Thread: Sliding weights
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Old 1st July 2005, 01:22 AM   #15
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
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Wow! I had no idea that the clearly established knowledge of the members here included such command of physics!! I'm afraid I'm pretty much lost in this dynamic discussion, but its fascinating to see the potential and plausibility of such an interesting feature as the sliding weights on sword blades.

Actually this topic was discussed several years ago in a query about a much storied Scottish hero of the 17th century, whose claymore was said to have a 'ten pound weight on the back of the blade to add force to the cut'. While the hyperbole here is obvious, further research found no examples of such a feature on the back of sword blades. It seemed a bit useless to add any weight to the already heavy enough claymore let alone trying to control such a sword with moving weight changing the balance.
It seems that another tale similar describes a medieval falchion with a weight termed in literary fashion 'the apple' or 'pear' on a shaft at the back of the blade for the same express purpose of adding force to the cut.

Clearly the 'tears of the wounded' feature on Chinese and Persian edged weapons aesthetically correspond to this moving feature, but are generally considered to be ceremonial or parade weapons. There have been some accounts of blades containing mercury enclosed in a channel for the purpose of movement of force in the use of the blade, but again these tales appear to have literary origin rather than practical.

What I would like to know is if anyone has ever seen or heard of an actual weapon with a shaft and sliding weight, again without reference to the 'tears of the wounded' pearls or bearings.

Having asked that, I hope the discussion on the actual dynamics of this feature continues! Its fascinating to see how this feature would have been applied and helps in understanding possibilities. Excellent observations!!

Best regards,
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