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Old 25th September 2020, 04:25 PM   #1
Jim McDougall
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Default The lowly (?) briquet, a story of resolution

I recently relocated a sword that was one of the very first I ever bought, I believe around 1966 at a swap meet in a drive in theater in California.
Young and very wide eyed, this simple 'cutlass' looking sword, heavy and solid to me just must have been a 'pirate' sword.

As years went on, and my obsession increased, I learned that this was actually a well known type of hanger used in the British army in the artillery in the late 18th c. into the 19th. However, it seems to have been a common munitions grade form that was represented in virtually all European armies and all virtually the same with the characteristic cast brass ribbed hilt with short hanger blades of varying length.

Apparently these 'briquets' were in use with the French in mid 18th century in infantry (the term 'briquet appears to be French meaning 'light' earlier describing 'light saber').They were well known in Napoleons army as the ANIX, ANXI, and ANXIII for model years from 1800+

British suppliers apparently saw these as useful for artillery gunners and began producing copies probably in 1790s. While not necessarily good as a combat weapon, they were handy in a utility sense for chopping wood (emplacement construction etc.) though could of course serve as weapon if overrrun.

The thing with these weapons is that they are so common and alike, unless there are distinct markings, it is difficult to identify them by country.
On mine, there were only the initials PS in a cartouche on the hilt.
I tried unsuccessfully to find matching initials in British sword makers etc, but in those days, aside from a few references, there were no clues as to who PS might be.

I assumed many possibilities, including possibly Spanish colonial, but no really convincing solutions. At one point however, I saw some detail on silversmiths and thought, this PS sort of does look like a hallmark. I tried reaching antique dealers handing silver items but most seemed appalled that Paul Storr, one of the most celebrated British precious metals artists, could have produced this 'common' weapon.
This left it 'case closed, unresolved', for decades.

Enter the late Richard Bezdek, with his "Swords and Sword Makers of England and Scotland" (2003) on p. 158........there it was,
PAUL STORR.

Apparently he was not only a goldsmith and silversmith, but a hilt maker and sword cutler, as was indeed often the case in these days as I have learned.
It is noted he apprenticed in 1784-91 under William Rock in London.

In 1792, he entered his first mark: PS !!!
He apparently retained this mark throughout his career, and became famed for his neo classical style in the Regency period. He produced items for King George III, and George IV of England.

It does compellingly appear that this 'lowly' hanger, bought for just a few dollars decades ago in a most unseemly place, has notably historic origins, and while 'just an old artillery hanger' was produced in the workshop of a soon to be famous artisan.

Such is the adventure and joy of being an arms historian, and listening to the stories told by these 'old warriors' as the weapons tell us who they really are.
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Old 25th September 2020, 09:49 PM   #2
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Great tale, Jim. It is surprising what turns up on some of the "ordinary" old pieces we have had lying around for years. I'm often surprised by unfamiliar marks and little features on ethnographic pieces I've had for years that indicate they are older than thought or "interesting" in other ways. We are always learning something new if we look hard enough and long enough. One of the few benefits of getting old(er).
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Old 25th September 2020, 10:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Great tale, Jim. It is surprising what turns up on some of the "ordinary" old pieces we have had lying around for years. I'm often surprised by unfamiliar marks and little features on ethnographic pieces I've had for years that indicate they are older than thought or "interesting" in other ways. We are always learning something new if we look hard enough and long enough. One of the few benefits of getting old(er).



Thank you so much Ian! indeed we ARE getting older, and it is rewarding to be able to finally, after a lifetime of study, be able to reveal the legacy of these old warriors, who now have become part of mine.
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Old 26th September 2020, 02:02 PM   #4
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Great story, thank you for sharing.
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Old 26th September 2020, 02:54 PM   #5
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If i may Jim, some notes on the briquet, both on the "generic" thing as also on your example.
Generic as, this having been produced, and reproduced, in massive numbers among many countries, and also to its affordable price in the market, make it a 'must' in collection beginners.
Concerning your example, i wonder whether PAUL STORR decided to implement his personal touch in the hilt design, by omitting its quillon 'button', or was it that this was cut off during this specific example's life.
Also in addition some notes on this sabre history, some repetitive, in the eyes of the Frenchies, in principle the originators of the so famous briquet ... with the duly translation flaws.

