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Old 8th October 2021, 04:47 AM   #6
Jim McDougall
Arms Historian
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
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Originally Posted by toaster5sqn View Post
Jim, that's an interesting hilt. I notice that the side bars have been lowered to the underside of the pommel to allow better wrist extension in the thrust.

Does anyone know just how early this feature came in? I have heard it referred to as a primarily 19th centaury innovation when British Military Swordsmanship became one discipline encompassing broadsword, spadroon and sabre under a single system as championed by Rowath etc.

Hi Robert,
Thank you for coming in. I am not sure what you mean about the side bars being lowered , for wrist extension for thrust? I'm afraid I am not aware of any such intention, nor any deliberate adjustment of the guard system for this purpose or other.

It is unclear exactly when these hilts came into use, but we know they were produced in London notably by Jeffries and Drury primarily. These are described by Anthony Darling ("Swords for the Highland Regiments 1757-1784", 1988, p.16)"
stating they represented "...a degeneracy in manufacture". and that,"...the guard is fabricated of thin sheet metal and devoid of line engraving. The triangular perforations are exactly that: triangles".

While most of these seem to be from 1770s, there are possibilities these or forms of them were around earlier. Clearly they sought to follow the 'Glasgow' styling in rudimentary form, and mostly seem destined for fencible and foot regiments, most notably the 42nd Highlanders, "Black Watch".

Most of them were turned in c. 1784 as these regiments ceased the carry of swords.

As I earlier noted, my example and several others I have seen were apparently mounted with M1788 cavalry saber blades.

I am unfamiliar with this 19th century swordsmanship discipline or Rowath, can you elaborate where this data is from?

Returning to hilt features of these 18th century military examples, it seems there were slight variations in certain elements, but none of these as far as I have known are for specific purpose in use of the sword.
Thank you for the interesting observations and for joining us here!

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