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Rechsteiner Richard





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PostPosted: Fri 05 Nov, 2010 2:54 pm    Post subject: First oriental pattern welded blades, Metallurgical analyses         Reply with quote

Hello

I’m trying to find out when the first oriental (Middle-East, India) pattern-welded blades appear (not crucible steel, e.g. wootz).

And if possible for the different types of blade such as Yatagan’s, Kilic’s, Tulwar, Kindjal, etc..

Are there any metallurgical analyses of such blades? Especially showing differences in the chemical contents (Iron, Carbon, Phosphor, Arsen, Nickel, etc.) in the different layers of forged “iron and steel” bars making up the pattern. I would like to compare this data with information I have from European pattern welded blades.

According to the metallurgical analyses of antique and early medieval West-European
pattern-welded swords that I have collected, I have come to the conclusion that
probably the following 2 types of iron-alloy are responsible for the pattern
found on pattern-welded blades:

1. Difference in the carbon content within the different layers of the blade.
2. Difference in the phosphor levels within the different layers of the blade.

Find following some results of compiled data concerning carbon and phosphor
content of antique and medieval European blades:

-Average carbon content is about 0.20%, extremely rare over 0.5%,
Carbon-difference within layers extremely rare over 0.3%.
-Average phosphor content is about 0.11%, rare 0.3% and over,
Phosphor-difference within layers up to about 0.3%.

Any information and pictures would be helpful.

I hope you could understand my “English”.

Thank you for your help.

Richard R.
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Fri 05 Nov, 2010 6:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There's a nice picture of a Chinese ring-pommel dao in ALex Huagfu's "Iron and Steel Swords of China" (pg 20) that looks pattern-welded. I don't read Chinese, but it's in the Qin/Han chapter, so I'd guess early-mid Han. About mid-Han, there was a big growth in steel-making by decarburisation of cast iron, which was then used in swords etc., often with differential hardening.

Not strictly pattern-welding, but the Chinese were doing the equivalent in bronze weapons even early, using a combination of different bronze alloys to get hard edges and resilient cores. Also bronze and iron weapons of this nature, such as axes with meteoric iron edges and bronze bodies (some examples in Yang Hong, Weapons in Ancient China).

Al-Kindi (English translation in R. G. Hoyland and B. Gilmour, Medieval Islamic Swords and Swordmaking) refers to pattern-welded swords, Frankish (probably generic European, including Rus, Slavs, Vikings) and Sulaymani (Central Asia, likely to be Transoxiana). The book is 9th century.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Bernard Delor




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PostPosted: Fri 19 Nov, 2010 2:07 pm    Post subject: Re: First oriental pattern welded blades, Metallurgical anal         Reply with quote

Rechsteiner Richard wrote:
(...)
-Average carbon content is about 0.20%, extremely rare over 0.5%,

This seems surprisingly low to me, because such a blade could not be hardened (not enough carbon)

Rechsteiner Richard wrote:

Carbon-difference within layers extremely rare over 0.3%.

This might be possible because during forging process, carbon will migrate from the high concentrated layers to the poor concentrated ones.
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Karl Schlesien





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PostPosted: Fri 19 Nov, 2010 4:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Not strictly pattern-welding, but the Chinese were doing the equivalent in bronze weapons even early, using a combination of different bronze alloys to get hard edges and resilient cores. Also bronze and iron weapons of this nature, such as axes with meteoric iron edges and bronze bodies (some examples in Yang Hong, Weapons in Ancient China).


Timo, where can I find other referancse to this process past the book you mention? Are there metalurgical test that I could read more of? Is there descriptions on this process in the book Yang Hong, Weapons in Ancient China?

Tschüß!
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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Sat 20 Nov, 2010 2:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Karl Schlesien wrote:
Quote:
Not strictly pattern-welding, but the Chinese were doing the equivalent in bronze weapons even early, using a combination of different bronze alloys to get hard edges and resilient cores. Also bronze and iron weapons of this nature, such as axes with meteoric iron edges and bronze bodies (some examples in Yang Hong, Weapons in Ancient China).


