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Old 7th August 2010, 09:02 AM   #10
M ELEY
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: NC, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,387
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I've noticed in some of the old artworks of sea captains that blackened steel 'japanned' smallswords were popular. At first, I wrote this off as perhaps nothing more than a "prop" given to the subject being painted for artistic purposes, but Annis comments that smallswords were indeed popular among the maritime folks. I was wondering aloud if the blackened steel was more rust-resistant, as other naval swords that were painted or tarred black. Here's a sea captain (with an interesting history) whose pic is in the National Maritime Museum. Note the blackened hilt. Click on his pic for a bigger view.

http://www.nmm.ac.uk/collections/ex....cfm?ID=BHC2928
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