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Glen A Cleeton

Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,972

PostPosted: Sun 08 Jan, 2012 12:02 pm    Post subject: Sabers/Sabres Old and New         Reply with quote

While spadroons and other shorter straight swords seem to get most of my attention, I have accumulated an odd dozen or so curvy ones with most in the antique bracket.

I had though bought an India made saber for hacking at stuff and play foot officer. I had ended up selecting a reproduction of a confederate sword more for it's specifications than for any association, I simply found too few narrower and shorter swords that could bridge a bit of a gap in what I was looking for in swordplay. I did not want a cavalry sword for cutting and general fooling around with sabre drills.

That said, here are both quick vertical and horizontal shots of my mess. I have other shots of them individually if there is interest of a particular piece for further information. I guess top to bottom is the best way to list them and they are not in a chronological stack. The wee eagle pommel on the side is a late fraternal piece, possibly for an adolescent wing of the Patriotic Sons Of America.

Click these for bigger pics.

At the top a rather ubiquitous generic Prussian made "wristbreaker" of the French 1822 vein which became the standard American patterns both before, during and after the American Civil War.

The next an eagle pommel from the late 18th century listed now in books as by Francis Thurkle in England. In Peterson's old bible of American swords, it was listed as likely U.S.made but we know better now. It had been charred badly either in a fire or over a fireplace. I have cleaned up the hilt, which is ivory and the hilt heavy with gilt. Usually listed as mounted artillery.

The next eagle figure the 1830s and Solingen, probably Knecht. I can't quite make out the name under the langet. A foot officer length, this brass hilt (dark uncleaned) might best be regarded as an artillery piece. Swords were most often private purchase though, so fair game in any service up until the later 1800s.

The blue&gilt sabre also of foot artillery size and marked to the Berger family of the Alsace are. Some Bergers are marked to Paris but I believe they were all made in the Alsace forges/shops. My thoughts are that it is post the 1812 period and as late as the 1830s but I am not positive.

The two hussar hilts next represent the last half of the 18th century with the big one probably Swedish and of the 1750 timeline. The smaller one sized for footwork and typical of the 1788 and later swords with these hilt. The smaller oine likely all British with the big boy having a German makers mark.

The two eagles in the middle, also of the foot artillery/naval size with no blade decorations at all and horn grips. They are generally regarded as junior officer/nco pieces and the scabbarded one a Ketland head with the bare blade a "weeping eagle" Osborn pommel. Both British through and through. Ironically, some sword trade between England and America lasted throughout the 1812 conflict with barrels and trunks of swords being shipped and manifested as umbrellas and canes.

The longer brass hilt below those a typical mounted artillery piece from the Solingen side of trade. This is actually the most recent purchase and one I had bought specifically to play with and do some cutting. Sound as a bell, it did do some cutting at the last outing and it needs some more edge work but is quite a bit of fun. A compatriot was comparing its ability to equaling his Cold Steel 1796 that he has ground on a bit. The old sword is just so much livelier that the speed brings up the cutting capability up. Practice helps to.

The next a late 1840s or 1850s Bavarian infantry piece etched to Maximilian of Bavaria, following Ludwig's reign. White brass for the hilt and nicely etched with stands of arms and foliage. The langet rather unique to some other Bavarian swords I have encountered. There is a bit of a saga, I have worked on for those.

A rather common and inexpensive American 1902 sword for all officers to represent the last century of American sword development. A cadet grade sword. Nothing particularly special about it but these 1902s are a great way to start with an American collection as being plentiful and cheap. Even cheaper without a scabbard, which is how I came into mine.

Next a rather obscure folding guard 20th century naval eagle pommel by Horster of Germany. I am blaming Romania but am getting resistance from collectors about that. The eagle itself is very much like the WWII Italian air force swords but this has an anchor and did have a white grip (which is currently in black). A parts sword that I did some work on and is a lot of fun as a flyweight.

At the bottom my reproduction College Hill foot officer sword with a 32" blade. A good bit narrower than the cavalry reproductions and the blade suffers as most of the reproductions as having a rather lackluster mass distribution and distal taper. Still, sharp and when I do my end, I have managed to cut stuff up to mats but I have gone out of practice in recovery (I'm working on that though).

Click for bigger

Anyway, my pile of long curvy stuff. I've more shots and info for these if interested.


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Lewis Ballard

Location: Houston, TX
Joined: 27 Dec 2009

Posts: 66

PostPosted: Wed 11 Jan, 2012 8:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hard to believe there's been no love for the sabers yet this year, Glen. For some reason the folding guard Horster is exciting memories of reading A Princess of Mars many, many years ago. The wrist breaker certainly overwhelms the others in stature. A lovely collection. For the life of me, I cannot understand why the cavalry saber does not attract more attention.
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Glen A Cleeton

Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,972

PostPosted: Wed 11 Jan, 2012 9:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply Lewis

The little Horster is a delightful little sword and was more or less parts when I found it along with the diminutive eagle sabre. The blade is really wafer thin at the foible and quite flexible. The grind is so thin that it really does have some sharpness on both sides, with the back edge sharp back to the fuller.

