Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Tyneside. North-East England
I suspect you may be right about the fusion of operators, but I don't believe the lack of a Colichemarde was ever a factor in their decline: I think they could have fabricated a grinding machine without difficulty; there has to be a reason they didn't.
There is another possibility could account for the choice of SB, and that is Thomas Carnforth the Newcastle cutler, who was certainly involved here and there, and to a greater or lesser degree. He was one of the people who testified on Mohll's behalf at his trial.
He wasn't one of the original four businessmen, but Johannes Dell was; along with a chap called John Sandford from Newcastle - who dropped out relatively quickly when the company began to deviate into fiscal areas; I haven't been able to find anything about him.
It may well be that the forge activity at Allensford (Vinting perhaps?) was known to Thomas Carnforth or John Sandford or both; and if Carnforth - who must have been buying Solingen blades - had trade connections with Johannes Dell (who became John Bell: one of the four businessmen starting the company) then that may have been all that was necessary to entice the two Hounslow men (Henkells and Hoppe) up here to team up with John Bell in 1685. Then Bell would return to Solingen to bring the main immigrants over when demand looked promising in 1687.
It may have been as simple as that. Let's face it: back in those days, German immigrants would almost certainly know about each other in a place as small as Newcastle (population in 1600s c.10,000) especially as the local cutler was dealing with them all.
On a separate note:
If they were turning out thousands of blades for the Crown/Government, then London cutlers would have finished them. If they were selling to the Jacobites, then Scotland's cutlers must have been involved. Who was in a position to finish thousands of blades? Trouble is, at best, SB may have stamped the tang, so who today knows where the blades came from?
Ever forwards, it's beginning to take shape I feel. Thanks again Ibrahiim.