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R Brown




Location: Wiltshire, UK
Joined: 09 Feb 2011

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed 09 Feb, 2011 10:25 am    Post subject: What's this and what should I do to conserve it?         Reply with quote

Hi, I've just joined the forum today because yesterday when clearing out my deceased father in laws garage I found an old sword. It's about 24 inches long, the handle (excuse my lack of knowledge of the correct terminology!) is about 6 inches long and looks like it's brass. The blade is double edged and a bit rustybut has a very feint marking near the top.

I've seen a picture of something similar but single edged during a bit of research which is a British Pattern Private's Hanger from 1855ish. But not sure if this is the same due to it's double edged nature.

Question 1, what is it? Question 2, should I clean it or leave it as it is

Thanks in advance to anyone who can shed some light on it.

Rich



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Very feint marking on blade under rust [ Download ]
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
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Posts: 2,229

PostPosted: Wed 09 Feb, 2011 10:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It looks like an artillery sword but I don't know what year or anything...
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Malcolm A




Location: Scotland, UK
Joined: 22 Mar 2005

Posts: 89

PostPosted: Wed 09 Feb, 2011 10:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To R Brown
I noticed that the picture in your post was almost identical to a sword I saw in a book I have, namely:

"The World Encyclopedia of Swords and Sabres"
Author; Harvey JS Withers
Publisher; Hermes House

On page 206 it shows basically the same sword with a solid brass, ribbed grip.
It is listed as a French artilleryman's short sword, Model 1831 and 25 inches long overall.
The one in the book has an anchor mark on the blade and the author suggests that it was carried by soldiers in the marine artillery.
He also states that it was known as a "cabbage chopper" and was unlikely to have been used in combat.

I would suggest you not clean it until you hear from other, wiser people in this forum; you will get some excellent advice on what and what not to do.
I would also suggest you take time to explore this wonderful website- it is awesome

Cheers

It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom -- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,820

PostPosted: Wed 09 Feb, 2011 11:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
On page 206 it shows basically the same sword with a solid brass, ribbed grip.
It is listed as a French artilleryman's short sword, Model 1831 and 25 inches long overall.


Not to be too argumentative and Harvey Withers is a good guy...but the French 1816 types were the artillery swords while the 1831pattern are infantry swords. The sword pictured above has a much narrower blade than the leaf blade shape of the French 1831 infantry swords. The British land transport swords were typically single edge but there have been notice of double edged varieties. The basic pattern is another not uncommon in other countries as well but in the case of French 1831 vs British Land Transport, they are more different than just the basic blade profiles.the French 1816 artillery sowrds are what American drew on for their 1832 pattern with the fish scale looking grips instead of the concentric circles.

Cheers

GC
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R Brown




Location: Wiltshire, UK
Joined: 09 Feb 2011

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed 09 Feb, 2011 11:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hmm...interesting stuff so far. Thank you. The blade is quite narrow and the edges are parallel to within about 4 inches of the tip. (haven't taken a picture of the whole thing yet). I guess being able to see the mark on the blade would help but there is a fair amount of rust on it. I can't see any other markings other than the one barely visible in the picture.

Rich
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Wed 09 Feb, 2011 4:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

R Brown wrote:
Hmm...interesting stuff so far. Thank you. The blade is quite narrow and the edges are parallel to within about 4 inches of the tip. (haven't taken a picture of the whole thing yet). I guess being able to see the mark on the blade would help but there is a fair amount of rust on it. I can't see any other markings other than the one barely visible in the picture.

Rich


The handle sure look like the infantry swords mentioned but maybe the blade was replaced at some point in time for some reason?

It does look narrow bladed to me and this is just wild speculation that the blade may have been replaced to use as a practice or stage prop sword sometime in the later 19th century ?

Oh, and welcome to the site and I hope someone can give you a more certain answer to your question.

Maybe some more pics might help ?

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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R Brown




Location: Wiltshire, UK
Joined: 09 Feb 2011

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu 10 Feb, 2011 2:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's a few more pics of the sword, weather is really dull here today so they're taken with flash which doesn't help.

I'm intirgued by the idea that it may have been rebladed at some point...I wouldn't have wanted to be on stage with it as a prop though, you could certainly have more than someones eye out with it! The blade is also double edged and very sharp along both edges although the ridge along its length isn't very pronounced.

I shone a strong light across the marking last night and get the feeling there's the words '...& co Chatham' on it. Which would indicate it being English. The writing is right way up as you hold the grip with the point facing away.

RIch



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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
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Spotlight topics: 5
Posts: 8,172

PostPosted: Thu 10 Feb, 2011 2:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

R Brown wrote:

The blade is also double edged and very sharp along both edges although the ridge along its length isn't very pronounced.


RIch


Well if it's very sharp then it's probably not a stage prop but maybe at some point someone liked the hilt and had a good blade and decided to put them together: An infantry sword wouldn't have had much value in period, or even not that expensive recently or even today, so that " cannibalizing " the handle to use with a better or preferred blade could have been done for a variety of reasons ? An upgrade to a better blade, a later collector doing a little creative mix and matching ?

Again, just " guesses " here: A special run using a different blade to meet a clients specifications for a specific regiment ?

