Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > The size of "small" swords? Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
M. Eversberg II




Location: California, Maryland, USA
Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Reading list: 3 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,435

PostPosted: Sun 07 Mar, 2010 11:08 pm    Post subject: The size of "small" swords?         Reply with quote

I haven't found much in the way on the length of the smallsword. The only measurements I found are for A&A's, which is 34.75" overall, with a blade 29" long. For a while, I'd been under the impression a "small sword" was about the size of an Olympic style foil, being as small sword fencing was the basis for what eventually became epee (or the one that's not sabre, I know nothing of Olympic fencing).

However, I just discovered A&A's smallsword and realized the blade alone on my Olympic foil (which I'm using to learn smallsword) is longer than the entire A&A smallsword (35" blade on my foil). This prompts me to ask, just how big is a smallsword anyways?

M.

This space for rent or lease.
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger ICQ Number
A. Spanjer




Location: USA
Joined: 26 Apr 2009

Posts: 242

PostPosted: Mon 08 Mar, 2010 5:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The only original smallsword I've ever handled did seem shorter than my foil, but I didn't have time to measure. It was also rather blade heavy, which I thought was odd. I think it was meant more for "wearing around town" than as a serious dueling weapon.

You might find this thread useful: http://www.swordforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=56806

Though I love smallswords, most of my research as of late has been focused on Scottish Basket-Hilts. You're post has sparked my interest in smallswords again.

I'll see what else I can find!

Na sir 's na seachain an cath.
View user's profile Send private message
Bill Grandy
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Alexandria, VA USA
Joined: 25 Aug 2003
Reading list: 43 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 4,146

PostPosted: Mon 08 Mar, 2010 6:25 am    Post subject: Re: The size of "small" swords?         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg II wrote:
I haven't found much in the way on the length of the smallsword. The only measurements I found are for A&A's, which is 34.75" overall, with a blade 29" long. For a while, I'd been under the impression a "small sword" was about the size of an Olympic style foil, being as small sword fencing was the basis for what eventually became epee (or the one that's not sabre, I know nothing of Olympic fencing).

However, I just discovered A&A's smallsword and realized the blade alone on my Olympic foil (which I'm using to learn smallsword) is longer than the entire A&A smallsword (35" blade on my foil). This prompts me to ask, just how big is a smallsword anyways?

M.


Modern sport fencing swords are bigger than typical smallswords. There's a fair amount of range with some being longer than others, but the A&A reproduction is a good example of the general size.

Here's one of my antiques to give you an example:
http://www.myArmoury.com/bill_swor_ant_ss.html?14

For the record, modern Olympic fencing is not directly based on smallsword fencing, no matter how emphatically people will insist that it is. Happy Modern fencing is most directly related to classical fencing, and classical fencing is based off of dueling from the 19th century. The epee is based off of the dueling epee of the era, which didn't even look extremely different from its modern counterpart. You may find the term "epee du combat" used to differentiate between an epee meant for dueling as compared to one meant for practice.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Mon 08 Mar, 2010 6:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael,
I highly recommend George C. Neumann's Swords and Blades of the American Revolution. It contains measurements for most of the items that are illustrated, including small swords.

Jonathan

PS--You should consider going to the Baltimore Show on the weekend of the 20th. There will be small swords there!
View user's profile Send private message
Bryan W.





Joined: 27 Oct 2007

Posts: 198

PostPosted: Mon 08 Mar, 2010 2:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

AVB Norman's books also have some good info in them as well if you can manage to get a hold of them (though they're starting to be reprinted now more often it seems of late thankfully!). As Bill said, the small sword varied considerably in length, blade shape and cross section as well as the guard itself. Obviously there was quite a bit of experimentation in trying to find the perfect sword of the era (such as the colichemarde styled blade to parry rapiers) so of course the period did have influence on the weapon's development and you'll find certain trends in certain time periods but I think you'll find most "typical" pieces somewhere between 28-31 inches in blade length and between 0.8-1.2 pounds (of course someone more educated than I can always correct me. ) which is why you'll find most decent reproductions somewhere in those ranges. It appears the heavier and longer blades are found earlier and sometimes dubbed the "transition rapiers"

Stephen Fisher has some nice scans and pictures of various smallswords in his album on this very site if you wanted to take a glance at a few.
View user's profile Send private message
Tom L.




Location: Toronto, Canada
Joined: 20 Jun 2008

Posts: 31

PostPosted: Mon 08 Mar, 2010 3:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I own an antique smallsword and the blade on my example is 33.5".
I have a cunning plan Mr. B.
View user's profile Send private message
Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Mon 08 Mar, 2010 4:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I own about a half dozen smallswords. They can range from 26 inch blades to 33 inch blades. Depending on what the owner wanted.
inkothemgard!
View user's profile Send private message
Thom R.




Location: Tucson
Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Reading list: 30 books

Posts: 630

PostPosted: Tue 09 Mar, 2010 10:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I went through Neumann last night and noted that of the 25 or so smallswords shown, the range on blade length was 25.5 inches to 34 inches. Most are in the 28-32 range. However, I have seen small sword blades as long as 36 inches before. The length, section (triangular vs lenticular vs diamond), and profile can vary quite a bit. tr
View user's profile Send private message
Bill Grandy
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Alexandria, VA USA
Joined: 25 Aug 2003
Reading list: 43 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 4,146

PostPosted: Tue 09 Mar, 2010 11:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thom R. wrote:
However, I have seen small sword blades as long as 36 inches before. The length, section (triangular vs lenticular vs diamond), and profile can vary quite a bit. tr


That's very true. Italy and Spain seemed to prefer the longer ones throughout the 18th century, whereas France and England seemed to prefer the shorter ones, but even that is a generalization.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
M. Eversberg II




Location: California, Maryland, USA
Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Reading list: 3 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,435

PostPosted: Wed 10 Mar, 2010 9:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the information. I think the one I have will work well enough for my purposes, though I could always cut it down a few inches and secure a plastic button I suppose (they're quite cheap, really).

M.

This space for rent or lease.
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger ICQ Number
Bill Grandy
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Alexandria, VA USA
Joined: 25 Aug 2003
Reading list: 43 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 4,146

PostPosted: Wed 10 Mar, 2010 9:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you're just starting out learning, a foil is good enough for practice purposes until you get something more accurate.
Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
JG Elmslie
Industry Professional



Location: Scotland
Joined: 18 Jun 2009
Reading list: 28 books

Posts: 254

PostPosted: Wed 10 Mar, 2010 10:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

the pair of mid-18th c ones I own, one's dated about 1720, the other dated 1746 or 45, (cant remember which offhand) are 27.5 inches, light hollowground diamond section, and 28.25inches flattened hexhagonal blending into lenticular section respectively.

both have a little wear, and I suspect the longer of the two had the last 1/4 inch chipped off, and re-ground during its working life.
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > The size of "small" swords?
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum