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Old 25th January 2009, 09:31 PM   #1
William V.
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Default Fencing foil 19th century forge identification needed

Hello everybody.

Does anyone know which forge marked it's blades

"L * Fres" ?

As far as I found out "Fres" is an abbreviation for "Freres" (french for: Brothers). But the other part of the marking is a mystery.
The pictures attached are taken of an actual ebay auction, but due to the fact that I have a similar weapon, I'm personally interested

Any ideas?

P.S.: The weapon offered has a figure-of-eigth guard, mine has a normal disc.
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Old 25th January 2009, 10:33 PM   #2
Atlantia
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When I fenced all the foils (and Sabres and Epees) were By the French maker Leon Paul, with an occasional Wilkinson. And they were some of them early 20thC

I've seen these figure 8 types and they do seem to be right back to the first half 19thC which is nice.

Can you post some pics of yours?
Does it have the exact same stamps on the blade?
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Old 26th January 2009, 02:56 AM   #3
katana
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Hi William

Are you sure its not L*F ... and then seperately ...RES.. the type face and size is different.

Could L*F mean the hilt is Left handed French

Regards David
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Old 26th January 2009, 12:30 PM   #4
William V.
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It's nice to see that there are still some enthusiasts out there

@Atlantia:
The figure-of-eight guard was used well into the 20. century (AFAIK they were tournament legal in the US until 1956, even though nobody used them at that time any more).
I'm unable to post pictures of my weapon, sorry. But the markings are generally the same. Mine is missing the Siegel-Cooper marking. But this is self-explanatory, because my weapon was not imported into the US, therefore needed no retailer. The "L" is missing on my weapon, because the marking is not very clear.

@ katana
Nice to "see" you again
I don't think so, because:
a) the weapon is right handed
b) look at the picture
c) I've never heard about markings which indicate for what type weapon the blade should be used. Generally the french blade can be used in a pistol grip whitout much conversion. The italian blade only fits italian handles and the french blade could be used under special circumstances on an italian weapon as well. There would be no need to mark it this way.

But I must admit: Clever guess. I've never thought about that.
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Old 27th January 2009, 07:13 PM   #5
Jim McDougall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katana
Hi William

Are you sure its not L*F ... and then seperately ...RES.. the type face and size is different.

Could L*F mean the hilt is Left handed French

Regards David





There you go again David! I cannot say enough how much I really admire that thinking cap of yours!! I agree with William, very innovative guess .

In discussions I have had with some individuals who are quite well versed in fencing antiques, it has been noted that there is very little, if any, actual published material on makers and outfitters that would catalog markings and thier names. Most organized fencing was, from what I understand, a 19th century to present ,activity, then sport.

Where markings, names and stamps of manufacturers are not found in the usual compilations, such as Walther, Bezdek, Gyngell and others, then it may be that commercial listings and registers might have information. These are complex in trying to work through, and often not easily accessible.

It has been suggested that the primary reference source for such focused detail is typically auction or sale catalogs. I do know that certain auction houses used to feature categorized groupings that actually noted fencing items, not sure if they still do..Wallis & Wallis was one.

While this doesnt really help with this case, I just thought it might offer some general perspective on researching fencing items, which I think is a most fascinating, and relatively untapped field of weapons study.

I'm always grateful for the contributions William always places here, and for the insight on this esoteric topic he shares.

All best regards,
Jim
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Old 27th January 2009, 07:38 PM   #6
Matchlock
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katana
Hi William

Are you sure its not L*F ... and then seperately ...RES.. the type face and size is different.

Could L*F mean the hilt is Left handed French

Regards David



Hi David,

Left handed means main gauche in French.

Michael
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Old 27th January 2009, 08:59 PM   #7
katana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
Hi David,

Left handed means main gauche in French.

Michael



Merci vraiment Michel

As the blade is marked 'France' it is very likely this was made to order/export to an English speaking country.

Kind Regards David
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Old 29th January 2009, 01:03 PM   #8
William V.
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Sorry for the long silence, but I had other business to attend to, we do have a job after all don't we

Thanks Jim for your fine words.... "esoteric", tsk
But you are right, there is little written on this topic. Unfortunately I just have Lhoste/Buigne to get information from. They have "Talabot freres" listed, where the freres is also written with a capital "F" and smaller "res". Does anyone have a chance to check the other "big books" on markings?
Perhaps there is a solution to this riddle after all.

All the best

William
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Old 29th January 2009, 06:22 PM   #9
Jim McDougall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William V.
Sorry for the long silence, but I had other business to attend to, we do have a job after all don't we

Thanks Jim for your fine words.... "esoteric", tsk
But you are right, there is little written on this topic. Unfortunately I just have Lhoste/Buigne to get information from. They have "Talabot freres" listed, where the freres is also written with a capital "F" and smaller "res". Does anyone have a chance to check the other "big books" on markings?
Perhaps there is a solution to this riddle after all.

All the best

William



Hi William, LOL! Oh yeah....job....I remember that!
Right now I'm in a little town in the middle of a forest in southern Texas, where the nearest store has items stocked in numbers you can count on one hand.....its freezing..and we've been chopping wood for fires...all I need is a coonskin hat (and we are near Davy Crockett Natl Forest...so I guess thats work.
None of the 'big' books Ive got here in the bookmobile has those references and if its not in Lhoste & Buigne....hmm.
Sure do wish auction catalogs of past auctions were online!

We'll keep looking,
All the best,
Jim
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