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Old 9th February 2018, 06:17 PM   #1
kronckew
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Default Pike? or...

Halberd/Spontoon/???/half pike? Parade Standard or signalling item for a Sgt. or Officer? Not heavy enough for use against armour, but looks adequate for unarmoured use.

This came to live with me today, vendor called it a pike No idea of how old, no markings. I'm guessing 19c.

It's 200cm. overall, spear point has a very flat diamond x-section, is quite sharp. the 10in. spear section is threaded into the socket section with a substantial, about 3/4 in. dia. strong screw section.

The halberd blade section is quite thin, maybe 2-3mm and the axe edge it also very sharp, the hook section is dull on the inside of the curve, but again quite sharp on the outer part, and very sharply pointed. It appears to be one piece fitted thru a slot in the socket and flush riveted transversely top & bottom. It appears to be a bit thicker, possibly shimmed, inside the socket.

There are two 10.5in. languets down the sides of the shaft, which has a slight taper from the butt to the point (no butt cap or spike). It indexes itself axe blade down as the haft is slightly bent.

The steel is has some light spotting and pitting and a few nicks on the edges. The wood haft has been blackened, with a few scrapes revealing a light wood interior, ash maybe?

Any comments appreciated.
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Old 10th February 2018, 12:46 AM   #2
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My first thought from the photo was that it looks like a 20th century Indian replica. On second thought, it also looks like an 18th century British sergeant's halberd.

Some examples:
https://collections.royalarmouries....ject-40107.html
https://collections.royalarmouries....ject-28511.html
https://www.yorkmuseumstrust.org.uk...em/?id=30000704
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Old 10th February 2018, 07:50 AM   #3
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Looks like Timo is right. Thanks for providing the links to the photos Timo! The interesting thing is that these types of halberds have poles which are round in cross section. The Germanic halberds that Iím more familiar with tend to have edged cross section to prevent slipping and twisting in the hands. The languets of the halberd are also designed to fit round cross section poles whereas the Germanic ones typically have flat languets rather than rounded. By the 18thC halberds can be assumed to have largely ceremonial uses so itís interesting that kronckew notes that his halberd blade is sharpened. You would tend not to sharpen purely ceremonial weapons to reduce the possibility of accidents, so the intention of practical use seems to be present with this piece.
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Old 10th February 2018, 10:26 AM   #4
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Was the following the food for Timo's first thought ?...


Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
... spear section is threaded into the socket section with a substantial, about 3/4 in. dia. strong screw section......
The halberd blade section is quite thin, maybe 2-3mm ..... the hook section is dull on the inside of the curve, but again quite sharp on the outer part ..... appears to be one piece fitted thru a slot in the socket ...
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Old 10th February 2018, 05:35 PM   #5
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I note the York museum listing mentions the slotted construction. The axe blade does seem to be slightly distal tapered, tho the hook isn't. It doesn't look like it was cut from rolled sheet, it's forged thin. The screw is hand cut, not machined/ lathe cut, maybe it was dis-mountable for storage/transport? The sharpening could have been a personal preference of one of the previous owners, i gather they were not usually sharpened. The hook is more butterknife sharp, while the axe and spear is dangerously sharp.

https://collections.royalarmouries....rative-591.html

The Royal Armoury ref. indicates the spears were threaded onto the sockets.

A slightly better defined photo of the head: I added the arrows to show the screw joint and the flush rivets on the axe/hook fastening.
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Old 10th February 2018, 06:16 PM   #6
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Another example I found online: Colonial American 1750:
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Old 10th February 2018, 07:42 PM   #7
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You begin to notice already in the 17thC that the halberds get thinner for more ceremonial duty. By 18thC they must be even more so. Thatís why the blade is thin -itís no longer designed to split heads with. In the Victorian age a lot of faux-halberds were produced as decorations for stately homes but these often show elaborate engravings and other decorations. The pictures posted in this thread shows these things were for military use: parades, guard duty, etc. Kronckew also posted a picture of a spontoon which looked perfect as a wild boar spear. I wouldnít be surprised if his halberd has been used in hunts after retiring from itís military career. That would explain why itís sharpened.
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Old 10th February 2018, 08:02 PM   #8
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The cross piece, or even the 'halberd' blade serve to keep the spear from over penetration. A problem that they had with naval boarding pikes that did not have any, tho some had a rather bulbous swelling of the grip wood behind the head for that purpose. I gather that didn't work too well either. One reason they and 19c lances had fairly short points.

I think it was Tacitus that mentioned about the Roman gladius being taught as a stabbing weapon where they for efficiency were taught not to stab more than three inches into the torso as that was sufficient to kill. Too far and you can get stuck. Of course in wild animals, it's to keep the lil' darlin' from pushing up the shaft to kiss you too severely.

The end of the spontoon/halberd's era, they were relegated militarily to ceremonial guarding of the regimental colours, i guess if anyone got that close, you probably have lost already & should have had a revolver too.

Last edited by kronckew : 10th February 2018 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 10th February 2018, 09:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Was the following the food for Timo's first thought ?...


Just the overall appearance. The details of the construction do match what one might see on Indian replicas (but I wouldn't expect the screw), but they match the real thing (i.e., 18th/19th century halberds) better (the screw is expected).
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Old 11th February 2018, 10:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
I note the York museum listing mentions the slotted construction...

Yes indeed. I thought these 'convenient' assemblies were only resourced in later periods, but i see in "Swords and Blades of the American Revolution" that this was often a system used, namely in British sergeant's halberd model dated circa 1740-1780, the same style as shown in the York museum, where the date given as from 1700 comprehends the evolution of three different but related models.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
...The axe blade it's forged thin.

Which may be explained by the fact that these things were not due for violent combat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
...The screw is hand cut, not machined/ lathe cut, maybe it was dis-mountable for storage/transport ? ...

Why not ? Being a comand implement and not a fighting weapon, could be treated as such.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
... The sharpening could have been a personal preference of one of the previous owners, i gather they were not usually sharpened. The hook is more butterknife sharp, while the axe and spear is dangerously sharp....

Yes, Neumann's refers to such sharpening with a tone as being optional; perhaps some owners atempting to use them as actual resource weapons, an all time custom.
The hook section of the example discussed being dull on the inside of the curve and sharp on the outer part, looks like an atyipical fashion ... i guess.
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Old 13th February 2018, 12:46 AM   #11
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Late 18th century sergeant's halberd indeed

Cheers

GC
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Old 13th February 2018, 07:08 AM   #12
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Thanks to all. A lot of interesting additions to my brain's knowledge database.
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