middle of the 19th century, and such marks continued into the 20th.

Doesn't say what the actual process was though...

Walters also lists Coup de Fer (French, Belgian), Jernhugger (Danish), Jernhuggare (Swedish), Yzerhouwer (Dutch) and Russian cyrillic versions.

I must say these little beauties have some quality spring in the blade and when pushed into the floor boards can easily bend to a 45degree angle and bounce back with some force, I am guessing the would pass the wire bound wood or iron bar test too.



Jim McDougall 6th September 2008 05:52 AM

Gav, outstanding information on the Eisenhauer markings! Thank you for adding that detail.
These really are very appealing sabres, and that pipeback is indeed interesting. I can only imagine it was a strengthening feature David, and it was used a lot on British swords then discontinued. Like to know more on it as well, and wonder if other military swords used it.

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