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Old 10th August 2016, 07:14 AM   #1
M ELEY
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Default 18th century hanger with possible naval connections

Here we have an interesting hanger, ca. 1750-90 period, German made judging from examples in Neumann's with similar hilt elements. When I first bid on the piece, I assumed it was a knockoff of the French m1767 Grenadier pattern. When it came in the mail, however, I saw that it predated that model. I was most shocked by the quality of the watered steel spear tip blade so much like a cutlass. I was also intrigued by the markings on the brass guard. They read 'RX.2' and 'No.45'. They are etched into the brass, not stamped as typical issued government types are.

I am aware some early German blades sometimes came with etched marks, but they were usually long chains of numbers and letters. Likewise, the RX mark was curiously short, had a dotted period in front of the numeral. This leads me to believe that this marking is a rack number, as in Rack #2. Perhaps I'm looking too deeply at this, but I have been unable to see any other swords bearing such a marking. If it were a string of numbers, I'd leave it alone.

Then there are the subtle hints that it might be a cutlass. I haven't been able to find any other German sword of the period with an open hilt like mine. I also looked through numerous books, web sites, and about 20 years worth of auction catalogs for a match, to no avail. I researched Saxon sidearms, pioneer swords, French grenadiere types, briquettes, etc, with no match. Most of the Germanic swords from this time period with similar hilt elements (exact shape grip, knuckle bow with acute angles, droopy quillon, etc) had much more elaborate, barred heavy hilts. This makes me suspect it was made in a small quantity for private purchase for a merchantman. Other clues include the short 22" cutlass type blade with flat back, false edge, simple brass hilt popular with naval pieces and the already mentioned fact that it doesn't match any of the other types from the period.

Now, IF the 'RX' stands for rack number, we can try to do a little deducing, i.e. guessing! Starting with 'No.45', it would need to be a country that uses that abbreviation. I know Germany does, the word number being nummer, I believe. France likewise does and of course, Great Britain and the U.S. If RX stands for 'rack', we can surmise that the country of origin would need to have the word 'rack' of a similar spelling and pronouncement. Once again, the UK and the US. The French word for rack is grille, so no match. The German word isn't even close. The Dutch word for rack is rek and the Danish word for rack is rack. Both of these countries followed the German style of weapons and both have privateering in their history. As a matter of fact, the Danish m.1801 naval sword has the exact same style blade and a very similar profiled brass hilt.
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Old 10th August 2016, 07:32 AM   #2
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Here is a well documented French privateer's sword with a very similar hilt-

Here is the site-
http://swordscollection.blogspot.co...ng-cutlass.html
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Old 10th August 2016, 07:37 AM   #3
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Just to show the Germanic hilts and their earlier patterns to the French m1767, here is a sword with similar grip from Dmitri's page (Sailor in Saddle).

The second pic is also from Dmitri's page, showing a French marine sword with the acutely angled knuckle bow I mentioned. I think the capstan and style helps date this piece to mid/late 18th.

The last pic is the m1767 French grenadiere sword, as used by infantry and popular with sailors of the period.
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Old 10th August 2016, 08:56 AM   #4
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So, my general thoughts are that it is not British. The Brits didn't like brass hilts and totally rejected the prevalent brass briquette pattern of the next century. American? Could be. They had enough privateering going on, certainly adopted German-made pieces and could have used such markings. The Americans had adopted the m1791 Dutch marine sabal after all. Without provenance, it is just a possibility...

As much as I like the idea of a French origin, I find it hard to believe that a merchantman would need another pattern of sword other than their own. I can't find any French swords with the abbreviation for number listed as 'No.' Likewise, their word for 'rack' is grille.

Could this just be a German hanger for infantry use? Short blade? No elaborate hilt/guard? No long markings to regiment or government proofs? I don't believe this, plus their word for rack doesn't start with an 'R'. I'd bet export no matter what.

My conclusion- 18thc. hanger, German made for export, simple markings and style indicating possibly naval, Danish? Dutch? American?

