Originally Posted by phil.reid
Thanks for the Reply (yes , was getting worried i hadn't received even a " well thats different " reply) Very interesting in regards to the blade marking and does look like a cut-down tulwar
Very helpful and meant to say all parts on this piece including blade and bayonet fitting are stamped'4'( hit $ by mistake)
You are very welcome Phil, and I'm grateful for you posting this fascinating piece! The thing about combination weapons is that they are so esoteric and unusual that few collectors enter into such daunting areas. However, in the 'golden years' of arms collecting one key dealer/collector took on the task of gathering such pieces and wrote the now classic "Firearms Curiosa", by Lewis Winant (1961).
Actually your thoughts on Belgian origin on this were extremely well placed, as the makers in Liege were not only prolific in producing many of the most popularly known arms in most countries, but most innovative as well.
With combination weapons, as mentioned, Elgin contrived his combination gun and cutlass in 1838, but later, in 1869, Louis Dolne of Liege came up with a combination knuckle duster, and 7mm pinfire revolver which was also mounted with a small knife/bayonet.
This odd combination was not particularly lethal, however it was 'impressive' and later popularized in turn of the century Paris by gangs of street toughs known as 'the Apaches'.
The combination of gun and edged weapon was hardly new, as well noted by Ibrahiim in his entry, and for example many 'hunting swords' (hirshfangers) were mounted with pistol actions in earlier centuries. In India, armourers were always coming up with imaginative weapons to impress prospective clients and the patronage of princely figures.
That is what I suspect this intriguing example you have posted may be, and the arms of Liege often became available in India through British forces and diplomatic exchanges along with the volume of other arms.
The '4' numeral is a very curious application, and it seems I have seen it on other arms of the Subcontinent in similar manner. It does not seem to be from a lot or administrative number or production mark, but possibly to do with some symbolic case.