Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Aylward also mentions on p.54 there was a strict convention for wearing of black in mid 18th century, with some cheaper blades and blackened steel hilts for expressing grief....it is noted that these were not necessarily just for mourning. It makes sense that a sword just for mourning would be a bit extravagant, unless there were really a lot of funerals!!
As I see it, an 18th century gentleman of means[or debts] had several small-swords for different occasions, which, in today's parlance, might be equated to a closet rack of ties. Some of us have only one or two, some have 20+.
I, too, would be interested in seeing a 'bonified' mourning sword. Again, let's not forget that japanning was a preferred method of protecting steel from rusting, often applied to military swords and long-arms.
This, according to the Mount Vernon Museum, was George Washington's mourning sword. It does have a black grip [very uncommon to see a bone or ebony grips on small-swords, aside from some French martial examples], but the rest of the hilt is actually pretty festive, and reminiscent of the French model 1767 officer's swords.