" The grenadier sabers of the old regime were considered more and more cumbersome, it is to remedy this that in 1765 a new model of regulatory saber was introduced, with a shorter blade, reduced to 59.5 cm, the saber d infantry model 1767.
He was immediately given the nickname of "saber lighter" by the cavalry. The word "lighter" in the 17th century first meant "knife" or "penknife", mainly and also: "a small break in iron". To this origin is added "gear": a small kind of sword, a type of dagger, which has also become in dialects: "shoe nail". Its name therefore takes on a somewhat mocking, even haughty, connotation; or even gently affectionate: her small size and the shape of her guard are indeed reminiscent of the lighters used by soldiers in the field to light fires. Then, in 1806, this designation became official.
From 1767, the saber lighter equipped grenadiers, but also non-commissioned officers, corporals, soldiers of elite troops, drummers and musicians, fourriers, and later the Consular Guard then Imperial. The artillerymen also carry the saber lighter, which they most often use to prune the vegetation when they put their pieces in battery. Although it is mainly used for practical and utilitarian purposes rather than warfare, it is an effective weapon, whose point blows are dangerous and whose size blows can cause serious injuries. However, its mass and its size, in view of its usefulness on the battlefield made its tactical justification questionable, to such an extent that in 1806, the Emperor Napoleon 1st promulgated a decree eliminating the wearing of the lighter (which will never be applied), before going back on his decision in 1811.
The lighter saber was used until 1831 by the infantry, when the new model 18311 sword was adopted.
The saber is still (2018) under the name M / 1854 used by the Danish Royal Guard, which has 544 of these sabers in total. They are all German spoils from Waterloo, and later Danish spoils after the 1848-50 war between Denmark and Germany. The saber is worn by grenadiers and non-commissioned officers guarding the Queen and the royal palaces, notably Amalienborg and Fredensborg".

.
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Old 26th September 2020, 03:13 PM   #6
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Fernando, thank you so much for the outstanding material on the background of these interesting weapons. It is always interesting to learn more on just how much history resides in a weapon, regardless of its perceived commonality.
With the quillon button, I am certainly no forensics analyst as far as the structural aspects of this sword's hilt, but it has always appeared that the quillon was broken off.
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Old 27th September 2020, 11:38 PM   #7
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Default Amazing back story!!

Wow, Jim! That is an incredible unfolding story on your briquet! It is always extremely satisfying when one can pin down an origin, maker, time period or battle-used item so succinctly! Glad you saved this item all those years to finally illuminate those that collect these sword types. I am also fascinated how the tradesmen and guilds often cross-trained and made multiple items to sell in their shops. I'm reminded of Paul Revere, noted American Revolutionary War hero, silver-smith and cannon maker! So glad you were able to pin down the initials. I'm still trying to find an American pewter smith's initials unsuccessfully, having gone through many books, catalogs, auction sites, etc.

Fernando, thank you for adding the informative history (along with Jim) on the briquets. It can be noted that many of the early pattern French naval hangers of the late-18th century had a very similar pattern of plain brass hilt with single integral knuckle bow, short curved chopping blades, grooved grips, etc (Gilkerson's book has examples listed). Not to be confused with it's maritime cousin, the briquet was strictly an infantry-type sword (to confuse matters more, I have even seen infantry types with a very tiny anchor stamp, leading some collectors to believe naval, but I assume the mark is just the smith's own stamp). A very enjoyable read!
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Old 28th September 2020, 10:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
... Not to be confused with it's maritime cousin, the briquet was strictly an infantry-type sword (to confuse matters more, I have even seen infantry types with a very tiny anchor stamp, leading some collectors to believe naval, but I assume the mark is just the smith's own stamp)...

Certainly not, Captain; you can bet your money on the existence of a briquet for the Navy ... and you will win .
Besides a zillion French websites announcing Briquets with the anchor (hilt and even scabbard mouth) as being Navy connected, we may read more reliable sources assuming that there was a Navy version ... whether Navy artillery, Coast guard, you name it.

.

( from French Wiki)

Saber lighter model of the year IX
After the revolution, a new version of this weapon will be produced: that of the Year IX.

blade length: 59.5 to 62 cm
arrow: 1.12 to 2.6 cm
heel width: 3.38 to 3.5 cm
blade type: flat
frame: cast brass, monobloc
splines: 36
scabbard: in black leather, with two brass fittings, yoke with trigger guard
A slightly modified version is also created for the Navy.


