EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
This discussion is going great! and Keith, you have brought up some very good questions on some of the blades which may well have comprised some colichemarde blades as these were often of three edge section. While the blades termed 'colichemarde' had a wide forte and to considerable length near center....the foible was dramatically narrow for speed and thrust.
You asked what marks etc. were to be found on these types of blades, which is indeed important to see if perhaps any were produced at Shotley Bridge.
As has been noted, this type of blade, much favored by duelists, seems to have appeared sometime around third quarter of the 17th c. and given way to the typical three edge (hollow ground) blades for small swords around 1720s, but in the civilian sector.
Military officers continued their favor of these, most of which seem to have produced on the Continent, and have decoration and engraving by various outfitters and furbishers. Often these were jewelers and goldsmiths, as was typically the case with most small swords.
It would be interesting to see if any small sword blades, regardless if colichemarde or other types of blade bore any mark or inscription to Shotley Bridge. As I have mentioned, the Hounslow enterprise seems well represented in many of the reference sources, however in those listing examples, only few have Shotley blades shown. Of those seen, I have not seen any small sword or colichemarde to Shotley mentioned or shown.
It would seem that they should be as a list of Shotley makers from Hoppe (Hooper) and the Oleys through the 18th c. to 1808 is listed in Aylwards
"The Small Sword in England".
Yet, in illustrations and text, no example is shown or described, despite the Oley's noted as proprietors and 'bladesmiths'.
If this was they case, why is no blade marked to any Oley?
To the WOLF/FOX:
In the considerable research I have done on these markings, which concur with Ibrahiim's notes here, I have found that the conundrum of these curious images cannot be conclusively asserted. What does seem clear is that the 'running wolf' (called the Passau wolf for its believed origin) was used in Solingen by the 16th century. These often incredibly stylized (sometimes indiscernible) 'animals' were placed on a single side of the blade and typically chop type marks filled with brass or copper.
These were not standard by any means, as they were placed by workers of varying degree of skill (certainly not artistic) and often resemble the prehistoric cave type figures almost. Thus they could never be assigned to a particular maker, nor even period or any sort of chronology (as Wagner's chart implies). They were simply and arbitrarily placed on a blade as a kind of imbuement of quality.
As the Hounslow operations ensued in the early years of the 17th century, the Solingen makers who went to England undoubtedly used these simple marks, and in the almost stick figure manner a tradition in Germany . Meanwhile many blades there were imported from Germany and fitted to the developing hilts of Hounslow form.
The reputation of the Hounslow blades was well known, and while the operations ceased by 1650s it seems, the blades continued to have long working lives as heirlooms and rehiltings, even well into the 18th c.
With the advent of the Hollow Blade Co and Shotley Bridge in 1685, it seems some of the Hounslow families were involved. Though there is a great degree of doubt on the production of 'hollow blades', there were a number of military type blades and hunting sword or hangers it seems. Some of these indeed have the German wolf (no doubt brought forth by the German members) of the stick type image with Shotley Bridg inscribed.
As noted, no Shotley Bridge blade as far as known ever used the 'fox'.
The Shotley Bridge entity is said to have continued after the collapse of the very dark Hollow Sword Co. but no swords marked with the wolf or Shotley Bridge markings are known beyond the first years of the 18th c.
The wolf as a blade marking had been long gone from Passau, but at this point it seems to be gone from Solingen as well.
By the 1750s, Birmingham was determined to redeem its value as a blade and sword producer, and the maker Samuel Harvey began to use the canine figure once again, certainly recalling the now fabled 'running wolf' character but now with a British twist ....it was a quite discernible running fox with its distinctive plumed tail. He placed his initials SH within.
It was noted however that on occasion, the fox did not have initials (though some had only an H). It now seems that at least one other Birmingham may have used the fox, but no initials.
In a short time, it seems these 'foxes' ceased, and only Harvey's name appeared on the blade in various configurations.