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Old 23rd September 2006, 04:11 PM   #1
Bill M
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Default Bill Spike mystery sword? Farm implement? ID??

I mentioned in an earlier thread that I am rephotographing my collection. I started numbering at 100.

I came across this mystery piece and wondered if anyone knows what it might be?

32" long, double edged and sharp. The sharpended edges begin where the blade widens out about 6" from the hilt. The edge runs along the inside edges of the curves. It is flat on one side and convex on the other. I suspect it is some kind of farm implement. Horn hilt. Well made.

The second pic shows the curved side up. The third shows the convex side.

The fourth picture shows a maker's mark, I guess, of some kind.

The seller did not know much about it, but called it a "Bill Spike." One of the reasons I got it was I like the name!
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Old 23rd September 2006, 06:08 PM   #2
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It looks like a European farming implement; most likely French. But, I have never seen one with a double bill? see also "fascine knife".

Pretty cool!

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Old 24th September 2006, 01:10 AM   #3
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An unusual Elephant goad Id guess, Ive seen hundreds of English & French bill hooks, its not one of those..


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Old 24th September 2006, 02:15 AM   #4
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I agree with n2s that it is probably a farming impliment, but my guess is that it's Spanish colonial/pre-Mexico. The half metal guard is a common feature on many Span Colonial pieces such as machetes, fascine knives and such. Likewise, the notches near the top of the blade by the hilt seem like the common line-type decorations found on Span colonial pieces. Of course, this patterning is also common on Philippine bolos, is it not? Like all those "Confederate Bowie" Phillipine bolos we keep seeing. I still lean toward Span Colonial with the horn hilt. I've always wondered if this notching near the blade top was influenced by Spanish/Portuguese presence in the Philippines?
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Old 21st February 2011, 10:50 PM   #5
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Default Roncola

Hi
I have just come across this post, so my answer is a little late. This is definitely Italian - the handle style is typical of the roncola (plural roncole) or billhooks of Piemonté in northern Italy.

I have seen one without the point before for sale on eBay.it - I am uncertain of its purpose, but long single edged tools are still available today - e.g. http://www.angelo-b.com/ab/catalog/p...x%5Fdd=074100& where for some reason it's called a mushroom billhook (Roncola funghi) also roncola frattarola (can't find a translation for this...) also sfrattarolla....

The point is shown on early illustrations of Roman vine pruning billhooks, where it is called the Mucro (see my website: http://www.billhooks.co.uk/Etymology.htm)

The makers mark (GC) is very similar to one that I have in my collection, from Sicily, and is typically 19th century. Long roncole in the Swiss/Italian borders known as beidana (plural beidane) were used as weapons at a time when owning a weapon was forbidden (these developed from the shorter pattern of roncole with a back hook used in Swiss villages) - see: http://alpicozie.legart.it/beidana/beidane65a.html

Perhaps this one was also intended as a weapon, but could be legally called a tool. Note the back hook can only be used back-handed, the hand guard prevents turning the tool in the hand to use it fore-handed (Italian double edged pennato (plural pennati) or double edged billhooks usually have round handles, and if fitted with a hand guard it is at right angles to the blade, not in line with it).

Single bevelled billhooks were fairly common in the UK, France, Germany and Italy - available for right handed and left handed users. This tool has both a right hand and left hand blade - but only one is usable (see above) - however it confirms its origin, and possibly its use, as a tool....

The beidane below is from Pino Costa (maker of reproductions) and the roncole on the red cloth from Carlo (both from Piemonté in North Italy)
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Last edited by Billman : 21st February 2011 at 11:15 PM.
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Old 22nd February 2011, 11:11 AM   #6
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What an interesting place this is.
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Old 22nd February 2011, 12:22 PM   #7
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Looks like we have Bill Spike, Bill Hook perhaps my name on a Political forum, Hawk Bill!

This IS an interesting place, Tim!
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Old 22nd February 2011, 02:36 PM   #8
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I agree with Billman: it is probably an Italian farming tool, though the double-hooked blade is uncommon.
Such implements often appears in flea markets in northern Italy.
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Old 22nd February 2011, 05:13 PM   #9
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they would definitely make a good hauswehr! (or bauerwehr) i like the curved ones no. 68 & 69 on the beidane reference site.
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Old 22nd February 2011, 07:12 PM   #10
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Wish we could find out more. Seems to be a specialized piece, made for some particular purpose. Perhaps as someone suggested, it was made to be a weapon that looked like a farm implement.
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Old 22nd February 2011, 07:25 PM   #11
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It looks like a dangerous weapon. You could really wack someone on the head with it and shatter the skull.... You could probably cut off the limbs and slice open the stomach, too, if it's sharp enough.
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Old 25th February 2011, 08:17 PM   #12
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Amazing piece! I wannit I wannit I wannit I wannit. Note the spike is of squarish section like a tang. Squared or rounded spikes are common on sickle type tools, usually at the tip, and I wonder if they are not a sharpening aid, for resting the blade or chunking it into the ground or stump for field sharpening. Others speculate such tips keep the blade from striking hidden rocks and such. A mystery, and compare the pinegas head hunting axe of Luzon with its square0section backspike?......
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Old 4th March 2011, 08:43 PM   #13
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The pinky hook mostly exists in Italian implements. Check this massive cleaver - other unusual aspects are the thick forged self bolster, leather disks handle, riveted pommel. I think this thread should be moved to the european forum though.
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Old 5th March 2011, 06:21 PM   #14
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Hi
Yes this one is also Italian - a mannaia (which can be any square bladed billhook or meat cleaver - I guess the usage is also interchangeable).
See http://www.leonelliattrezzi.com/ind..._couperet_1.php although generally a pennato is the name for a double bladed billhook, and thus does not include mannaia...
The hand guard and leather handle are also found in tools from Austria and the western parts of Hungary, also parts of Switzerland and Germany... Pre 1900 many of these regions formed the Austro Hungarian Empire, so knowledge and skills moved within the region - ditto edge tool technology....
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Old 15th March 2011, 06:43 PM   #15
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