Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > European Armoury

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 19th June 2024, 09:09 PM   #1
piratelady
Member
 
Join Date: May 2024
Posts: 3
Default Sword Identification?

Hello; I was told this sword is from the 18th century. I think any of the markings maybe too pitted to see now. The handle appears to be wood as it has some small gouges in it. The blade is 24 inches or 62cm. There also appears to be the numbers 18 or 13 on the top of the handle.
Attached Images
    

Last edited by piratelady; 20th June 2024 at 06:20 PM. Reason: Adding info
piratelady is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20th June 2024, 12:25 AM   #2
Jim McDougall
Arms Historian
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 9,844
Default

Interesting saber, thank you for posting it here.
Its really hard to tell material from photos, while this appears wood, it might be horn.
The blade could very well be late 18th c. European, but the sword in its ersatz hilting seems of course very much later, into early 20th c. Its very common for old European blades circulating in colonial regions to be remounted numerous times.

The hilt is a common stirrup hilt type used by many nations in varying degree so hard to identify, but it reminds me of an Ethiopian 'gurade' in a sense and of early 20th c. Obviously the Lion of Judah is absent on this example, but the character of the hilt seems similar.
Welcome to the forum.....great handle!
Attached Images
 
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20th June 2024, 10:27 AM   #3
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 9,682
Default

Welcome to the forum, Piratelady . How long is the blade ?
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20th June 2024, 06:11 PM   #4
piratelady
Member
 
Join Date: May 2024
Posts: 3
Default

Hello fernando, the blade is 24 inches. I am almost positive the handle is wood. It has some small gouges in it that a horn would not have.
piratelady is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20th June 2024, 10:07 PM   #5
Radboud
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 249
Default

As Jim has aluded to, this is a sword is a composition of (some) original parts from different swords.

The hilt looks like it came from a German new model artillery sabre while the blade at first glance looks to be French in style, possibly mid 19th Cent. Without markings and blade diamensions it's difficult to be sure, but it looks similar to the types of blades seen on the French m1845 infantry officers sword.

See if you can see any reminants of engraving on the spine of the blade close to the hilt.

The hilt is missing the backstrap, grip tabs and pommel cap that would have gone with that guard and the wood grips are modern replacements. Looking at how the blade is attached to the hilt, and given the likely newer age of the parts, I would judge this to be a more recent marriage of parts, than a colonial era eratz sword.
Radboud is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st June 2024, 03:27 PM   #6
Norman McCormick
Member
 
Norman McCormick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,589
Default

Hi,
To my mind this is surely a late 18thC early 19thC hanger style blade. The blade length and the larger fuller terminating at the point, to me at least, are sure fire indicators of this type. The M1845 French infantry sword has a quill point style blade which is very different from the posters blade. The D-guard reminds me strongly of an early Blucher sabre style hilt, see attached photo, although the portapee/sword knot slit, in the photo provided, looks smaller than in a Blucher. The grip is probably a replacement as is possibly but not definitively the guard but I think these are period alterations and not later as proposed. The numerals on the guard may be a rack number so possibly a militia or private purchase sea service concoction possibly continental European and not British as the D-guard has more of a pronounced curve than is normal on British swords. Seems to me a decent workmanlike sword.
Regards,
Norman.
Attached Images
 

Last edited by Norman McCormick; 21st June 2024 at 03:50 PM.
Norman McCormick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st June 2024, 05:07 PM   #7
Jim McDougall
Arms Historian
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 9,844
Default

Great observations Norman!!! as always!

Im glad we are in accord on the blade, which seems 18th century European saber form recalling 'montmorency' section of latter part. Well noted on the guard, which does seem German and of the stirrup guard 'Blucher' (M1811) type. The smaller langet and as you note the portapee slot seems more to correspond to later versions of these stirrup hilts which actually were in use in the German army into WWI period, and typically 'lighter'.

With your confirmation of probable German hilt guard, I feel the potential for German East Africa assembly of these components and the wood grip, and likely in colonial period of 1880s + if indeed regionally composed.

The Ethiopian 'gurade' I posted illustrates the propensity toward European influences on native weapons in these dynamic colonial times, where often native forces served as auxiliary to the national military occupying forces.
Often in colonial situations, officers of the occupying military forces also took to specialized swords reflecting local styles joined with regulation components worn as field weapons. These cases prevailed in India where regulation hilts often had Indian or Persian blades and vice versa where many Indian swords had British blades.

These are some of the most fascinating areas of sword collecting with these anomalies being of key historic interest!

