EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
More interesting entries Ibrahiim. The one regarding Gill and the ongoing competition and difficulties between German sword production and the English makers struggling to prove their skills which had been going on for over a century or more and lasted well through the 19th. In the 1780s these tests mentioned led to him and some others to begin using phrases and terms such as warranted, or in his case 'warranted never to fail' on their blades.
This practice continued until around 1810 or slightly later with Gill, Osborne and perhaps one or two others.
I think that the iron deposits known in Shotley areas were mostly 'ironstone' and inadequate for quality needed in blade forging. The steel imported was from Sweden I understand, much as it was to Solingen. As noted, the wood required was abundant.
In most of the entries in references I have seen, it is suggested that primarily Shotley was 'finishing' forged blades from Germany, probably via Holland (the ship Mohll's cargo was on was from Rotterdam). These seem to have been heavier broadsword or backsword blades for military swords and hangers (which appear to have been already mounted from the sound of the single bundle in the shipment).
The running wolf conundrum :
It seems that the Solingen applied running wolf was typically an almost chop mark type image, often barely recognizable as a specific creature. This was in accord with the way these had been applied in Passau in earliest forms.
There was little, if any, uniformity in these images, and in Wagner ("Cut and Thrust Weapons", Prague, 1967) the chart of these 'wolf' marks depicts the variation, but misleadingly adds years, suggesting any such chronology existed. It was entirely a matter of the worker applying the mark in nominal form.
Actually, by the time of Shotley Bridge in the latter 17th century, as far as I have known, the running wolf occurring on Solingen blades would have been an anomaly. In my opinion the blades with Shotley Bridge and running animal (looking more like a dog and actually recognizable) were probably finished there, and likely 'blanks' from Solingen.
The later canine figures used by Harvey (and possibly Dawes) in Birmingham seem to be a running fox (note plumed tail) and with Harvey using his initials enclosed. It would seem these were in earlier blades and alluded to the German quality which had been known from Hounslow times and Shotley. Remember that these blades were highly esteemed and still circulating. In later Harvey blades there were various marking with his name and initials but no fox.
The fox may well have recalled Shakespeare who used the term 'fox' to describe a fine sword blade in some of his works, and for a time became a colloquial term (' thou diest at the point of fox').
It seems like there were some blades with Shotley marks which were more of the rapier form with central fuller known on some of the English cup hilts, but I have never heard of a Shotley colichemarde. But then as previously noted, it is really unclear what they actually produced aside from the examples of military backsword or broadsword blades and some hangers.
Maybe somebody out there has seen Shotley marked blades and might post here in addition to those already shown.