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Old 13th April 2018, 06:56 PM   #1
MacCathain
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Default Short sword for ID

I found what I originally thought was an old hunting sword and was drawn to it because of the attractive hilt and evidence of some etching on the blade.

The hilt is brass and the grip is wound with braided heavy gauge brass wire. The pommel is faceted and the cross guard incorporates a solid concave disc that projects 90 degrees from the guard. The blade measures 22.5 inches/57.15 cm in length and 1.5 inches/3.81 cm in width at the ricasso. Overall, the sword is 28 inches/71.12 cm long. The blade is single-edged, except for the last 6 inches/15.24 cm, which is double-edged. The blade is very robust.

Both sides of the blade are etched with four letters -- either WLZH or WLZM -- in panel that incorporate some floral embellishments. The last letter looks like a capital H, but the cross stroke is an inverted arrowhead, so maybe it is supposed to depict a capital M. Which is letter is right, I can't say.

Though the etching has been worn away in different areas on each side, I used the visible portions from both sides to draw what the etching would have looked like whole (see sketch). The etcher placed a diamond-shaped motif on both sides of each letter, like this: <> W <> L <>Z <> H <> I think these diamond shapes serve the purpose of periods in a set of initials. The style of the letterforms makes me think late 1700s or early 1800s, but I am by no means well-informed on that topic.

There are the remains of a design or letters etched on the ricasso, but virtually all of it has worn away and it is illegible.

I recall having read that the guard positioned perpendicular to the hilt was characteristic of early hunting swords and that, over time, fashion morphed the "90 degree" guard into the downward angled clamshell guard we see on 18/19th century hirschfangers. I have since solicited the thoughts of folks who dabble in hunting swords and hirschfangers, but the consensus seems to be it isn't an example of either.

I'm hoping some of you friendly forumites might share your thoughts on the origins and use of this weapon. Thanks in advance.
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Old 14th April 2018, 10:49 AM   #2
fernando
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Hello MacCathain,
Let me be the first to comment on your sword, as others with fair knowledge will come after to correct my nonsense.
Concerning age, i would go for 18th. century. As for the guard, i would say it has a hunting sword (hirschfanger) attitude, grip profile concave disc and all. However the blade is beyond my bet; dare i guess it once belonged in another sword ? .
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Old 14th April 2018, 01:47 PM   #3
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It's a German piece. "<> W <> L <>Z <> H <>" stands for "Wilhelm Landgraf zu Hessen", who was either Wilhelm VIII. (1751-1760) or Wilhelm IX. (1785-1806). His capital was Kassel.
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Old 14th April 2018, 02:36 PM   #4
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Good shot corrado .
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Old 14th April 2018, 02:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
... However the blade is beyond my bet; dare i guess it once belonged in another sword ? .

On a second thought, straight blades are also seen in hunting swords.
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Old 14th April 2018, 08:04 PM   #6
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Thank you Corrado26 and Fernando for your help. It's great to have a point of departure for future research.
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Old 20th April 2018, 07:36 AM   #7
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The blade is reminiscent of a Baker Rifle bayonet ... same length too
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Old 20th April 2018, 01:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
... However the blade is beyond my bet; dare i guess it once belonged in another sword ?...

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinreadline
The blade is reminiscent of a Baker Rifle bayonet ... same length too

Ah !!!
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Old 21st April 2018, 02:13 AM   #9
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That's a very interesting observation, Thin.

What is the width of the blade at the ricasso, and across the spine of the blade at the same point?
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Old 22nd April 2018, 10:31 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacCathain
... What is the width of the blade at the ricasso, and across the spine of the blade at the same point?

Look HERE

... And HERE.
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Old 25th April 2018, 05:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacCathain
That's a very interesting observation, Thin.

What is the width of the blade at the ricasso, and across the spine of the blade at the same point?


On the one pictured it is 30mm wide at the ricasso and 9mm across the spine at this point .
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Old 25th April 2018, 11:50 PM   #12
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Thanks for that, Thin, and for the links that you provided, Fernando.

The Hessian is 39mm wide at the ricasso and 10mm across the spine, so a good bit broader but about the same thickness.

I've read that the Baker rifle derived from German Jaeger rifles, so perhaps the DNA of the Baker bayonet has some hirschfanger genes.
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Old 26th April 2018, 06:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacCathain
Thanks for that, Thin, and for the links that you provided, Fernando.

The Hessian is 39mm wide at the ricasso and 10mm across the spine, so a good bit broader but about the same thickness.

I've read that the Baker rifle derived from German Jaeger rifles, so perhaps the DNA of the Baker bayonet has some hirschfanger genes.


Yes I think you may be right there .
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