Now, I will await my theories and research to be besmirched by those more enlightened!
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Old 10th August 2016, 12:22 PM   #5
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"R.X.2 N45" may be a European troop marking: Regiment N10, 2nd. batallion, sabre n45.
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Old 10th August 2016, 04:39 PM   #6
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As always, fascinating items and well detailed research with reasoned approach to deductions Mark! I like your style.

Without excavation for notes here in the bookmobile yet, it does seem I have seen number combinations like this but uncertain on how they were disposed on hilts.
What comes to mind is Mexican units in some of their designations which of course might have evolved through Spanish military unit structures.
In any case an excellent an interesting hanger example.

As we know, virtually any hanger or light sword form might have been used in maritime context, particularly in private or merchant vessels. Piracy in all its forms has existed certainly since vessels took to sea, and still of course exists. The need for defensive armaments and weapons in the vulnerability of these vessels naturally compelled those aboard to secure them from any sources in private circumstances.
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Old 10th August 2016, 07:13 PM   #7
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Hi Mark, interesting article and link, and good to see some naval items again.

You sometimes see Brit cutlasses with a letter id for a location such as QD - quarterdeck, FC - forecastle etc, followed by a number but I have not seen a rack identified by number before.
That's not to say they don't exist of course.
I have a feeling though that corrado26 may be on the right track as 45 cutlasses in one rack would not be common unless possibly on the largest naval warships.

Regards, CC
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Old 10th August 2016, 07:58 PM   #8
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Hi Mark,
So far digging into notes. This is obviously a hanger or other ranks sword of the briquette category (i.e. solid cast brass hilts) which expands to the various auxiliary and support units such as 'pioneers, sappers' etc.

One thing I found is that Mexican military categorization by units etc. is often reflected on weaponry with unusual variations of letters, dots or periods, hyper script and highly abbreviated designations.

For example, a British M1821 sabre found at battlefield at San Jacinto Texas from the 'Alamo' period I was researching for a museum had the inscription
R.P.D. Jo Ca No.19 on the back of the hilt
This indicated apparently Regimente Permanente Delores , Primero (first company, weapon number 19).
The Delores regiment was made permanent in 1833 (Alamo if course 1836).

There were apparently varying configurations of numbers and letters on various locations on the sword overall, indicating probably a kind of resume' of issuance.

In other notes I found that R, also represents 'zapado' (zapadors or sappers), while R L the letter R with hyper letter L smaller and elevated meant 'Cuerpo de Ingenieres ( Real Corps of Engineers).

With numbers like 7 for example with small zero up and left of letter stood for 7th (the small o =th)

With the numerous French weapons, and so influenced in the Mexican military it seems feasible this is a munitions level hanger which might have been produced based on their arms and issued into the Mexican military sometime 1850s (?).

Despite these possibilities, remember that Mexico had a navy of sorts which often included patrol vessels to guard their ever threatened coastal regions, not to mention piratical circumstances . I have long had a sword of U.S. M1840 type cavalry hilt which has a shorter heavy blade which corresponds to espada anchas with these kind of heavy blades, and I have seen termed as cutlasses. The hilts on these were more aligned with those of other weapons to the south in Mexico, and always seemed to indeed possibly have found use in Mexican maritime circumstances, which were often more irregularly operated.
The 'cutlass' with military (M1840 type) hilt does have mkgs of Republic of Mexico, but no apparent unit mkgs. so I do know its Mexican. Sorry I don't have photos of it!
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Old 10th August 2016, 09:28 PM   #9
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...and speaking of the French-Mexican design continuum, I recently picked this saber's up right out of the woodwork!

And, to boot, it came from a kid I went to grammar school with fifty years ago! It is something he said that had always been in his family, but he had no other info about it.

I didn't know what it was except that it had a typical c.1850's American style blade etched with pretty much boilerplate decoration and "US".

