EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Keith , I'm glad you are contacting the RA as I would really like to hear their explanation on this one. I think you're right, there is no way they could have put out significant volume of blades and stamping or engraving all of them.
As it is, it seems only a select number of blades were so marked, and as you point out, could they have been already forged and stamped in Solingen prior to export?
In the top sword in #75, this is a Walloon type sword as thought to have been from Shotley Bridge in latter years of 17th c.
The 'wolf' seems in the proper orientation in the blade center, and the somewhat irregularly stamped letters for Shotley Bridg placed as they arrived in Newcastle. It seems that the running wolf in Solingen was always upside down, and typically in latten (brass filled) .
The second sword looks to be a hanger of mid 18th c. which of course aligns with the Birmingham works and Samuel Harvey's use of the fox. While this rendering looks atypical to the other known examples of Harvey's, it is known Dawes (perhaps others) might have also applied fox marks.
If this example could be irrefutably provenanced to Shotley Bridge it would be monumental as in my view, the fox was used by Birmingham to in effect mimic the German running wolf, in the 1750s. So why would German smiths in Shotley use a fox on a hanger blade? and when they were presumably fashioning blades for small swords? In fact, it is a puzzle why the only reference found to Shotley sword cutlers is in Aylward (1945) in the list he shows which transcends 18th c. to 1808, with about 10 names.
Possibly more will be found in Southwick, or Annis & May, both volumes listing sword makers, but cant get to my copies for a month.