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Anders Backlund




Location: Sweden
Joined: 24 Oct 2007

Posts: 629

PostPosted: Mon 20 Jul, 2009 7:55 am    Post subject: Info request: Hafström's contruction?         Reply with quote

I'm curious about a specific type of military sword - a type of backsword I've seen in two different Swedish books on antique weapons.

They have a saber-style hilt and a peculiar blade shape: straight back, spear tip and an edge that flares dramatically towards the last third of the blade where you usually find the sweet spot. It sort of resembles the rounder type of flyssa except longer and with the typical broad fuller you find on late European swords.

One of the books referred to it as being of "Hafströms Konstruktion." I believe they're from the early 19th century. They were definitely used within the Swedish military.

Thing is, I've never ever seen or heard of these swords anywhere else, and I can't find a decent picture on the internet. Are they that rare? Hafström sounds like a Swedish name, so I'm guessing it's a Swedish innovation. Was it used in other countries?

Any information about this mysterious weapon is appreciated.

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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J. Johansson




Location: Sweden
Joined: 07 Jun 2009

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Mon 20 Jul, 2009 8:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You mean this kind (see attachment)?

I've seen this shape on some auctions here and there in my life.



 Attachment: 50.93 KB
[ Download ]
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Anders Backlund




Location: Sweden
Joined: 24 Oct 2007

Posts: 629

PostPosted: Mon 20 Jul, 2009 10:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J. Johansson wrote:
You mean this kind (see attachment)?

I've seen this shape on some auctions here and there in my life.


Yeah, seems to be a cutlass version, though I do have a hard time telling from that angle.

I've now managed to find some info, actually, Apparently the Hafström in question was a Lieutenant Jonas August Hafström. He seems to have designed several other weapons as well.

Also, I finally found a good picture:



It's the second one from the bottom.

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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Kjell Magnusson




Location: Sweden
Joined: 10 Jun 2004

Posts: 123

PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2009 11:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonas August Hafström (possibly 1810-1880) seems to have designed a number of blades of the same basic style for the Swedish armed forces in the 19th century, the first one to be adopted that I know of being the m/1838 for the navy's cannoneer corps ("flottans kanonjärkår"), and the last one being the m/1885 cutlass for (naval) "underofficerskorpal". Rank-wise there's variants for all levels from trooper to general.

I have tried looking a round a bit for similar weapons from other western European countries, and so far it seems to be a pretty exclusively Swedish thing, though my sources there could be a lot better. The closest to be found is by and large the "yatagan"-style bayonets which appeared for a while, but they lack the straight spine of the Hafström style.

There's also some Hafström swords around which carry the coat of arms of Stockholm on the guard, these are generally attributed to Stockholm's police, though I have seen Stockholm's citizen militia mentioned once as well.

I haven't found anything regarding any possible sources of inspiration for Hafström. Flyssa, yatagan, kukri, a bronze age leafblade split in two? Quite possibly it has been lost to history.

As for Hafström himself, he seems to have served at Svea Artilleriregemente, and held the rank of lieutenant in 1839.



 Attachment: 143.02 KB
My collection, including two Hafström blades. Third from the top we have the army's fascine knife m/1848, and fifth is one of the Stockholm sabers. [ Download ]

 Attachment: 71.35 KB
Saber carried by general S. Lagerberg, 1860's. On display in the Army Museum in Stockholm. [ Download ]
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Anders Backlund




Location: Sweden
Joined: 24 Oct 2007

Posts: 629

PostPosted: Thu 30 Jul, 2009 8:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kjell Magnusson wrote:
J
I have tried looking a round a bit for similar weapons from other western European countries, and so far it seems to be a pretty exclusively Swedish thing, though my sources there could be a lot better. The closest to be found is by and large the "yatagan"-style bayonets which appeared for a while, but they lack the straight spine of the Hafström style.


Which is pretty cool, actually. This might be the first exclusively Swedish sword-type I've ever heard of.

I think I'd like to own one for purely patriotic reasons. Happy

Quote:
I haven't found anything regarding any possible sources of inspiration for Hafström. Flyssa, yatagan, kukri, a bronze age leafblade split in two? Quite possibly it has been lost to history.


It is kind of a mystery, isn't it? I'd love to know how he reasoned and what the reactions to this sword were when he presented it.

Quote:
As for Hafström himself, he seems to have served at Svea Artilleriregemente, and held the rank of lieutenant in 1839.


From what I've managed to dig up since making this thread, seems that in 1839 Hafström was ordered by the Swedish crown to design a new saber for the dragoon and hussar cavalry regiments. Originally it was supposed to be a collaboration with a certain Captain Liljencrantz of the riding lifeguards, and they were supposed to produce two models. However, only one model was made and apparently Havström designed it all on his own.

Seems like something went a bit wrong with the collaboration, there.

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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