Timo, where can I find other referancse to this process past the book you mention? Are there metalurgical test that I could read more of? Is there descriptions on this process in the book Yang Hong, Weapons in Ancient China?

Tschüß!


Here's some more information:
http://www.chinahistoryforum.com/index.php?/t...it-really/

Regarding early pattern welding from the Caucasus:
A. Feuerbach, IAMS Journal 25, 27-43 (2005)
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/iams/jour_25/journal.htm
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Karl Schlesien





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PostPosted: Sun 21 Nov, 2010 7:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul, thank you for the links to the sites, they are of much interest to me.


I have done the reading on the sword of King Goujian Lu Cheng of Yue, I now understand how she was made.
I have cast things similar to this in the past. I studied old casting traditions in Japon for the making of bells, the old Shang and Chou processes also. So I am now familiar with how this sword is to be made. Not really that difficult, you loose many before the one that works is acceptable. I believe the tin webbing pattern on the soft bronze core was intentional cast at the same time as was the cutting edges. A interlinking net/spiders web from one cutting edge to the other egde to make for more grip to stabilise the torque from impact. Like lacing your fingers together over a soft item, you can flex the arms and hans without them pulling away from the soft ball under the fingers. The ball takes shock and has compression. Alot is to be expected from just the brief conections between the core and the hard tin/bronze alone!
A hard tin bronze web across the soft core shared by the two edges makes for better structural strength do you not think?
Look at a steel bridge with the cross members from main structure to main structural.
Perhaps I will try one to make in the new year?



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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Nov, 2010 1:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Karl Schlesien wrote:
Quote:
Not strictly pattern-welding, but the Chinese were doing the equivalent in bronze weapons even early, using a combination of different bronze alloys to get hard edges and resilient cores. Also bronze and iron weapons of this nature, such as axes with meteoric iron edges and bronze bodies (some examples in Yang Hong, Weapons in Ancient China).


Timo, where can I find other referancse to this process past the book you mention? Are there metalurgical test that I could read more of? Is there descriptions on this process in the book Yang Hong, Weapons in Ancient China?


There is a little in Yang Hong, but not much. In summary:

Pg 47, 49, Iron-edged axes:

Iron is meteoric iron, about 2mm thick, extends about 1cm into the bronze body. Two axes are shown, both are small. One is about 11cm long, with about 6cm of edge. The other is about 8cm long, edge about 3 cm. How much iron edge has disappeared through corrosion is not known. These are described as too small to serve as symbols of authority or status, too small for practical weapons, so perhaps ritual/religious/cult objects. I disagree that they're too small to use as weapons; even the smaller one could put a 3cm wide and 5cm deep hole in a skull. But they are small. Two larger iron-edged weapons are mentioned that are larger, an axe and a ge. Neither are shown, described, or any details given.

Pg 66, composite bronze jian:

Edges and tip a little over 20% tin, the rest about 15% tin.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Nov, 2010 4:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:


There is a little in Yang Hong, but not much. In summary:

Pg 47, 49, Iron-edged axes:

Iron is meteoric iron, about 2mm thick, extends about 1cm into the bronze body. Two axes are shown, both are small. One is about 11cm long, with about 6cm of edge. The other is about 8cm long, edge about 3 cm. How much iron edge has disappeared through corrosion is not known. Neither are shown, described, or any details given.

Pg 66, composite bronze jian:

Edges and tip a little over 20% tin, the rest about 15% tin.


I am wondering what is considered "pattern welded" in the context of this post?

This is partly personal preference, but pretty common use of the term "pattern welded" .... I don't call composites such as san mai construction "pattern welded." This is because the various layers are not manipulated for highly visible effects in the finished piece that would not otherwise be there without some form of twisting, grinding, etc. that enhance it in a primarily cosmetic way. For example, many smiths still embed hardened tool steel within hand crafted axe edges to create an effective "composite construction." We typically don't call this "pattern welded" though. Many of the migration era European swords and spear pieces exhibit obvious and intensive manipulation of the layers, and very deliberate arrangement of multiple adjacent sections of material that was patterned in different contrasting ways. They are not strictly random, and having worked at this some, I can tell you that it exacts a high level of material investment, planning, and attention to forging, welding, and heat treat steps in order to pull off a result that is good mechanically and cosmetically!

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Bernard Delor




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Nov, 2010 4:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:


I am wondering what is considered "pattern welded" in the context of this post?

This is partly personal preference, but pretty common use of the term "pattern welded" .... I don't call composites such as san mai construction "pattern welded." This is because the various layers are not manipulated for highly visible effects in the finished piece that would not otherwise be there without some form of twisting, grinding, etc. that enhance it in a primarily cosmetic way. For example, many smiths still embed hardened tool steel within hand crafted axe edges to create an effective "composite construction." We typically don't call this "pattern welded" though. Many of the migration era European swords and spear pieces exhibit obvious and intensive manipulation of the layers, and very deliberate arrangement of multiple adjacent sections of material that was patterned in different contrasting ways. They are not strictly random, and having worked at this some, I can tell you that it exacts a high level of material investment, planning, and attention to forging, welding, and heat treat steps in order to pull off a result that is good mechanically and cosmetically!


Well I don't totally agree.
You're right, it's all a question of words, and sometimes "pattern welded" is used to distinguish the steel structure from cruscible steel, the first one being made by forge welding, not the second. So, "pattern welded" could be found, even for simple layered composite steel. Moreover, the more complex structures you're speaking of have their own specific names : twisted patterns, mosaic damascus steel, explosion...
From my point of view, what justifiies the "pattern welded" name is either the fact of multiplying steel layers by folding and welding a number of times, whatever you may do next, or the decorative intention. "Composite" is more likely do be used in cas of multi-parts construction, but not a high number or decorative only layering.
And yes, about the sword structure shown above, this is rather a composite than a pattern welded structure.
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Karl Schlesien





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PostPosted: Mon 22 Nov, 2010 6:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo thank you for the dirrection, it is very helpful.
I have done a lot of bronze casting and I find this technique of interest.

"I am wondering what is considered "pattern welded" in the context of this post? "

I belive this is called the tangential aside, ("The aside element represents content that is tangentially related to the content that forms the main textual flow of a document").
And we have walked off the original subject.
But the road this thread take is very interesting is it not? If there is a problem then may it be split off to another subject.

By my questions I did not wish to "highjack" the orriginal topic.
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Nov, 2010 6:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
I am wondering what is considered "pattern welded" in the context of this post?


These certainly aren't, since they're not welded. Even if they were, welded edge and sanmei would only be pattern welded by the most liberal of definitions.

But I'd say that composite construction of this type is a precursor of composite iron/steel welded construction, which is a precursor of pattern welded construction. The point being if that composite construction predates the iron age in China, one shouldn't be surprised to see very early pattern welded blades from China (e.g., the ring pommel dao I mentioned in my first post).

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Karl Schlesien





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PostPosted: Mon 22 Nov, 2010 6:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So we are back to wootz then. Here is a good place to study old wootz metallurgy.


Sword Forum International > Communities > Bladesmiths, Blacksmiths, Artisans and Professionals > Metallurgical Studies Question and Answer Forum

Tschuss!
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Nov, 2010 8:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:


These certainly aren't, since they're not welded. Even if they were, welded edge and sanmei would only be pattern welded by the most liberal of definitions.

But I'd say that composite construction of this type is a precursor of composite iron/steel welded construction, which is a precursor of pattern welded construction. The point being if that composite construction predates the iron age in China, one shouldn't be surprised to see very early pattern welded blades from China (e.g., the ring pommel dao I mentioned in my first post).


