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Old 13th July 2019, 06:51 PM   #1
Bob A
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Default US-marked halberd

Seen at last night's MACA (Maryland Arms Collectors Assn) meeting, within a presentation about naval boarding pikes, was a halberd, consisting of a convex blade, backed by a curved spike, and topped with a 4-sided straight spike. Toward the base end of the top spike was the distinct US stamp.

According to the presenter, these were inventoried in 1797, though presumably never issued. (However, the shaft was broken off below the metal structure, which seemed to argue against usage).

Sadly, I never thought to take a picture.

I thought its existence might be of interest to some here.
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Old 13th July 2019, 07:12 PM   #2
CutlassCollector
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That sounds interesting and unusual. Something like this perhaps - it is possibly Spanish.
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Old 13th July 2019, 07:13 PM   #3
kronckew
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British colour sergeants carried halberds until the end of the 18c. I suspect their were american versions as well.

Mine:
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Old 13th July 2019, 09:19 PM   #4
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Those illustrated above capture the idea, but not the actuality.

The one I saw had no elegance, nor any attempt to beautify. It was of a piece with the boarding pikes: one-piece, with the socket sides extended on either side of the haft, riveted onto the shaft. I don't think that it was forged as one piece, but there was no attempt to created a joint between the various protrusions. It was obviously a tool, rather than a parade piece, and was produced, as were the pikes, by blacksmiths whose mandate was to crank out functional weaponry on a budget. Of course, forge time=money.

As mentioned, they were recorded into inventory in 1797, but were presumably made earlier. The "US" stamping would provide a lower date, but I'm not knowledgeable enough to know when that marking was first used.

The presenter indicated that there would be more forthcoming: boarding axes and cutlasses will be discussed in future. I'll provide photos going forward.
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Old 14th July 2019, 01:16 AM   #5
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This kind of socket? I think this piece is American.
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Old 14th July 2019, 04:41 AM   #6
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Yes, looks right. The tines extend down the shaft, covering about half the shaft on opposing sides.

The pikes that were displayed had no crossbars, however, as they would get tangled in the rope netting when the pikes were thrust through the nets into the opposing forces.

Another point that was made by the presenter was the evolution of tip design; earlier examples had leaf-shaped blades, which gradually transitioned to mere points, usually 4-sided. His explanation was again based on the time needed to forge the tips, and the cost of the increased labor per unit. A leaf form would take rather longer to produce, yet offered little more utility in terms of anti-personnel effects. Also a simple point would be more readily extracted from the opposing sailor, and thus more readily used to puncture the next one.
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