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Old 16th March 2017, 09:58 AM   #1
thinreadline
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Default Opinions sought on 2 naval swords

I have a small collection of naval weapons mostly of the 18th century . I illustrate her 2 recent additions to my collection. The ribbed iron hilted one ( overall length 72 cm ) is in every way like the British Pattern 1814 cutlass but the guard is not the standard 'figure of 8' style, but instead is much simpler . It has the GR cyppher to its blade . The brass hilted cutlass ( overall length 80 cm ) has many features in common with the French sabre de bord of the 1780s but the pommel is different and perhaps this is not naval at all but just some type of hanger . The blade is inscribed 'VINCRE OU MOURIR' ... victory or death ... though I would have expected VAINCRE rather than VINCRE .I would much appreciate your views on these swords .
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Last edited by thinreadline : 16th March 2017 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 16th March 2017, 12:58 PM   #2
ulfberth
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Hello ,

the first sabre is French used during the revolutionary period of the type mineur.
The spelling is normal on blades of this period , they wrote it like its pronounced.

kind regards

Ulfberth
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Old 16th March 2017, 07:24 PM   #3
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The 2nd cutlass has a fullered curved blade. These features were found on the 1825 Coastguard Cutlass although the hilt was very different. The GR cypher seems more angular than most I have seen on swords. These tend to have a more cursive script. The pattination looks right but this is a difficult one to pin down. I would start my research by looking into revenue and coastguard use.
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Old 16th March 2017, 07:44 PM   #4
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According to Gilkerson the cast iron handle with 18 ribs and 6 vertical grooves first appeared on the Brit 1804 cutlass. The handle was almost straight.
Later versions of the handle are more shaped with a swelling and slight curve at the end to fit in the hand better. The 1830's coastguard cutlass is an example.
And this one - courtesy of Cap'n Mark.
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=12145

The straight handle on yours would tend to indicate nearer the early part of the century.

The 1814 appears with both types of handle. But for a cutlass that did not go into production there are an awful lot of examples. I believe most of these were private purchase using blades from catalogues some of which were marked with GR.
Which, I think, is why you sometimes see what appears to be an 1814 blade with a hilt that is much less than the double disk.

regards, CC.
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Old 16th March 2017, 10:39 PM   #5
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In the Leeds Royal Armouries store room there is a crate fitted out with muskets, pistols and cutlasses, about a dozen of each if memory serves me. Bought from a private collection, and for years thought to be an issue package for merchant or Navy ships. Research now indicates that these (multiples of these crates were produced) were sold as a package to large houses, manors etc for home defence during the Chartist period when Revolution and riot were seen as a likelihood. Perhaps that is the origin of these variant cutlasses, civil defence rather than shipping.
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Old 16th March 2017, 11:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertGuy
The 2nd cutlass has a fullered curved blade. These features were found on the 1825 Coastguard Cutlass although the hilt was very different. The GR cypher seems more angular than most I have seen on swords. These tend to have a more cursive script. The pattination looks right but this is a difficult one to pin down. I would start my research by looking into revenue and coastguard use.


Thank you , good advice.
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Old 16th March 2017, 11:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CutlassCollector
According to Gilkerson the cast iron handle with 18 ribs and 6 vertical grooves first appeared on the Brit 1804 cutlass. The handle was almost straight.
Later versions of the handle are more shaped with a swelling and slight curve at the end to fit in the hand better. The 1830's coastguard cutlass is an example.
And this one - courtesy of Cap'n Mark.
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=12145

The straight handle on yours would tend to indicate nearer the early part of the century.

The 1814 appears with both types of handle. But for a cutlass that did not go into production there are an awful lot of examples. I believe most of these were private purchase using blades from catalogues some of which were marked with GR.
Which, I think, is why you sometimes see what appears to be an 1814 blade with a hilt that is much less than the double disk.

regards, CC.


