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Old 1st October 2008, 07:35 PM   #4
Jim McDougall
Arms Historian
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 8,561

Hi Celtan,
Thank you for noting the source for the identification. I thought I had some reference here in the bookmobile on Swedish arms, but apparantly those books did not 'make the flight'. I do have the handy Wagner 'pocket reference' though! I wasn't aware of Mr. Withers book on world swords, but apparantly he does present good comprehensive reference. I know that he is at present writing a book on Scottish weapons, which I'm looking forward to.

I think the term cutlass is likely misleading in the 19th century, as these sidearms were probably more utility weapons than for combat. This is of course why the heavy shellguards gave way to the open and functional grip, and the quillon terminals are simply vestigial decoration. These were probably used much in the way of the Dutch infantry swords I mentioned, or the 'falchions' used by Austrian sappers in about the mid 19th century. I think the only combat potential for these would have been of course on land, in operations much as Marines, but just a thought without more research.

You're very right on the pleasant experience of finding a 'sleeper' ! This is truly the key benefit of expanding ones knowledge on these weapons, so that you will have the upper hand in those 'Kodak moments' ! I still treasure those of my own experience from years ago, and the exhaustion of trying to keep my composure in not giving myself away in completing the deal....and the explosion of jubilation and relief when it was done!!!

On the curious cleft pommel, any ideas? I'm sure its again either vestigial or decorative, but it would be interesting to hear thoughts or references on this feature.

All best regards, and thanks again for posting this!
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