Pirate Lady, by your psuedonym, I would note, the regions of Africa which seem suggested include the areas of Comoros Islands and Madagascar where pirate activity prevailed in earlier centuries. Trade activity still active of course, as Norman mentioned, and the guard at least may have come from a maritime weapon with rack number so associated.
All speculative, but of course, fun to imagine.
Attached Images
 
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st June 2024, 06:00 PM   #8
piratelady
Member
 
Join Date: May 2024
Posts: 3
Default

Jim; You would be correct with the pirate connection. I actually own a pirate museum in Florida. This sword came in with a 19th century Thomas & Co British Naval Boarding Axe, dated 1898. These were the only 2 weapons in a very small sale. So I assume the estate they came from had something to do with a person in the navy. So the assumption that the sword was from some type of sea service would make sense.
piratelady is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st June 2024, 08:46 PM   #9
Radboud
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 249
Default

Gentlemen, letís remain objective with eyes wide open before we jump into seeing pirate treasure around every corner.

What do we know?
The hilt is most certainly a late version from one of the blucher m1811 family. Late because, as Jim notes it has the narrow langets. This style of sabre was in service with the German Army from about 1848 to the beginning of WWII. It has also been used by other nations (it might still be in service as a dress sword).

Of note is that there are no markings on the hilt. If it saw German service we would expect to see unit markings on the guard along the bottom of the langet. The number we see on the bottom of the knuckle bow is very close to the peen and on the original sword would have been hidden by the pommel cap. This points to it being a manufacturers number, later German swords like the IOD89 had individual parts numbered to keep them together during assembly or repair.

Blucher sabres 1809 - 1945:
Name:  IMG_7548.jpg
Views: 415
Size:  161.1 KB

Reichswehr ArtillerieSabel n/A 1914-1945:
Name:  IMG_7549.jpg
Views: 408
Size:  123.3 KB

According to the article these photos are from, the main difference between the new artillerie sabre and the earlier ones is the removal of the hole for the sword knot sometime during WWI. As Jim has noted, the sword hole for the sword knot in this guard is smaller than the standard ones; this could indicate later production or service with another nation.

The blade.
This is an interesting one. I agree that my first instinct was also late 18th Cent based on the fullers running to the tip. But the full length narrow fuller also reminded me of the m1845. However now that we know that it is very short, 24 inch, (about 60cm?) I suspect it could have come from a hunting hanger, or a blade that has been cut down. Iíd want better photos of the tip before making a call on that.

Unfortunately, hunting hangers were civilian so came with a vast array of different blade types so this one could be anywhere from 18th Cent to late 19th Cent, we just canít be certain without markings and better photos.

The grip.
This one is the deal breaker for me and marks this as a newer assembly, itís too fresh for 19th Cent. There is considerable Ďpatinaí on the blade and guard. With such neglect I would expect to see much darker wood with chips and cracks in it. None of that is present here. However it has been assembled with care and they have clearly been together for a long time, but we are now in the 2020ís even something assembled in the 1940s or 60s was 60-80 years ago, plenty of time for something to show signs of age.

All that to remind us to remember to apply Occam's Razor to these situations, when presented with multiple assumptions, the simplest is most often the correct one.

But while we are running thought experiments, I think this is a WWI era trench raiders knife / sword made from a broken French officers sword and a German hilt.
Radboud is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd June 2024, 12:15 AM   #10
kronckew
Member
 
kronckew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Room 101, Glos. UK
Posts: 4,163
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick View Post
Hi,
... The M1845 French infantry sword has a quill point style blade which is very different from the posters blade. ...
My 1845 quill pointed Frenchy for illustration:
Attached Images
  
kronckew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd June 2024, 01:40 AM   #11
Radboud
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 249
Default

Thanks for posting your sword Kronckew, out of interest would it be possible posting a photo of the blade with a ruler showing the profile at the 24 inch mark?

The French m1845 I had the opportunity to measure had a 77cm blade, the posters is 60cm so itís some half a foot shorter. If, and I mean that is as possibility not a statement of fact, it has been shortened then the quill point of the m1845 is irrelevant.
Radboud is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd June 2024, 03:53 AM   #12
Jim McDougall
Arms Historian
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 9,844
Default

Radboud, that was my comment mentioning pirates, and intended only to note the regions I was considering as possible for this composite piece referring to the historic pirate connections and entirely with respect to Pirate Lady's intriguing psuedonym.
Obviously I did not intend to imply this is a pirate weapon, nor anything to do with buried treasure.

I do appreciate your ratiocination and well described detail on the Blucher sabels which does seem applicable to the guard, and good observations on the blade as well as the markings. I am inclined to agree on the numbers as placed possibly being manufacturers assembly related as unit markings tend to include other letter indicators along with the numbers.

However it does seem that maritime weapons do sometimes simply carry numbers, whose meaning has long since been lost. On some British cutlass blades (M1814), some have simple numbers such as 24 or 27 etc. Not sure what these numerics mean.