Very interesting . The hilt is not strictly straight , whilst it has a straight back , the inner face has a distinct curve , swelling towards the blade. So I feel it may be later than 1804. But yes private purchase seems the likeliest .
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Old 16th March 2017, 11:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David R
In the Leeds Royal Armouries store room there is a crate fitted out with muskets, pistols and cutlasses, about a dozen of each if memory serves me. Bought from a private collection, and for years thought to be an issue package for merchant or Navy ships. Research now indicates that these (multiples of these crates were produced) were sold as a package to large houses, manors etc for home defence during the Chartist period when Revolution and riot were seen as a likelihood. Perhaps that is the origin of these variant cutlasses, civil defence rather than shipping.


How interesting , thank you .
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Old 17th March 2017, 06:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ulfberth
Hello ,

the first sabre is French used during the revolutionary period of the type mineur.
The spelling is normal on blades of this period , they wrote it like its pronounced.

kind regards

Ulfberth



Ulfberth, thank you for responding on this French example as there is clearly far less known about them than their British counterparts. Well observed on the application of this motto as well, and as we have found on virtually all manner of blade inscriptions, spelling, grammar and linguistics are seldom textbook.

It is interesting also that the period in which this cutlass/hanger was used you note as the Revolutionary period. It is important to note that while this term brings to mind the French Revolution (the Terror), it also refers to the French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802) involving the 1st Republic of France and the First and 2nd Coalitions with France against several nations.
These were times of war and insurrection in tremendous chaos, so trying to accurately classify arms accordingly is a challenge.

It seems that these swords (sabre de bord) with these S type guards were favored from about 1760 onward, but this most resembles the M1792 (which had the cap type or Phrygian helmet design). This basic form was on the 1782 designs as well with birdhead pommel and capstan.

Primarily however, the M1792 versions were of iron, while the 1782 was brass. It seems that in the times of these 'troubles' from around 1787, there was a shortage of copper, hence the prevalence of iron hilts.

Possibly this was a prototype or transitional form of about this time, as it is noted that pattern types were basically a formalizing of types in use in accord with a regulation date.
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Old 17th March 2017, 06:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Ulfberth, thank you for responding on this French example as there is clearly far less known about them than their British counterparts. Well observed on the application of this motto as well, and as we have found on virtually all manner of blade inscriptions, spelling, grammar and linguistics are seldom textbook.

It is interesting also that the period in which this cutlass/hanger was used you note as the Revolutionary period. It is important to note that while this term brings to mind the French Revolution (the Terror), it also refers to the French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802) involving the 1st Republic of France and the First and 2nd Coalitions with France against several nations.
These were times of war and insurrection in tremendous chaos, so trying to accurately classify arms accordingly is a challenge.

It seems that these swords (sabre de bord) with these S type guards were favored from about 1760 onward, but this most resembles the M1792 (which had the cap type or Phrygian helmet design). This basic form was on the 1782 designs as well with birdhead pommel and capstan.

Primarily however, the M1792 versions were of iron, while the 1782 was brass. It seems that in the times of these 'troubles' from around 1787, there was a shortage of copper, hence the prevalence of iron hilts.

Possibly this was a prototype or transitional form of about this time, as it is noted that pattern types were basically a formalizing of types in use in accord with a regulation date.


Thanks for this ... most interesting
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Old 17th March 2017, 08:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David R
In the Leeds Royal Armouries store room there is a crate fitted out with muskets, pistols and cutlasses, about a dozen of each if memory serves me. Bought from a private collection, and for years thought to be an issue package for merchant or Navy ships. Research now indicates that these (multiples of these crates were produced) were sold as a package to large houses, manors etc for home defence during the Chartist period when Revolution and riot were seen as a likelihood. Perhaps that is the origin of these variant cutlasses, civil defence rather than shipping.


Thanks for that information, that is interesting. I have seen pictures of these fitted cases and I remember thinking at the time that it did not seem a very 'nautical' type storage arrangement.
Regards CC
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