EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Keith, that is excellent....the orientation of the fox in the second image, which surprisingly a 'fox' NOT the running wolf of German character. If this can indeed be proven SHOTLEY, then this would dispel the idea that the fox simile of Birmingham never occurred there.
The other Shotley blades are clearly marked to that place along with the German running wolf.
This hanger with running fox is curiously similar to the Birmingham use of that image, which as I described earlier, in my opinion was quite plausibly a keenly placed simile of the British fox used in the manner of the famed running wolf of Germany.
As I mentioned, in Shakespeare, one instance ( Henry V, Act IV, scene 4; "..thou diest on point of fox". The term was used to describe a well made sword, of course probably Solingen blade rapier.
With Birmingham struggling to regain their market share against the long emplaced German domination, it would seem remarkably clever to use the fox in place of the highly esteemed German running wolf, and in its character.
I came across another case of these markings, surprisingly in an American hanger c. 1755-83, in Neumann p.88, 81.S ("Swords and Blades of the American Revolution", 1973). The blade seems clearly of the German form which also became produced in Birmingham c. 1755. It must be remembered of course that America was at this time a British colony, and though the blade is described as German made......it has the running wolf..but on both sides of blade, and with a star.
Germany, as I mentioned, was not as far as I know using the running wolf this late. Further, it was not on both sides of the blade, only on one, and typically latten (brass) filled.
This example has the same fuller as the Birmingham blades, but has been shortened to about 20" from the usual 27". Obviously it has been rehilted with brass guard and antler hilt in British manner.
While I cannot see the mark, whether fox or wolf, the dual application is atypical, as is the star of some type.
We have seen that makers in Birmingham intended to capitalize on the German use of the wolf, and while Harvey's fox is well known, it seems almost certain that other makers may have used variations of either wolf or fox.
That may account for the blade on Keith's sword, which has the canine figure on both sides, however degenerated or poorly applied on one. Also that use of a star MAY have been applied in tandem with the wolf on some blades made by some yet undiscovered maker there.