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Old 1st August 2019, 04:04 AM   #1
phil.reid
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Default Belgian pepper box with cutlass bayonet, arabic????

Hi Guys ,
Have a old pepperbox which looks european/belgian to me, no maker mark but stamped$ all over including the blade which with the dot pattern on both sides looks abit arabic to me
Any ideas or seen one like it(thinking its a one off not like the elgin cutlass pistol)
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Old 6th August 2019, 09:19 PM   #2
Jim McDougall
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Kinda surprised no response on this.....well, maybe not.
This is of course VERY unusual, and the first thing I think of is the notably unusual Elgin cutlass pistol of 1838.

The Bowie knife had of course become enormously popular after the Alamo (actually before that with Bowie's notoriety) and in 1837 G. Elgin filed a patent for the Bowie knife. Right after that he decided to create the cutlass pistol..which had a .54 cal. boxlock pistol with a Bowie blade attached.

Apparently there were only 150 of these made and a number issued to the US Navy. C.B. Allen of Springfield, Mass. was the primary producer but Morrill, Mossman and Blair were other contractors as well.

These as far as known were never really used but some were taken on a naval expedition.

While this pepperbox may well be Belgian (usually 1840s) this blade seems to have the 'sickle marks' and trimurti dots often seen on Indian blades. These were of course copied from Italian blades of earlier centuries, but widely applied in India on blades in the 19th century, and especially in the north on Afghan arms.
With the Afghan skills in duplicating arms, I would be tempted to suggest this may be a weapon recalling either the Elgin weapon, or toward the Indian penchant for combination weapons.

MOST unusual piece!!!


I do not have my copy of "Firearms Curiosa" by Winant at hand, but if anyone out there has it, perhaps they might have a look to see if there might be some reference.
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Old 7th August 2019, 03:06 AM   #3
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Thanks for the Reply (yes , was getting worried i hadn't received even a " well thats different " reply) Very interesting in regards to the blade marking and does look like a cut-down tulwar
Very helpful and meant to say all parts on this piece including blade and bayonet fitting are stamped'4'( hit $ by mistake)
many thanks
phil
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Old 7th August 2019, 01:02 PM   #4
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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A great subject ~ I looked up a few blade and gun combinations as below and at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pistol_sword

The weapon with the axe is Polish.
The stiletto dagger combination is German
The One with the duck motif is Belgian.

There are some interesting references and one book looked especially inviting I thought..

BLADES AND BARRELS
six centuries of combination weapons
by H. GORDON FROST.
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Old 7th August 2019, 03:50 PM   #5
fernando
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Interesting item indeed, Phil ...
Indeed a piece that falls into the 'usual unusual' items. Meaning that here and there, composites of this kind pop up, regardless of their non massive proliferation. Take French Dumonthier, who used to come in the market with variations on knife pistols, some embellished to a high end grade. Also we can see examples as sophisticated as the barrel and blade being made in one only piece.
Thinking of Jim's suggestion for this possibly been a setup made in Afghanistan, due to their duplication ability, i notice technical details that would never cross my mind would be object of their 'skilled' smiths attention, namely the Liege type engraving on the cylinder, the way screws are inset on the stock and the preoccupation to stamp an assembly number (#4) in all parts.
Also interesting that we can see out there (in a blog) a rusted example similar (equal) to the one posted, said to be found in a remote land, under the skeleton of a pirate. Go figure !

PS
Oh, i didn't see that Jim meanwhile came in with further considerations!


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Old 7th August 2019, 04:41 PM   #6
Richard G
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The old East India Company mark was a "4" surmounting a heart. This could explain in being adopted by local manufactures as a mark of "quality" in some instances.
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Old 7th August 2019, 03:19 PM   #7
Jim McDougall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phil.reid
Thanks for the Reply (yes , was getting worried i hadn't received even a " well thats different " reply) Very interesting in regards to the blade marking and does look like a cut-down tulwar
Very helpful and meant to say all parts on this piece including blade and bayonet fitting are stamped'4'( hit $ by mistake)
many thanks
phil



You are very welcome Phil, and I'm grateful for you posting this fascinating piece! The thing about combination weapons is that they are so esoteric and unusual that few collectors enter into such daunting areas. However, in the 'golden years' of arms collecting one key dealer/collector took on the task of gathering such pieces and wrote the now classic "Firearms Curiosa", by Lewis Winant (1961).

Actually your thoughts on Belgian origin on this were extremely well placed, as the makers in Liege were not only prolific in producing many of the most popularly known arms in most countries, but most innovative as well.
With combination weapons, as mentioned, Elgin contrived his combination gun and cutlass in 1838, but later, in 1869, Louis Dolne of Liege came up with a combination knuckle duster, and 7mm pinfire revolver which was also mounted with a small knife/bayonet.

This odd combination was not particularly lethal, however it was 'impressive' and later popularized in turn of the century Paris by gangs of street toughs known as 'the Apaches'.

The combination of gun and edged weapon was hardly new, as well noted by Ibrahiim in his entry, and for example many 'hunting swords' (hirshfangers) were mounted with pistol actions in earlier centuries. In India, armourers were always coming up with imaginative weapons to impress prospective clients and the patronage of princely figures.

That is what I suspect this intriguing example you have posted may be, and the arms of Liege often became available in India through British forces and diplomatic exchanges along with the volume of other arms.

The '4' numeral is a very curious application, and it seems I have seen it on other arms of the Subcontinent in similar manner. It does not seem to be from a lot or administrative number or production mark, but possibly to do with some symbolic case.
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