After posting it on another forum and a little digging around a bit I learned it is a militia saber from Stockton, California, of the Stockton Blues Militia.

I've never heard of this unit or was aware anything like it existed. The one piece cast brass hilt with unique lines (for the US) was a puzzle to me.

California still retained its Spanish aesthetic even though it was a part of the US at the time this saber was made.

So, to bring this around full circle, a French form that inspired Mexican design, that, in turn inspired an American form!

This is the great thing about this forum. By seeing things juxtaposed side by side and understanding each region's history, the big picture becomes more clear!

This has been a "Eureka" moment for me today.
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Old 11th August 2016, 04:12 AM   #10
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Hello all and thank you for posting comments!

Corrado26, thank you for that other possibility concerning abbreviated regiment marks. I hadn't thought about the X standing for 10th! A definite possibility...

Hello, Jim you ole' sea dog! Knew I could bring you out with this curiosity! I hadn't thought about a possible Mexican connection following a French style. I'll try to do some research in that area (and for that matter, on S. American imported swords, as many of those countries were receiving German and French weapons). Thanks for taking the time to look up that information. I must admit that I had hoped for French or Dutch, but that's how it goes when you take a chance on a 'one off' sword. More research might still produce clearer answers. The hilt on mine isn't a solid cast brass hilt, but in fact, two pieces. There is a German sword in Neumann's with the EXACT brass grip and same shaped quillon, so I still think mine is closer to early 19th. BTW, I'm driving to Beaufort, NC in the AM for the Pirate Invasion festival doing some sales/book signings! Gotta love it if it's pirate!

CC, good to hear from you again as well and I also miss the naval stuff, but Fernando has a fantastic boarding ax (pair!) on that other thread! Hope to see more nautical stuff come up.

Shakethetrees, what an awesome piece you have there! Was this militia involved in any conflicts or simply present to preserve community order? It does indeed resemble the French grenadiere pattern closely.
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Old 11th August 2016, 07:24 AM   #11
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Hey Cap'n Mark
You know I cant resist this stuff you come up with!
Actually, as you know I get pretty involved with everything Mexican and Spanish colonial. The bookmobile is now dry docked at the very foot of the Superstition Mountains here in Arizona. These rugged defiles are really weird looking and it feels like the face of the sun here about 105-115 every day.

The Spanish Colonial and Apache history is everywhere here, I picked up a monstrous Mexican Bowie with a cane cactus hilt that makes the Crocodile Dundee thing look like a keychain pocket knife!

In most of the research on Mexican military related stuff, the methods and markings for units is pretty inconsistent, but these numbers and letters seem like them for some reason. There is something about these often irregular and unusual weapons which is fascinating, maybe its being in that climate here. Much of the data I found on regimentals was from a guy who has spent years excavating battle sites in Mexican areas and remote Texas etc.

But, the notes by Corrado are relevant as well, and who knows it could be European.

Have fun at the pirate gig!!!
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Old 11th August 2016, 07:43 AM   #12
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Jim, you live the life of an adventurer! Just don't be going out into those haunted mountains alone! I've seen some pretty scary stuff about the Superstition Mts. I'm just trying to keep an open mind about the piece. I want to post some better close-ups when I have time, showing the two part hilt and the quality of the blade. I'll also list the swords from Neumann's when I get the chance.

In the meantime, a similar cousin to our little beasty? (From Sailor in Saddle again! I'm going to owe Dmitri big!!)


http://www.sailorinsaddle.com/product.aspx?id=1393
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Old 11th August 2016, 08:14 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shakethetrees
...and speaking of the French-Mexican design continuum, I recently picked this saber's up right out of the woodwork!

And, to boot, it came from a kid I went to grammar school with fifty years ago! It is something he said that had always been in his family, but he had no other info about it.

I didn't know what it was except that it had a typical c.1850's American style blade etched with pretty much boilerplate decoration and "US".

After posting it on another forum and a little digging around a bit I learned it is a militia saber from Stockton, California, of the Stockton Blues Militia.