Thanks so much for the elucidation, and reminder about Occams Razor (I didnt even have to look it up!) Your wisdom and guidance in the discussion of weapons being investigated is admirable and most helpful, guess we're never too old to learn.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd June 2024, 11:19 AM   #13
werecow
Member
 
werecow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Leiden, NL
Posts: 463
Default

The peen is very clean compared to the rest of the sword and looks quite recent. So either the assembly is recent or the sword has been re-peened in the not too distant past.
werecow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd June 2024, 04:00 PM   #14
Norman McCormick
Member
 
Norman McCormick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,589
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by werecow View Post
The peen is very clean compared to the rest of the sword and looks quite recent. So either the assembly is recent or the sword has been re-peened in the not too distant past.
Hi,
It looks like someone has cleaned an area to reveal the numbers and in doing so has rubbed part of the peen. The peen does have an area of patina left so I still don't think the assembly is too recent.
Regards,
Norman.
Norman McCormick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd June 2024, 04:39 PM   #15
Norman McCormick
Member
 
Norman McCormick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,589
Default

Hi,
Attached photo of a Silver Hilted Hanger C1775, a French Petits Montmorency C1778/82 (I.D Musee De L'armee), an M1845 French Infantry sword. The posters sword blade has a large fuller extending all the way to the tip and the smaller fuller terminating approx 2/3rds of the down from the hilt similar in all ways to the Silver Hilted Hanger shown. In the Petits Montmorency blade the large fuller is much wider and terminates before the tip, these features are also evident in another Montmorency blade I have. The M1845 has a small fuller which extends to the tip therefore if a cut down blade of this type was used the small fuller would also extend to the tip which it doesn't do on the posters blade. The 1845 blade is also actually relatively straight which to me doesn't equate with the mild curve on the posters blade.
I hope this shows a bit more clearly my thinking re the blade.
My Regards,
Norman.
Attached Images
 

Last edited by Norman McCormick; 22nd June 2024 at 04:52 PM.
Norman McCormick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd June 2024, 09:20 PM   #16
Radboud
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 249
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick View Post
Hi,
It looks like someone has cleaned an area to reveal the numbers and in doing so has rubbed part of the peen. The peen does have an area of patina left so I still don't think the assembly is too recent.
Regards,
Norman.
Itís something that bothered me about the peen earlier. The area around the end of the knuckle guard should exhibit less pitting than the rest of the guard. Since it would originally have been covered by the pommel cap and less exposed to the elements. Now that I look closer, it does look like the metal is marginally cleaner than the rest. However the bad lighting on the picture makes it difficult to be conclusive.

At least the pitting inside the No. 13 appears to be consistent with the surrounding metal so it is likely original to the blade, re-enforcing that itís a manufacturersí mark.

I agree with Werecow, the peen is significantly brighter than the surrounding area (as is the brass insert) and I donít see any signs of polishing around it to suggest the area has received any additional cleaning.
Radboud is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd June 2024, 02:52 PM   #17
Norman McCormick
Member
 
Norman McCormick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,589
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radboud View Post
I
I agree with Werecow, the peen is significantly brighter than the surrounding area (as is the brass insert) and I don’t see any signs of polishing around it to suggest the area has received any additional cleaning.
Hi,
I still think someone has tried to reveal the the numbers more clearly by cleaning as the proud areas around the numbers have lost their patina but I guess we will have to agree to disagree. Perhaps the poster could clarify as to whether they got the piece like this or they attempted to see the number better. Where the tang button is slightly below the level of the backstop it still has patina. It seems obvious that this sword has been constructed from disparate elements but whether to deceive or to use is anyones guess. I reckon though that if assembled to deceive it was a poor choice of guard. Many of the German states used this type of guard throughout the 19thC and into the 20thC for Artillery/Cavalry swords etc., although the later ones almost always seem to have plenty of stamps for I.D. To choose a recognisable guard style that does not match the period of the blade seems odd if to deceive was indeed the aim so perhaps it was cobbled together for use, who knows.
My Regards,
Norman.
Norman McCormick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd June 2024, 03:56 PM   #18
Jim McDougall
Arms Historian
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 9,844
Default

I think you guys have carried out a remarkable forensics discussion and observations on this interesting sword, and am inclined to follow Norman's take on its character and obvious disparate assembly.

These kinds of ersatz weapons were notoriously known in colonial regions and trade entrepot's due to the maritime presence which of course prevailed for supply. As trade vessels were of course privately owned and syndicated, the arms aboard were invariably privately purchased, and given those circumstances were often assembled from component parts which had become available through many situations.
The notion of all 'cutlasses' having stout curved blades, shell guards and of course the entire shipboard melee are mostly products of embellished pirate lore have naturally led to the virtually cliche' visions often followed by the general public.

The reason I brought up piracy in the first place was to recognize the 'historic' maritime character of the later German colonized areas I personally was considering as possible region for this sword. ...and the MUCH earlier history there only toward the clearly present interest of the lady posting.
The point was that heavy maritime activity and trade still prevailed there and the character of the sword components aligned accordingly.

I recently acquired a 'cutlass' which was of components of an apparent British regulation cutlass blade (c. 1815) and a mid 18th century British hanger guard (with shell) and seems to be associated with the British presence in the Spanish Caribbean c. 1820-30, and of course PRIVATEERS, which of course are often collectively incorporated into pirate themes.
Simply another example of the assembled weapons often found in maritime context and in colonial regions.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 01:59 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.