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Old 7th April 2019, 10:18 PM   #1
asomotif
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Default MARKINGS ON A LANCE HEAD 1868 PATTERN

Today I bought this lance head in pretty rusty condition.
The seller thought it was from India and pre 1900, but he obviously did not know this stuff and did not see the markings :-)

cleary it is stamped "1930" and "5" (may 1930 ?)

But from which country / which producer. any suggestions ?

Best regards,
Willem
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Old 8th April 2019, 12:53 AM   #2
Jim McDougall
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There is no reason to think that 1930 is not a year, and while this is indeed a M1868 British head and shoe, these were actually superceded by an 1894 pattern which were different. However with India stores, the usual govt. stamps etc. were often not present with private contractors.

The stave on these was male bamboo approx. 12 ft. 5/8" but with difficulties in standardizing due to shortages in supply they actually made 7 head sizes and 4 shoe sizes.

While the lance was officially abolished in British service in 1927, they remained in use in India for many years later, even as parade items. I had the opportunity to visit Brig. Francis Ingall, the "Last of the Bengal Lancers" (his autobiography) where he told me of his charge of the 6th lancers near the Khyber in 1931.

"The British Lance", J.D. Chown, 'Canadian Journal of Arms Collecting", Vol.7, #3, Jan. 1974.
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Old 8th April 2019, 05:28 PM   #3
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Hello Jim,

Thank you for the information.

So this one is an Indian manufacture ?

I found other threads and websites mentioning 9 foot as the standard length.
You mention 12 foot. Was this the length used in India ?

Ps. male bamboo ? As in male vs. female ?

What do you think, should I clean it / remove the rust ?

Best regards,
Willem

Last edited by asomotif : 8th April 2019 at 05:48 PM.
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Old 8th April 2019, 05:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
Hello Jim,

Thank you for the information.

So this one is an Indian manufacture ?

I found other threads and websites mentioning 9 foot as the standard length.
You mention 12 foot. Was this the length used in India ?

What do you think, should I clean it / remove the rust ?

Best regards,
Willem


You bet Willem!
It most likely is of British/Indian manufacture. During the Raj, there were numbers of armorers in various depots where such materials were produced. There was a period of time where 12 and even 15 ft. staffs were used, but these were found unmanageable and the 9 ft. was implemented. The absence of the usual acceptance stamps and markings suggest this as well.

I recall getting a pair of these back 'in the day' and driving 60 miles to the LAX airport to get them (air freight from London). In my excitement I neglected to consider that I was driving a Corvette!! Duh!
I took off the T-tops and thank heavens they were only 9 ft.!!!!
In the 'charge of the green corvette' down the 405 freeway with red and white pennons flying....the Highway Patrol, aghast, of course dampened my panache' ...but let me continue home.
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Old 8th April 2019, 06:04 PM   #5
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The lance butt appears different in profile than the British made ones that have a longer pointed tip. The ring around the butt might be made of two parts on yours?
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Old 8th April 2019, 06:30 PM   #6
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Here is an RCD marked lance butt and holder. Marked A/RCD/34/F/28
The tip has an inspection mark and Enfield mark.
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Old 8th April 2019, 07:42 PM   #7
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'Male Bamboo' is actually a non-hollow slow growing sub-species of Dendrocalamus strictus, andwas much prized for lance and spear shafts in it's range. You can buy seeds online, but they do not grow well in the UK or similar climates.
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Old 8th April 2019, 09:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will M
The lance butt appears different in profile than the British made ones that have a longer pointed tip. The ring around the butt might be made of two parts on yours?


The ring looks like it is made of one part. Maybe cleaning it would reveal somthing else, but in the present condition the ring looks like 1 part.
The butt as a whole is made of a tappered butt part with indeed a loose ring.
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Old 8th April 2019, 09:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
'Male Bamboo' is actually a non-hollow slow growing sub-species of Dendrocalamus strictus, andwas much prized for lance and spear shafts in it's range. You can buy seeds online, but they do not grow well in the UK or similar climates.


Growing my own shaft is not an option I see. :-)
Considering I will not use the lance , (frequently ) I think I will go and look for a normal bamboo shaft.
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Old 8th April 2019, 09:59 PM   #10
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The type of bamboo for lances is "male bamboo" or "Calcutta bamboo".
This type is solid and not hollow and very stiff. The lance heads are numbered for size since bamboo does not grow to one size only.
I've read somewhere (can't recall) that sourcing this bamboo was not always easy to obtain for lances.
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Old 8th April 2019, 11:06 PM   #11
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But from which country / which producer. any suggestions ?

Best regards,
Willem


Hi Willem, It is looking like India, they used the P/1868 &, comparing it with my two 1915 Enfield made P/1868 lances, if it were English made I think the markings would be different & the boot more pointed. Also it has an Indian (?) numeral engraved on it in one photo.