I've never heard of this unit or was aware anything like it existed. The one piece cast brass hilt with unique lines (for the US) was a puzzle to me.

California still retained its Spanish aesthetic even though it was a part of the US at the time this saber was made.

So, to bring this around full circle, a French form that inspired Mexican design, that, in turn inspired an American form!

This is the great thing about this forum. By seeing things juxtaposed side by side and understanding each region's history, the big picture becomes more clear!

This has been a "Eureka" moment for me today.


The Stockton Blues swords are blade marked to Horstmann. It has been determined that they were assembled from parts by Bannerman (see the Flayderman/Mowbray Medicus Collection book). Sometimes still listed as ACW period variants, they are later in time. I would think it would also be mentioned in the latest Thillman but I don't have his newer "master".

Sharkskin scabbards. Both U.S. naval and infantry blades have been found with this hilt.

Somewhere in my files is a Peter Knecht marked cavalry size saber blade that could easily be as late as the 1830s, or even later.

Cheers

GC
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Old 11th August 2016, 08:39 AM   #14
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Regarding the sword of this thread, I feel it is similar to some other hangers and even before that with the French heart and half heart type straight hangers. IIRC there is an article pair from Petard that show a nice evolution of French swords in the 18th century.

Anyway, the straight hangers were secondary arms and tools continuing with Rose and Starr into the 19th century. My old French hanger almost a ringer for the Rose artillery sword. I know other countries continued as well.

Maritime use would make sense. My oldster is listed as a sabre troupe marine. Also the Rose article showing the similarity near a century later. The French went from full to half then no counterguard with the 1750s revolutions of brass hilts.

From old to new would be my quite wide bladed Starr 1818. As so many variations we see, they seem to have a common chromosome as to blade length, even with the early Ames militia swords with 21" blades (25" in the 1850s).

Here is the Petard article. I'm linking from my Google drive if the system won't upload the file (I guess it did).
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9...iew?usp=sharing


Cheers

GC

>sigh so may of my files are too big to share on my bedside brainiac.
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File Type: pdf FRENCH MILITARY SWORD IN 18th CENTURY _PartIII.pdf (2.65 MB, 37 views)

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Old 11th August 2016, 08:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
Jim, you live the life of an adventurer! Just don't be going out into those haunted mountains alone! I've seen some pretty scary stuff about the Superstition Mts. I'm just trying to keep an open mind about the piece. I want to post some better close-ups when I have time, showing the two part hilt and the quality of the blade. I'll also list the swords from Neumann's when I get the chance.

In the meantime, a similar cousin to our little beasty? (From Sailor in Saddle again! I'm going to owe Dmitri big!!)


http://www.sailorinsaddle.com/product.aspx?id=1393



Yup!!! Those spooky looking sentinels loom over us every day, and it can be blue sky everywhere but black clouds, thunder and lightning over them, like some strange old horror movie.
WOW.....good call from Dmitry!
We often forget about our northern neighbors up there.
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Old 12th August 2016, 12:22 AM   #16
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Wow, Glenn, that is a great article on the development of French swords of the period! Thank you so much and I'm going to print a copy for future reference. It is easy to forget about the latter 18th/early 19th c. patterns of brass hilt swords when you start perusing through all of the Russian pioneer swords, Saxon infantry and the massive pile of briquettes out there.

Jim, just don't be going after that hidden treasure that eccentric millionaire buried out that way! I know how you are about treasure, you old scalawag! Still, I was tempted to at least look up the clues he left...
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Old 13th August 2016, 09:11 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
Wow, Glenn, that is a great article on the development of French swords of the period! Thank you so much and I'm going to print a copy for future reference. It is easy to forget about the latter 18th/early 19th c. patterns of brass hilt swords when you start perusing through all of the Russian pioneer swords, Saxon infantry and the massive pile of briquettes out there.

