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M. Eversberg II




Location: California, Maryland, USA
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Jan, 2009 4:58 am    Post subject: The pricker and it's knife         Reply with quote

I have seen on several different reproduction swords a set of "by-knife and pricker", though my knowledge regarding them in historical context is rather limited. I was wondering what the function of the pricker was? I figured it was some kind of simple fork, but I could be dead wrong there.

Also, how often do these turn up on historical pieces, and how often are they mentioned in written works? When do they enter existence as we know it? Do these appear on "military" swords of later period foot soldiers at all, or are they a courtly "decoration"?

M.

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Taylor Ellis




PostPosted: Mon 19 Jan, 2009 5:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think the "pricker" is an awl, such as on the sword I commissioned from Manning Imperial sever years ago:

http://manningimperial.com/item.php?item_id=3...mp;c_id=49

As for the frequency it shows up on antiques, I'm afraid I have no idea. Happy
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Christopher Gregg




Location: Louisville, KY
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Jan, 2009 7:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In most cases, it is a simple one-tined fork. It could be used for other purposes, depending on it's size, design, pointy-ness, etc. The pricker in my A & A Ballock knife set is sharp enough to be used as an awl, but its handle is too small to get much of a grip on for thick leather.

If you think about it, self defense knives/civilian swords are carried on a daily basis, and as such are fulfilling a daily use role. Certainly the accessory knives/pricker carried with them would be more for a daily use purpose. Eating would certainly be the most common need one would have on a daily basis. Also, check the relative size of the grip/handle on most prickers in comparison to their accompanying by-knife. I think you'll see that the pricker has a much smaller handle, while the small by-knife has a regular sized handle for most common small tasks. This idicates to me that the prcker is meant or piercing softer items, such as foods, and not drilling through hard items, such as leather, wood, etc.

Christopher Gregg

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Peter Johnsson
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Location: Storvreta, Sweden
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Jan, 2009 8:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Seeing this object in a set of carving knives used for serving meat (on display at the V&A in London), the "pricker" had a section at the base cut as a very fine file. This set also had a proper fork.
It might actually have been used as a sharpening steel as much as a one tined fork. Perhaps more often.
It makes sense observing the fineness of the edges and the relative softness of the temper. A good steel can do wonders for touching up the edge. If it also doubles as a fork or awl, well so much the better.
My guess is that its primary function would have been that of a sharpening steel, and secondly that of a fork or awl.
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Christopher Gregg




Location: Louisville, KY
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Jan, 2009 8:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good point, Peter. Thanks for that. Sure, the main blade and the by knife would always need a sharpening up before any eating would be done, and the smaller handle would make sense, since running the steel rod over the blade edge doesn't take too much effort.
Christopher Gregg

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Jan, 2009 11:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This has been covered: The medieval pricker
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