(From the French Nvy Museum)

The museum's collections did not yet include a graded gunner's saber: only two soldier gunner's sabers of the 1772 and 1784 models were in inventory.
From 1792, the model of saber acquired by the museum now distinguishes the rank gunners. However, it was supplied in its time only to the 160 sergeants of the 1st Marine Artillery Regiment, which made it extremely rare from the outset. This specimen is the only certified witness to date of this ephemeral formation: this regiment was indeed created by decree of June 14, 1792 and abolished on January 28, 1794.
It is about a saber-lighter (Briquet) of the troops of the Navy designed on the model of the saber-lighter of infantry of 1782. The production of this weapon, identified by the punch to the rooster, is original: in order to provide for the needs from the war, from 1792, multiple iron workshops, in Paris and in the provinces, were converted into makeshift workshops for the production of weapons. They were named Republican Workshops.

(Imagine such conversation in a Native venue)

...What could you tell me about this lighter saber, which has the particularity of having punches representing a marine anchor? ...

... if there is none ... or as a simple manufacturing variant, your Mle is a colo infantry lighter from the completely regular restoration period.
a pity that the scabbard didn't have an anchor too ... see even 2 since mine, whose chappe was punched on both sides, found a little brother here a short time ago ...

...Model 1816 lighter of private manufacture, obviously for a government order with a punch that I presume to be that of an artillery controller. ...
...The anchor is the Navy's reception hallmark, but I cannot comment on the authenticity of this hallmark.
Who in the Navy has benefited from orders from the private sector? It is more common for the National Guard....

... Did not the Coastal artillery dependent on the navy have national guard legions? ...

... I will be surprised that the anchors are not original ...

... I am not saying that they are not good, but there is an investigation to be carried out to understand how weapons from private diggers could have been carried in units whose weaponry depended on the Navy.
To be dug perhaps on the side of the Coast Guard of the National Guard under the July Monarchy....


.
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Old 28th September 2020, 01:23 PM   #9
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Wow, 'Nando! Thank you very much for this information! I have seen that very mark (the anchor stamp) on the more common briquet patterns, but assumed they were not necessarily proof of naval usage- the same way the fleur de lis isn't always a French mark, nor a fouled anchor always a naval affectation (the U.S. state of Maryland used the anchor on their militia swords during the Federalist period to show that their state was the 'home' of maritimers).

I had of course forgotten about all of the various branches of naval units (Coast Guard, Marines, etc) who would have been so armed with such swords versus the typical sailors. This actually great information and now I'll have to try and add one of these to my own collection should I ever find one again!
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Old 28th September 2020, 05:29 PM   #10
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Just to muddy the waters: ()

See Anchor Stamp see p[osts 27-28.

Eskiltuna made blades for a lot of nations.
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Old 28th September 2020, 08:07 PM   #11
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Arrggh! Wayne, you are killing me! No, actually this is good information and it supports my earlier point that not all anchor-stamped swords are necessarily naval, but apparently some of the briquets were, which makes sense when you look at the development of the naval sword into the late-18th/early 19th c.
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Old 28th September 2020, 08:20 PM   #12
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Dear Mark, i thought that by now you wouldn't easily take Wine's baits .
We are talking about French Briquets with the anchor; not whatever items you find out there with the 'morbid' intent to muddy the waters (SIC).
You can find the anchor in a zillion things, from hallmarks to American weapons, in which the anchor has metaphoric means.
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Old 28th September 2020, 09:03 PM   #13
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Well then I guess my totally 'naive' notion of this briquet (the one my original post) being a 'pirate' cutlass, was not entirely without merit.
These munitions grade weapons which were so ubiquitous throughout European armies, could easily have been acquired by private vendors to supply vessels' arms lockers.

The 'anchor' is of course a device that is among many used semiotically by makers, in trade etc. and not necessarily directly maritime connected.
The signature devices with multiple cross bars seen often on Spanish blades as well as the Solingen versions of them have often been termed 'anchors'.
The term anchor often has had certain religious symbolism.

Thank you again everybody for the comments and input on my briquet story.
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Old 29th September 2020, 04:28 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Dear Mark, i thought that by now you wouldn't easily take Wine's baits .
We are talking about French Briquets with the anchor; not whatever items you find out there with the 'morbid' intent to muddy the waters (SIC).
You can find the anchor in a zillion things, from hallmarks to American weapons, in which the anchor has metaphoric means.


