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Old 1st February 2009, 06:47 PM   #1
Norman McCormick
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Default Cut Steel Smallsword

Hi,
This is a recent aquisition, a cut steel smallsword with hollow ground trefoil unmarked 30 3/4 inch blade, tang is peened not threaded. Popular as a gentlemans fashion accessory from the late 18th to early 19th Century and as a Court sword through the 19th and into the 20th Century. Although more for decor than danger this sword with its tri-sided sharp pointed blade is still very much a weapon. As usual many thanks for all and any comments.
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 2nd February 2009, 05:34 AM   #2
Jim McDougall
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Hi Norman,
As near as I can tell so far this would appear to be a cut steel smallsword ,in English style from c.1800-1810. These were fashionable accoutrements of the gentry, and the elaborate beaded motif is consistant with the cut steel forms of these swords, and described somewhat in Aylward ("The Smallsword in England", J.D.Aylward, 1945, p.60). Here the author notes, as these swords degenerated in the sense of effectiveness as combative weapons, in some cases the knuckleguard became a string of beads attached to quillon and pommel. Some of these used thin chains as well.
The urn shaped pommel is stated to be of a popular design devised by the Adams brothers (Durham Yard, St.James, c.1780's, Aylward op.cit. p.38).

In Bashford Dean, "Catalog of European Court Swords and Hunting Swords" (N.Y.1929) #112 has basic similarities in overall style , esp. pommel, and is stated English c.1810. It seems on your example there is faceting on the beads strung in place of knuckleguard, consistant with chiseled steel designs of this period and used heavily in the Boulton & Watt swords.

All best regards,
Jim

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 3rd February 2009 at 03:07 AM.
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Old 2nd February 2009, 06:37 AM   #3
Gavin Nugent
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Default Interesting to note

Nice example Norman, I have had a number of these over the years and I think I still have a few complete hilts around here too.

As Jim has noted they did fall out of favour as a combat weapon, although still a very effective weapon to settle disputes if needed, though more likely a true gentleman would have used a pair of proper duelling swords at the right time and place if the situation warranted it.

It is interesting to note why the high polished and many faceted cut steel hilts. These small swords in particular were worn with ones fine clothes/uniform at important functions/services and as candle light was the light source of the day, these swords acted a the "Bling" of the era, candle light would be captured greatly on these hilts and certainly be visible from the far side of the room and maybe even catch the eye of a lady in waiting...

Gav
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Old 2nd February 2009, 02:23 PM   #4
Jim McDougall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freebooter
Nice example Norman, I have had a number of these over the years and I think I still have a few complete hilts around here too.

As Jim has noted they did fall out of favour as a combat weapon, although still a very effective weapon to settle disputes if needed, though more likely a true gentleman would have used a pair of proper duelling swords at the right time and place if the situation warranted it.

It is interesting to note why the high polished and many faceted cut steel hilts. These small swords in particular were worn with ones fine clothes/uniform at important functions/services and as candle light was the light source of the day, these swords acted a the "Bling" of the era, candle light would be captured greatly on these hilts and certainly be visible from the far side of the room and maybe even catch the eye of a lady in waiting...

Gav




Beautifully described Gav!!

Its amazing how diverse and thorough your collecting scope is, and best of all, your acumen at studying and learning about the weapons in detail.
Nicely done,
All the best,
Jim
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Old 2nd February 2009, 05:17 PM   #5
Norman McCormick
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Hi Jim,
As usual many thanks for your informative and interesting reply.

Hi Gav,
Tell me more about these 'Ladies in Waiting'.

My Regards to you Both,
Norman.
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