Jim, just don't be going after that hidden treasure that eccentric millionaire buried out that way! I know how you are about treasure, you old scalawag! Still, I was tempted to at least look up the clues he left...



Hey Mark,
Actually it is tempting, I could use some of that treasure about now......the old bookmobile has about run its course 9years and over 50, 000 miles later. We are in the process of trade in for a new one and $$$$$$$$ yikes!

I'm always glad to see Glen on these American sword topics........his archives must be like the Library of Congress!! I always scribble notes as these swords are his domain and learn a lot here from him!

Shake the trees....... California indeed was pretty much autonomous, and retained its Spanish culture. It is amazing how these states often were sort of their own countries in those days. Utah had the Mormons who had their own army; Arizona was its own territory; California by the Civil War had its Californios whose units participated into Arizona regions as that little known theater of the war filtered westward. The Mormons had their own units as well, I believe they might have been Nauvoo Legion.

Finding weapons from all these very esoterically known units of these territories is pretty exciting, but hard to come by.
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Old 13th August 2016, 11:34 PM   #18
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Jim, I am but a wayfayer following the footprints of giants.
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Old 14th August 2016, 11:25 PM   #19
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I like to think of ourselves as the purveyors of knowledge, even if we are simply passing along something we learned 'from the giants!' In any case, I have always appreciated all of the advice, knowledge, and guesswork I have gleaned from our many forumites over the years.

Here are some closeups of the hilt. Note the birdhead construction, early capstan and separate brass guard (not all one piece, as the later 19th c. pieces are. I love the old yellow patina to the grip. Note the little notch to the knucklebow, which on Brit pieces often have a drilled hole post 1790.
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Old 14th August 2016, 11:43 PM   #20
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More, showing nice watered steel blade and slightly off center spear point-
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Old 14th August 2016, 11:47 PM   #21
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Glenn, I thought about your comments on Prahl swords and managed to find a very similar hilt in an article from Man-at-Arms magazine.

While I'm not saying mine is a Prahl nor even that it's American, I will stick to my guns and say that I think it shows it to be of the same period, ca. 1780-1810, perfect for the QuasiWar, 1812/Napoleonic period. I also think you got it in the right region, France.
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Old 14th August 2016, 11:52 PM   #22
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I'm willing to admit that the RX probably is just ordinance marking, but as far as No.46 being too high a number for naval usage, I don't agree when it comes to privateering. No doubt, these groups of one-off swords could have been made in large batches for a small squadron of ships. I'm not swearing it's naval, I'm just saying it is still possible. Then there is the possibility that Glenn brought up that it could be a marine piece. In any case, an 18th/early 19th c. hanger, possibly French, possibly naval...
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Old 15th August 2016, 07:01 PM   #23
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Excellent call Glen! That makes perfect sense and a compelling possible attribution.
BTW.....you IS one of the giants

Mark, we are indeed gatherers of information and discovery on these weapons, and we all learn together from them. The fun and adventure is the secrets they hold, and often share with us, sometimes it seems almost reluctantly. We are a band of adventurers and romantics in a quest to find those treasures........though they aint gold....they are golden!!!! Arrrr!
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Old 15th August 2016, 09:50 PM   #24
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Hmmm.....While I never mentioned Prahl, I guess I could be flattered

Thanks for the article share. What I was getting at was that short straight hangers came in a lot of variety and that maritime use a good possibility.

Cheers

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Old 30th August 2016, 04:32 AM   #25
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Default Cousins? m1801 Danish cutlass

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Old 31st August 2016, 12:43 AM   #26
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Yes, listed as a Danish M1801 CHAUSSEUR Lion Head Short Sword. I'll look for my Danish bookmark but I forget how I flagged it. I believe it was posted here somewhere as a museum link.

Cheers

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Old 31st August 2016, 01:43 AM   #27
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Thanks, Glenn! Found this one with a general search. Although used by infantry, others had naval usage, as pointed out and apparently well documented in May's monumental "Swords for Sea service".
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