The only 'wine' I drink now is Port. - as sailor's say, usually at anchor, on shore leave, "Any port in a storm".

We appear to be talking about briquets from many nations, you even mentioned Denmark! Let's not forget that many nations were (Forcefully) incorporated into the Empire and supplied troops to the French. with very slight differences, briquets were made by many nations under french control to supply their needs as well as the french. Briquet hilts appear on a variety of blade styles too.

After trafalgar, there was very little need for French naval sailors and Marines, or naval cutlasses, so Nappy took advantage of them by incorporating them into the Imperial Guard as artillerymen, at which service they served well. I could see some briquets being accepted into 'naval' service by these Imperial Guards and used exclusively onshore, using their own 'naval' acceptance stamps instead of the less elite 'army' ones.


Guarde Imperiale

The Marines of the Imperial Guard (French: marins de la Garde Imperiale) and sailors formed a naval unit within the Imperial Guard of Napoleon I. The men of the unit not only operated as naval infantrymen but as gunners (after the training they had received in naval gunnery), sailors and engineers. Napoleon himself stated "They were good sailors, then they were the best soldiers. And they did everything - they were soldiers, gunners, sappers, everything!"

They were decimated in the Peninsular wars, and the Rusiian campain, but still there at waterloo, covering the retreat, and accompanying Nappy to St. Helena. Their Officers retained their naval, rather than army, ranks. Officers wore their distinctive sabres as in the wiki link's images, see below. Not a wild strech to think the newer recruits at the end may have carried briquets.
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Old 29th September 2020, 08:00 AM   #15
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My apologies for the misspell, Waine .
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Old 29th September 2020, 08:10 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
My apologies for the misspell, Waine .

Almost there...

Best Regards,
WAYNE

p.s. - I do actually own a Frenchy Briquet. Not my favourite hanger tho. Bit heavy.
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Old 29th September 2020, 12:02 PM   #17
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Hi Jim,
My contribution to your story. A Briquet of mine made by Gebruder Weyersberg and stamped with arsenal marks for Berne, Switzerland. I contacted a museum in Berne and was told that it was an N.C.O.'s sword from C1830. It has a false back edge running for approx 6 inches which you can just make out in the photograph. I haven't actually handled many of these Briquets but I don't remember seeing another with a false back edge.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 29th September 2020, 12:07 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
... Almost there...

No can do. We seldom use the 'ipsilon' over here, so such key got stuck in my keyboard. We have to do with the ' i ' for the mean time; it sounds the same, anyhow .

Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
...p.s. - I do actually own a Frenchy Briquet. Not my favourite hanger tho. Bit heavy.

I too had a briquet long ago; but i let it go, as it didn't meet my demands, collection wise.
By the way, is it my eyes or the blade of your briquet looks as not being the right one ?

PS
I can see dozens of Frenchies being sent to hell for their lies.

SABRE BRIQUET DES TROUPES DE MARINE MODELE DE L'AN IX
Ce modèle à 36 cannelures sur la poignée, quillon en forme de trompette croisière avec poiçon à lancre.

La lame est plus longue que celle de l'infanterie et mesure 63,5 cm poinçons à l'ancre et "B" ; "M" surmonté d'une rous crantée.


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Old 29th September 2020, 03:12 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
...

By the way, is it my eyes or the blade of your briquet looks as not being the right one ?

...

.


As far as I recall it's a German blade, for a French Model AN XI Infantry Sabre Briquet, from around 1830. Curved but Bit straighter than most. Artillery version or Faschinenmesser?
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Old 29th September 2020, 04:02 PM   #20
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Mine was a very regular one, i believe AN IX, bought locally, naturally left on the battle field by the Napoleonic forces during the invasions. A couple poinçons on the guard and an ilegible name in the blade ... but no anchor, though .
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Old 29th September 2020, 04:18 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
Hi Jim,
My contribution to your story. A Briquet of mine made by Gebruder Weyersberg and stamped with arsenal marks for Berne, Switzerland. I contacted a museum in Berne and was told that it was an N.C.O.'s sword from C1830. It has a false back edge running for approx 6 inches which you can just make out in the photograph. I haven't actually handled many of these Briquets but I don't remember seeing another with a false back edge.
My Regards,
Norman.



Thank you Norman, excellent entry!! and seeing these still being produced and used in 1830s, especially in Switzerland. It seems that beyond the 'Landsknechts' there is little discussed on the military of this country.

Cap'n Mark, as always thank you for coming in, I knew ya would as the action word 'pirate' lurked here! and there just had to be at least a few of these in the arms lockers of the 'Brothers'.
Good note on Paul Revere, whose being a silversmith drew a compelling parallel with this Paul Storr product, and illustrates how many guys who produced swords (as cutlers they acquired blades and made hilts) were indeed precious metal artisans.
The best place to find such silversmiths in American context is "The American Sword" by Harold Peterson. Most of the editions include a section and roster of silversmiths (who often of course made pewter). Beyond that there are compendiums of such shops in antique references, but not sure about marks as hallmarks were for precious metal.
However, in the Storr sword, his mark was in this brass hilt, and the hallmarks required by assayers of course absent, so maybe the same is true of pewter.
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Old 29th September 2020, 06:55 PM   #22
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Dear Jim, could you manage for a more accurate picture of the PS mark ?
I have turned the Internet upside down and didn't spot a minimum sign that Paul Storr was other than a magnificent silversmith; who has actually suplied some of his high end works to Portuguese aristrocatic families.
The only connection with his contribution to the arms (sword) area would have been silver hilts; which we manage to imagine in a splendid sketch designed by Thomas Stothard, whose works were put into practice by Storr; although the one depicted here was never brought to life.
So, despite Richard Bezdek book mentioning Paul Storr was a 'hilt maker and sword cutler' (per your words) i request your understanding that, this does not mean that such silver smith wizard would come down to integraly imitate a non British (sort of) sword, in cast brass, just for the fun of it. What for ?
So, do you see a a chance that the PS mark on yor briquet was someone elses's ... or even some low profile brass caster using his initials ...


.
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Old 29th September 2020, 07:41 PM   #23
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G'day Jim,
I wasn't aware that the British ever used this type of sword. They did have the so called "Spanish" pattern artillery short sword. What makes you think your briquet is British?
Cheers,
Bryce
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Old 29th September 2020, 10:27 PM   #24
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Hi guys,
The first reference I recall showing this was a British form used by the artillery was in one of my first books, "European and American Arms" Claude Blair, 1962. Mr. Blair was a brilliant arms historian who provided some of the most reliable and intriguing material on arms that have become part of the literature well used over decades. He was always generous, helpful and insightful with assistance with many questions from novices, like me back in those early days.

These appear as British in numbers of other references such as Wilkinson's books (before Robson) and I would have to go through notes to find the other references. I cannot imagine why these inexpensive munitions arms would not be used by British other ranks just as they were in virtually most European armies.

I'll work on getting all the references together.

With Storr being a silversmith, he is also listed as a 'hilt maker' in Bezdek, which was not at all unusual as craftsmen and artisans in those days often doubled with more 'mundane' functions. Since rather than 'sword makers', mostly there were 'cutlers' which means that these guys 'assembled' swords and sold them to government buyers or the colonels of regiments who were supplying thier troops.

In his early days of course he would have cast metal hilts as brass was finally being permitted by the cutlers officials. I doubt if he was just 'playing' with brass, as hilt making was much needed to mount the blades for other ranks in the army units. Not sure what more pictures of the PS cartouche would achieve.

Naturally, there is always a chance the initials could have been for another hilt maker, and I have searched through many years of references, Annis & May; Wilkinson; Robson; Southwick etc. but have yet to find anyone else with initials PS.
These rebuttals are however inspiring, so as always, I'll keep looking.
The entry in the very thorough work by Bezdek is as noted, compelling.
I have not seen this kind of cartouche with initials on other briquets, and most markings seem to be units or issuance.
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Old 29th September 2020, 11:14 PM   #25
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Just found this from a thread Feb. 2010:

Discussing a briquet, Fernando notes, '..I know the briquet didn't make the Brit's taste".
In Robson ("British Military Swords", 1975), "...in the early years of the 19th c ordinary artillerymen were armed with a short, curved sword with brass knucklebow hilt, similar to the French infantry sword (briquet) ANIX (1800-01), ANXI (1802-03)".

Paul Storr apparently ran the manufacturing workshop for the firm of Rundell, Bridge and Rundell from 1807 and became partner 1811-17. These partners were officially appointed goldsmiths and swordsmiths to King George III.