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,820

PostPosted: Thu 10 Feb, 2011 6:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As mentioned, quite like a British Land Transport sergeants sword. The blade looks original to the hilt and double edged blades have been encountered while the single edge varieties more the norm.

Hebbert & Co maybe?

A blurb from the Old Swords site listing

One of the most difficult of British Army Swords to acquire, this sword was based on the gladius style of sword which was very popular in both European and US swords during that period. Unlike most armies, Britain did not take up this type of sword in a big way and it was issued in only very small numbers to wagon drivers. What distinguishes this from the other gladius swords, is that it has a long thin blade as opposed to the more broader blades found on French and continental examples. Most of these British swords were made under contract in Germany and imported; some blades are marked with company marks such as Kirschbaum or left completely blank.

There are a great variety of the basic hilt profile as mentioned but most signs do point to it being a British Land Transport sword.

As to conservation, you could do worse that starting by just wiping it down with a soft cloth and light oil. There is a very good conservation primer written up by Mark McMorrow of Sword Forum International.
http://swordforum.com/articles/ams/conservation.php


There are also a number of tips and articles that may apply on the front page here at myArmoury.

Simple searches on the internet for sword conservation will result in any number of methods. My own have been both harsh and delicate depending on the depth of cause and effect.

Cheers

GC
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R Brown




Location: Wiltshire, UK
Joined: 09 Feb 2011

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu 10 Feb, 2011 9:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is getting fascinating...I can see why people collect swords now, there's an awful lot of history wrapped up in items like these. From what I can gather it was owned by my wife's grandfather who served in the first world war as a boy soldier. He was injured and repatriated for convalescence and went on after the war to be a special constable in the Metropolitan Police in London and then later served as a bodyguard to Winston Churchill. I guess he came by the sword I have now well before WW2. It's just been hidden away ever since.

The obvious question is, is it something that's collectable and has a financial value or best kept as a sentimental item?

Rich
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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Thu 10 Feb, 2011 9:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The blade and scabbard look like they belong to a P1856 musician's sword, and as Glen says the hilt is most like that of the LTC sword. I believe the Land Transport Corps sword is single edged. I don't think your sword is a regulation pattern, but it may represent a regimental variant or be the pattern used by a volunteer or militia regiment, or it could be a police or constabulary sword.

Can you provide any close ups of the etching in better light?
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R Brown




Location: Wiltshire, UK
Joined: 09 Feb 2011

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu 10 Feb, 2011 10:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Hopkins wrote:
The blade and scabbard look like they belong to a P1856 musician's sword, and as Glen says the hilt is most like that of the LTC sword. I believe the Land Transport Corps sword is single edged. I don't think your sword is a regulation pattern, but it may represent a regimental variant or be the pattern used by a volunteer or militia regiment, or it could be a police or constabulary sword.

Can you provide any close ups of the etching in better light?


Interesting you should mention the police connection, we have a photo of my wife's grandad on mounted duty when with the Met, there is a sword visible but its a lot longer and the scabbard is much plainer.

I'll try to get some more detail on the etching tomorrow if the light is better.
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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Thu 10 Feb, 2011 6:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

According to Brian Robson (Swords of the British Army, revised, 1996) there are no known examples of regimentally marked Land Transport Corps Swords. In fact the examples at the National Army Museum which is supposed to be an LTC sword has regimental markings to a volunteer artillery unit. That particular sword, like others attributed to the LTC bears the knight's head mark of Kirschbaum and is single edged.

It may be that your sword is also for a volunteer artillery unit, or possibly even a musician's sword. I think it may remain a mystery!
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,820

PostPosted: Thu 10 Feb, 2011 6:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan,

Any thoughts on Hebbert & Co of Chatham? It is a blurb on Chuck Russell's Arms2Armor id pages where he mentions double edge versions with these hilts. He has one of the bullseye gladius hilts with a toy blade for sale right now. There's a hilt that shows up listed as just about all the possibilities at times and often touted as Confederate (but not). It shows up mated to a number of blade types.

http://arms2armor.com/Swords/brit1855.htm

http://arms2armor.com/store/product892.html

Cheers

GC
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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Thu 10 Feb, 2011 7:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From what I can see of the etching, Hebbert is a possibility (actually the first name that came to mind when I saw it--great minds and all that, Glen Wink ). It is really hard to tell, though. It looks 1860s to me...

Also similar to etching on Parker, Field & Sons who were well-known cutlers of police swords. Still, it is hard to attribute the etching to any one maker. It seems more indicative of a time period from 1850/1870 or so, and found mostly on lower-end swords and swords issued to other-ranks. I would still guess this sword is for a volunteer artillery unit, either for a private or musician.
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R Brown




Location: Wiltshire, UK
Joined: 09 Feb 2011

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sat 12 Feb, 2011 5:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi again, here's a close up of the makers information.

Rich



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R Brown




Location: Wiltshire, UK
Joined: 09 Feb 2011

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2011 5:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So...where would be a good place to have it valued and / or sold in the UK?
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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2011 5:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Rich,
I think it is definitely a sword by Hebbert & Co., Chatham. Hebbert & Co. had branches in several cities between 1850 and 1912. I think your sword would fall into the earlier period; perhaps 1850-1870.

Jonathan
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