I won't pretend to even know how this prevails. The wootz subject is the most elusive of them all for me. "Pattern welded" in a roughly 500 to 700 year span of European era span is pretty different from most Asian examples. The region of Damascus supposedly overlapped it with great skill, but the number of examples I just happen to be aware of that imply mechanical manipulation of known methods is very few. It is really hard to get any consensus on heuristic reproduction of wootz. Forging technique, and drilling, filling grooves, etc. have an obvious influence, but how it was originally done remains debated. Most modern artisans can't reproduce a specific cosmetic effect with consistency in "chemical wootz" today very despite modern metallurgical knowledge advantages.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Bernard Delor




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Nov, 2010 11:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Back to the original subject of the post : I had no knowledge of these composite bronze swords and I find it really interesting because it demonstrate some "father" technics that probably led to later steel blades construction.
Making multi layers "pattern welded" or composite steelblades was not only for aesthetic reasons, but :
- because of unreliable steel quality, from iron to high carbon steel : making a highly layered steel allows carbon to equally migrate from highly contrated part to less concentrated ones reqsulting in a more stable final composition
- obtaining better mechanical characteristics (steel edges, iron spine....etc), as for japanese or merovingians swords.

The subject of this thread shows that getting the appropriate mechanical characteristics didn't begin with steel technology, it already existed far before and the blacksmith may have adapted traditional existing methods of sword construction to welding. It looks like all had come from China at the begining. Is these any known example of bronze composite construction from other parts of the world ?

I would leave apart the wootz which is quite different, being related to chimical steel composition and physical behaviour.


Last edited by Bernard Delor on Tue 23 Nov, 2010 3:56 am; edited 1 time in total
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Nov, 2010 3:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another precursor of pattern welding that hasn't been mentioned so far is piled construction. Your iron has too little carbon, and you don't do crucible steels, what do you do? Make a bunch of iron sticks and carburise them. Weld them together, and you have something that is close to pattern welded. If the carburised iron sticks weren't all the same - if you mixed carburised rods with rods of different carbon (or phosphorus) content, I'd call it pattern welded (others might say that "straight lines" isn't much of a "pattern").

Piled blades were done in Europe early enough so I'd say that it wasn't introduced from China. Either independently developed in Europe, or introduced along with iron technology from Central Asia (and if so, perhaps also from there to China).

I don't know of any early Chinese piled swords. A bunch of early (Han dynasty) folded steel swords can be seen at http://www.arscives.com/historysteel/cn.steelswords.htm.

Piled construction looks to have been the Indonesian path to pattern welding, and given the time difference between the introduction of pattern welding there as compared to China/Europe, I think it's an independent development. Whether or not piled construction was independently developed there, I don't know. Some very nice pattern welding done there - saw some pics of a beautiful Moro spearhead, twistcore body and high-carbon edges.

Deeply etched piled blades do show patterns, in the form of surface texture. I don't know what they'd look like polished smooth and only lightly etched. Now I know what to do if I break a piled blade! (Maybe I can sacrifice my ugliest piled blade? I need to practice a bit on some pattern welded stuff first.)

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Bernard Delor




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Nov, 2010 3:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Welding multiple pieces of the same material together (I think the english word for this is currying) also leads to layered pattern because the heating for welding causes a surface de-carburation that can then be seen with etching.

For composite bronze swords, do you know if the pattern needs some chemical etching or something of that kind in order to be viewable ?
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Tue 23 Nov, 2010 5:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In "Iron and Steel in Ancient China" Donald B. Wagner has a section of early iron/steel blades from China.

A sword from Pankuang, a long slender early Jian from first or second century AD is analyzed.
Its dimensions:
Total length: 109 cm
Blade length: 88.5 cm
Width/thickness at base: 3.2 / 0.8 cm
Width/thickness at point: 1.1 / 0.3 cm
Tang is 20.5 cm

The overall structure is pearlite + ferrite (not fully hardened - no martensite: the sword was not quench hardened). Dark stripes in the material is 0.6 - 0.7 % C and light stripes about 0.4% C.

Cross section reveal a construction of three layers: outer layers and a central core. The outer layers are striped and composed of layers of steel of higher and lower carbon content. The core is uniformly about 0.7 - 0.8 % C and show some streaks of layers of higher phosphorous content (probably below 0.2%)

It is suggested the higher carbon material was made by fining of pig iron (a method of reducing carbon content in cast iron).