In these times there were considerable concerns about foreign imports of swords and blades, and the treasury department would levy taxes on any foreign products. With these administrative matters things are pretty complex so I would only suggest that perhaps, the reason for a cartouche with initials in a munitions grade hilt might have been to indicate it was a legitimate product by a maker well known to the king.

With marking on swords, particularly blades, it seems many, if not most instances concerning markings used are not only to indicate the maker, but often other administrative matters (usually the collective 'guild' mark is suggested). In Toledo, the espaderos del Rey were given marks that they were 'official' to the king, thus exempt from taxation etc. Without more complicated description, these kinds of matters are often behind the markings we find on weapons, with meanings now lost to us.

As those making silver hilts or any items of precious metal, in addition to makers marks, there are several other 'assay' marks. In this case, it would seem the PS was simply an indicator of Mr Storr's work, and possibly with regard to the scenario suggested.
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Old 30th September 2020, 02:29 AM   #26
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Doing more research, I looked in "London Silver Hilted Swords" by Leslie Southwick, 2001, and there is no reference to a maker of silver hilts for either Paul Storr, nor Thomas Stothard (1755-1834).
Stothard was a painter, illustrator and engraver, not a sword cutler, nor hilt maker.
Storr is listed in "Swords and Sword Makers of England and Scotland" R. Bezdek, 2003. p.158......as goldsmith, silversmith, hilt maker, sword cutler.

In "Swords for Sea Service", 1970, W.E.May and P.G.W.Annis, p.333
"...English silver hilt makers were compelled by law to put their marks on their work. Other men put their marks on scabbard lockets and ' even on hilts not made of silver'.
Loxham is an example of the first and Francis Thurkle II (1791-1801) put his initials (FT) on many hilts regardless of the metal from which they were made.

It would seem that while Storr was running the manufacturing for Rundell, Bridge and Rundell, who were indeed goldsmiths, silversmiths and retailers of swords, they were also appointed officially by King George III.

Storr is not listed among silver hilt makers in the registers in the Southwick references suggesting he did not make silver hilts. He is listed mostly in various partnerships in Annis & May, most of which were goldsmiths, silver hilts and cutlers.

While these precious metals artisans did produce swords as well as their works in metals, it seems reasonable that they did accept contracts for the production of hilts such as these cast brass hilts in number for mounting blades.

In "European & American Arms" Claude Blair, 1962, p.97 (e) is a British foot artillery gunners sword , first half of 19th c. hilt of brass (incl. grip) curved SE blade 24".
In "British Military Swords" John Wilkinson-Latham, 1966. #66
Foot artillery privates hanger c. 1814, blade23.5" On this example there is a makers mark on the shoulder of the blade which is indecipherable but may be Trotter.

These are both identical to mine.

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 30th September 2020 at 03:06 AM.
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Old 30th September 2020, 11:02 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
... With Storr being a silversmith, he is also listed as a 'hilt maker' in Bezdek ...

Yes Jim ... a silversmith making silver hilts, among other silver works. Why thinking otherwise ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
... I have not seen this kind of cartouche with initials on other briquets, and most markings seem to be units or issuance...

Adding countless inspector poiçons to countless sword hilt makers, one can hardly pretend he has seen them all. Besides and convincingly, all countless pieces marked PAUL STORR shown out there have a unique layout, different than that in your briquet. The way i see things going on, i would take it as anedoctical that he would have developed a different cartouche for brass works ... just to defend my thesis.

The more extensive biographies that we find on PAUL STORR , the more distant stays the hypothesis that he engaged in copying and mass producing cast brass military armament.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Thomas Stothard was a painter, illustrator and engraver, not a sword cutler, nor hilt maker ...

Precisely Jim; what i said is that he designed (not made) this SILVER HILT that could well end up being sculpted by Paul Storr ... as quoted.
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Old 30th September 2020, 01:05 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Yes Jim ... a silversmith making silver hilts, among other silver works. Why thinking otherwise ?


Adding countless inspector poiçons to countless sword hilt makers, one can hardly pretend he has seen them all. Besides and convincingly, all countless pieces marked PAUL STORR shown out there have a unique layout, different than that in your briquet. The way i see things going on, i would take it as anedoctical that he would have developed a different cartouche for brass works ... just to defend my thesis.

The more extensive biographies that we find on PAUL STORR , the more distant stays the hypothesis that he engaged in copying and mass producing cast brass military armament.