In another photo I can see that you have a unit marking ??L C 35 by the look of it, this should represent ?????? ?????? Lancers C troop, No. 35.
Can you please post a crystal clear photo of this marking?

As others have noted, male bamboo is solid. The approved P/1868 Lance is 9 foot exactly overall, which includes the head of 12 5/8 inches & boot of 6 13/16 inches.
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Old 8th April 2019, 11:34 PM   #12
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Old 10th April 2019, 08:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will M
The type of bamboo for lances is "male bamboo" or "Calcutta bamboo".
This type is solid and not hollow and very stiff. The lance heads are numbered for size since bamboo does not grow to one size only.
I've read somewhere (can't recall) that sourcing this bamboo was not always easy to obtain for lances.




In my post #2 I noted the 1974 article which mentioned the varying range of bamboo sizes, so they made 7 head sizes and 4 base or boot sizes.
This may have also been in the 1938 book "Sword, Lance and Bayonet", by Ffoulkes.
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Old 10th April 2019, 09:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
Growing my own shaft is not an option I see. :-)
Considering I will not use the lance , (frequently ) I think I will go and look for a normal bamboo shaft.


Europeans used Ash for spears, pikes and lances for millennia. with some artistic skill, you could probably make it look bambooish via staining, at least from a distance, I'm surprised eBay or Amazon do not carry male bamboo for lances.

Anyway, I found a source for y'all who want to be authentic: http://www.calcuttabamboopole.com/poles.html

Minimum order 3000 pieces, If your cavalry is more numerous, there is a max of 30000 pieces.

Apparently still used for fishing poles and fencing in India. Maybe available in smaller quantities elsewhere, I leave it to you to do the more extensive googling as I do not need any.

Last edited by kronckew : 10th April 2019 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 10th April 2019, 09:49 PM   #15
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Wow, this thread is fun. If only for all the info and links.

Male bamboo from India. I will contact them to see if they have a representative or importer in Europe.

I already found that ash poles of upto 12 ft can be found rather easily.

Best regards,
Willem
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Old 10th April 2019, 09:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adrian
But from which country / which producer. any suggestions ?

Best regards,
Willem


Hi Willem, It is looking like India, they used the P/1868 &, comparing it with my two 1915 Enfield made P/1868 lances, if it were English made I think the markings would be different & the boot more pointed. Also it has an Indian (?) numeral engraved on it in one photo.

In another photo I can see that you have a unit marking ??L C 35 by the look of it, this should represent ?????? ?????? Lancers C troop, No. 35.
Can you please post a crystal clear photo of this marking?

As others have noted, male bamboo is solid. The approved P/1868 Lance is 9 foot exactly overall, which includes the head of 12 5/8 inches & boot of 6 13/16 inches.


Here is the enlargement of the marking.

As this is not a priceless relic, I think I will clean it and see if it reveals more details. Any objections to cleaning it ?
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Old 10th April 2019, 11:52 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
Here is the enlargement of the marking.

As this is not a priceless relic, I think I will clean it and see if it reveals more details. Any objections to cleaning it ?



For me personally, as a historian more than collector, I love patination and dislike burnished metal. My old warriors are darkly patinated and only cleaning with WD40 to stabilize any active corrosion. Cleaning heavily often removes markings in my view. Matter of choice.
The lances I had were with ash shafts, but the others (WWI) period were male bamboo. One had blue and yellow pennon (3rd Skinners Horse).

I had others about 7-8 ft. with bamboo, and these had large lead bulbs at the base I think....these were tent pegging lances, a popular pastime with native cavalry in India.

The WWI lances were I think from the units used in Mesopotamia and other regions. One was Patiala Lancers.
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Old 11th April 2019, 02:56 AM   #18
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I agree with Jim, leave as is and just stabilize any active rust. The lance head appears to have been cleaned with some type of acid, probably very corroded previously by the appearance of the pitting. Cleaning further will alter or make the markings indecipherable.
Actually lances are not that common and finding the metal parts are difficult, partly due to their length and the ability to post them. Rarely do you find a matching butt for a lance head. India recycled metal and lance parts were no exception.
A proper length ash pole would really make a good lance. White buff leather can be sourced for the strapping. This leather can be sourced from the UK, a cut belt piece should do it.
https://www.identityleathercraft.co...elt-blanks.html
Best to contact the Identity Store for white buff leather they have pieces large and small and belt length
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Old 12th April 2019, 10:40 AM   #19
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Here is the enlargement of the marking.

Sorry I can't tell what unit that may be. Lancers almost certainly, but not sure who.
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Old 12th April 2019, 11:04 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adrian
Here is the enlargement of the marking.

Sorry I can't tell what unit that may be. Lancers almost certainly, but not sure who.

Could you not upload the picture, Adrian ?
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Old 12th April 2019, 09:32 PM   #21
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I think Adrian is referring to my enlargement of post #16

Best regards,
Willem
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Old 13th April 2019, 07:34 AM   #22
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Yes ... of course !
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