Both the core and the outer layers were made by repeatedly folding and forging of billets. The outer layers were made from materials of varying carbon content, while the core was refined from one pice of material folded and forged in itself.

The sword is inscribed and named "fiftyfold refined". The outer layers are about 60 on each side. The author argues that the fiftyfold refining is a description of the resulting layers from folding and reforging the original material.

This is not really pattern welding, but rather a piled structure. There are many examples of this method of manufacture in sword blades in different areas and periods. The same methods were also used in Europe at an earlier time that has been found examples of in China.
Celtic swords from second or third century BC clearly show a piled structure and make use of both iron, carbon steel and phosphorous iron in similar ways as this Chinese Jian.
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Nov, 2010 4:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bernard Delor wrote:


Well I don't totally agree.
....
From my point of view, what justifiies the "pattern welded" name is either the fact of multiplying steel layers by folding and welding a number of times, whatever you may do next, or the decorative intention. "Composite" is more likely do be used in cas of multi-parts construction, but not a high number or decorative only layering.
And yes, about the sword structure shown above, this is rather a composite than a pattern welded structure.


I agree in principle that what modern smiths call a "straight linear pattern" (as seen on many cutting edges of composite reproductions of migration era styles) takes some skill and control to make, and is prized when it comes out very uniformly and straight. A roughly 160 layer "linear pattern" folding knife was my second purchase as an example of good quality modern "pattern welding". (Doing it with different alloys that highly contrast when etched is not particularly prevalent historically.) However, layering folds and piling layers as seen in metallurgical examination of many blades from early BC Europe through traditional katanas would be so diverse a definition that it would not be useful for much clarification other than "non modern / non homogeneous steel..."

To the best of my knowledge, the term "pattern welded" is less than 100 years old and was established very purposefully by Herbert Maryon to specifically designate historical examples where the layers were manipulated in ways beyond that necessary to create a comparable strength composite out of the same materials. Some similar techniques that may also create interesting designs when etched are still differentiated as something else. http://www.octavia.net/anglosaxon/Patternweldedswords.htm

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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Nov, 2010 7:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The mention of Maryon got me to look at the papers by Maryon that I have here (I don't have the 1948 paper on the Nydam swords where he introduces the term "pattern welding"). In H. maryon et al., "Early Near Eastern Steel Swords", American Journal of Archaeology 65(2), 173-184 (1961), I see, concerning "an iron Luristan short sword", that the blade had "the characteristic structure of wrought steel with layers of differing carbon content and numerous coarse slag particles." This is from a 1/2 cm sample from the centre of the blade. Further, "it was possible to determine that the sword was built up from no less than eleven separate forgings, riveted together." This is from radiography. No further detail is given about this "riveted" part, but the layers are welded.

This particular sword is strange. The grip (or at least, what looks like the grip on the handle) is flattened at right-angles to the blade, rather than being flattened in the plane of the blade. If held so that the blade would be in the usual position, the grip would be wider than its front-to-back depth.

From the decoration, it looks 1st millenium BC. No more precise dating is given.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Karl Schlesien





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PostPosted: Sat 04 Dec, 2010 9:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

"Not strictly pattern-welding, but the Chinese were doing the equivalent in bronze weapons even early, using a combination of different bronze alloys to get hard edges and resilient cores. Also bronze and iron weapons of this nature, such as axes with meteoric iron edges and bronze bodies (some examples in Yang Hong, Weapons in Ancient China). "

The week past I had the great pleasure of looking at one of these composite bronze swords. I was visiting the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto Canada to view the exhibition "The Warrior Emperor and China's Terracotta Army".
They have one of these swords on exhibit and several of the type with the chrome-bronze alloy that do not show corrosion.
The bi-metal sword is not marked as bi-metal but when I know what to look for it is very obvious. You can have as much time to look at these artefacts as you need, the masses just want to watch the television programmes in the exhibits instead of seeing the original objects!

http://www.rom.on.ca/terracottaarmy/en/
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