Precisely Jim; what i said is that he designed (not made) this SILVER HILT that could well end up being sculpted by Paul Storr ... as quoted.




Well made points as always Fernando, and its always good to have opposing views. Naturally my suggestions are hypothetical, but based on the many years of going through material on makers etc. It was years ago that I got the notion (after seeing silver work by Paul Storr) that I thought that perhaps he might be the elusive PS in the cartouche on my briquet. My attempts at suggesting this to various antique dealers as well as other arms 'authorities' were summarily dismissed and quite honestly scoffed at. It was not until Bezdek that the most important note - of his ALSO being a hilt maker became key.

Remember that as late as 2010 I still had decided this might be Spanish colonial, probably because of the heavy, unfullered almost wedge section blade. In the blacksmith grade blades sometimes found on the frontier type espada anchas these are well known.

The position I have taken on the idea of an artisan who was working with precious metals, and a factory where facilities for casting and likely various fabrication of metalwork (as the Rundell's were also retailers with likely a spectrum of items). ...might have served for a contract of 'briquet' hilts.

Clearly with the silver and gold items Paul Storr became famed for, a more mundane event such as casting brass hilts in such 'contract work' in his earlier career would not be heralded in records of these very common and little documented weapons. That was primarily the point I was making in this tale of 'the lowly briquet' (hence the title).

As I had noted in previous post, makers working with silver who DID make hilts, often EVEN PLACED THEIR INITIALS ON HILTS THAT WERE NOT SILVER.

However not all silversmiths who produced fine silverwork made hilts. As such they would have been included in the STRICTLY controlled conditions of the governing officials and treasury.

While am sure that it would be tempting for a silversmith to create such a piece, there must be reasons why not more of the large number of silversmiths did not engage in these particular items. I would suspect that if they did, and each one who made a silver hilt one off, was then listed as a silver hilt maker, the volumes attending to records of these men would be impossibly profuse.

The reason that it was so difficult to find information on Paul Storr among sword makers and production is that in this industry he was a minor player but included among other partners who were involved in the business.
Even the most noted figures in various fields have lesser activities in thier earlier years which may not be considered salient in biographical material, in fact they may consider detrimental to that which they are noted for.

The clearly pedestrian task of casting hilts in brass for a seemingly minor contract in the earlier period of Paul Storr's working life would not be a landmark event in his biography of his obviously stellar career.

However, that an item such as this hilt bearing what may very well be his initials (as per the evidence suggested) would be remarkable, given the fact that these 'uninteresting' (as per your words) other ranks weapons have been largely discarded in nearly the same tonnage they were produced.
That these weapons became so popular that they were copied in effect by virtually most European armies and remained in use well into the next century is testament to their use as a tool as much as weapon .

However, their common rank among weapons has rendered them 'uninteresting' and therefore of little consequence in the collecting world. So again my purpose in sharing this now rather obscure sword is to illustrate the possibility of a most intriguing history which may be part of a much more stellar context in history.
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Old 30th September 2020, 08:10 PM   #29
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Despite the commonness of the briquet, i think the history behind it is quite fascinating. Already, I have been illuminated by information presented by others here. For a munitions grade weapon, this little booger spread to multiple nations across the globe (I even recall seeing an example in the past with Turkish or at least Arabic markings!). Mexico, Central America, the Germanic states, Denmark, Sweden, etc, all had this pattern. When you think about this sword, it really was kind of the beginning of mass production of a simple sword type. The pattern of swords that came from these, including the forestry swords with their saw-back blades, were the ultimate utility items of the period, used to chop wood, build fascines, and as a weapon in a worst case scenario. Do I have a whole collection of these? No, but I still think they are cool and hope to get one of the rarer naval anchored pieces someday-
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Old 30th September 2020, 09:10 PM   #30
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G'day Jim,
Apart from the references you cited I haven't found any convincing evidence that these briquets were used by British royal artillery gunners. There is plenty of evidence that they were using the "Spanish" pattern sword, which has a straight blade from around 1800 - 1820. A quick search of the internet throws up numerous examples with British maker marks from this time period. There is a good article by Henry Yallop on the Royal Armouries site here:

https://collections.royalarmouries....rative-498.html

Perhaps they may have used the briquet earlier than this? I think you would need to find a clearly British marked example to convince me.
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