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Old 15th December 2019, 05:13 PM   #1
fernando
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Default A small axe ... for possible ID

Pictures taken with cell a phone ... in the worst conditions.
A small axe, square cross section handle, with a reduced 'hammer' head opposite to the small blade.
Two thinks atypical; 1 - strongly reinforced in both ends; the naked wooden part is extemely reduced. 2 - there is a square hole in the bottom, one inch deep, as if it was to couple an extension or ... i don't know .
Has anyone seen anything like this ?


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Old 16th December 2019, 12:14 PM   #2
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Looks like a fireman's axe or hatchet to me.... Modern ones are all metal, so this looks like a progression from a plain wooden helve to the all metal construction we see now.
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Old 17th December 2019, 05:27 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David R
Looks like a fireman's axe or hatchet to me.... Modern ones are all metal, so this looks like a progression from a plain wooden helve to the all metal construction we see now.


Every fire ax I've seen (at least those used in the US) has a spike opposite the blade, not a flat poll. Also they are full sized, the length of a woodsman's felling ax, they are not small for obvious reasons.

The relatively shallow recess on the butt end of the shaft is a mystery to me.

A square, or quadrangular, handle, is also a bit unusual, at least in a Western context. Chinese carpenters' hatchets have such rectangular-section handles, so do many Japanese hammers and also some axes whose handles are rectangular for about 20% of their length before transitioning to oval. However nothing else about this specimen speaks to originating in either culture.
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Old 17th December 2019, 10:13 AM   #4
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Thank you for your input, Gentlemen,
Philip, i concur with your assumption; notwithstanding the existence of fireman's axes of short length and or atypical shape, this example sums up details that altogether direct it to a different purpose ... the square recess on the butt being the main enigma.
By the way, its length is less than 50 centimeters.


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Last edited by fernando : 17th December 2019 at 10:32 AM.
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Old 17th December 2019, 11:11 AM   #5
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I agree with Philip in that fire axes generally have a spike. Could this one have been cut down to the poll? Fire fighters in the UK and much of Europe carried personal spiked hatchets in the late 19th and early 20th century until replaced by large axes carried on the trucks.
Fire brigades also carry numerous keys for opening service boxes or turning off supplies of gas, electricity and for machinery rooms, communal gates etc. I wonder if the square socket in the base is a key socket to operate a valve or access lock in common usage in a particular country.

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Old 17th December 2019, 04:13 PM   #6
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Well, it is not impossible that it had a spike that was later cut off; its head looks rather irregular. And in fact its owner started by suggesting that its butt socket was a key to turn whatever device; it was i who didn't believe so .

As for large axes, the local fire brigade station being in my street, since my childhood i kept seeing the men parading with those in cerimonial uniform, actually up until nowadys. However i am not certain of the period they ceased using them in actual fire fighting.


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Old 18th December 2019, 04:28 PM   #7
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Results of a quick google... In the UK firefighters have a different origin to the rest of Europe, being originally Insurance Company employees rather than military.
The last pic is of a "female firefighter", possibly a film role, and certainly posed.
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Old 18th December 2019, 05:42 PM   #8
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Nice shots. Firemen in Portugal are massively volunteers; only hald dozen are professional (so called sappers) in the largest cities. It could be my imagination but, i would swear they use(d) also the small version over here, hanging from the belt.
Do i notice that those used by Brits are only reinforced in the blade end, as it would be normal, so to say.
... Meaning that, the axe i initally posted, belongs in the riddle universe.
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Old 18th December 2019, 06:35 PM   #9
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My British firemans axe:
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Old 23rd December 2019, 01:19 PM   #10
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Morphologically it most resembles a Tomahawk to me. Heavy headed with a down angled bit, and a slight recurve towards the top edge. A convex grind with a stout butt (which on tomahawks are largely about counter balancing). I've also seen a few tomahawks that have a hollow recess at the end of the handle for stuffing a cork in. That's so if it gets a handle strike the blow is deadened and it doesn't come whipping back at the thrower, or flying off in some unpredictable direction (the cork usually snaps off when that happens and takes a lot of that kinetic energy with it).

I mean I could in no way say anything for certain. But I did do a good bit of throwing back in the day up northern california way (real northern california) and that would be my first instinct with it. Sure looks like it would stick nicely.
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Old 24th December 2019, 12:07 PM   #11
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Good points, Helleri
I will transmit them to my fellow collector .
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