We have had some nice 18th and 19th century threads here and I had once pointed a group of all my straight jobs and the post over last weekend was more or less for something to view.

We have actually had the wristbreaker out to play at cutting mats a couple of times but I had never really gotten serious about making it much sharper. It was sharp from the factory, as far s I can tell. The brass hilted mounted artillery sword is getting sharper when I get to it. It was doing about as well as a tuned up Cold Steel 1796 that had been further ground. The handling though is still the difference between night and day. One of the shorter eagle artillery swords came to me abused and scary sharp. I had polished it out nicely and actually dulled it a bit as it was dangerous to handle. I have hacked up some boxes with it a few times.

The 1750ish hussar is quite sharp from the get go as well.

The generic 1840 is about a pound heavier than most of the others and one thing about enthusiasts wanting cavalry swords for back yard fun need to keep in mind that the big ones were never really meant for melee on foot. Last time out as a group with others, one mentioned he really was out of practice with one hand cutting. That gets amplified as weight goes up.

More of the Horster attached below from when I had found it. The grip was once white and it had come missing a nut to hold it together. I chased the threads a bit and used a cutlery nut from an old parts knife. It is a sword that feels virtually weightless but still over a pound.

A lot of swords I get are on the cheap as having issues. Some of those have been through the mill a bit in polishing out bad scars, rust removal in general and not just a few grip repairs. I will probably return the Horster to white once I find the crown nut that originally held it together The white had been stripped off of the sharkskin and just painted flat black lacquer (lightly, so as not to plug up the texture). Regular old shoe white will probably work, or office White-Out.

I have actually tried out this hilt on a variety of blades but have always left it back as it belongs. I have a slim Del Tin that slides right into the fit. Then aadd it's cruciform parts to the sabre blade......nah.. I just can't. Wink



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This is the flex from the weight of the sword while held at the tip.
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Glen A Cleeton

Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,972

PostPosted: Wed 11 Jan, 2012 10:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The 1840 cavalry was a bit of a project as well, as it was kind of encrusted in what was probably years of dust and soot over a fireplace. That one came from Fagan Arms at about a normal range for these generics but I could tell the blade was bright and the grip relatively sound. I spent a lot of time on the brass to remove the crust while not buffing it shiny bright. The grip leather got treated with Pecard's antique grease, which some are concerned about long term but I have had nothing fall apart yet in several other applications.

The blade was/is sharp as mentioned. As it is entirely unmarked aside from some numbers, there is no way to say it was absolutely an import for the war years but this is true of all the generics without makers marks. It is though the same dimensions as the American specifications for the genre, making them shorter overall than the continental French 1822s.

The "wristbreaker" nickname has a couple of stories and excuses but approaching my own quite objectivey, well, it feels just like a sword to me Wink I think some of its legacy in name is due to that the previous US standard was along the lines of the lighter British patterns aka the 1833 dragoons of fame. The two types, really diffrent animals in the world of sabres.

I guess I kind of just needed one to round out my tastes and is probably amongst the most expendable and replaceable. Sound unmessed with is getting harder to find though.

Some shots of the piece before work at Glen's little shop of horrors and an after out in public.



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Jonathan Hopkins

PostPosted: Fri 13 Jan, 2012 7:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Do you have a favorite? Happy
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Glen A Cleeton

Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,972

PostPosted: Fri 13 Jan, 2012 10:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Hopkins wrote:
Do you have a favorite? Happy

Since i know you know I cuddle with swords, it will likely be the next one.

The Bavarian Maximilian is still front and center from my visual perspective. A story of two Maximilians. A crazy coincidence but shows their time in history is that if I overlay the second eagle from the top over the Maximilian, the grip and pommel contours match quite closely despite the sleek deco (while almost first empire) vs eagle pommel. I recently took a quick snapshot of one wall here and you'll see the Bavarian poised vertical on top of the light switch next to the door, ready to go/handle.


I still covet/favor spadroons more


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Pauli Vennervirta

Joined: 12 Mar 2009
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Posts: 61

PostPosted: Sat 14 Jan, 2012 5:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

How beautiful sabres! It is a real shame that there is such a lack of good training sabres. I have thought of getting a reasonably priced repro and grind the blade blunt, tried that with a Windlass but the results were not satisfactory.
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Jonathan Hopkins

PostPosted: Sat 14 Jan, 2012 10:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is probably my favorite of your 19th century sabers, too. It is really unique and, IIRC, has provided some enjoyable research. The giant Scandinavian hussar sword is probably my overall favorite, though. Have you ever come across another one like it?

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Glen A Cleeton

Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,972

PostPosted: Sat 14 Jan, 2012 12:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Jonathan

The Maximilian is probably still of prime interest in that I still don't have all the answers on the langet style. Seemingly short lived and only on swords of the Bavarian kings. I had put together a beginning of the research here with more pictures.

I spent some due time with trying to understand the politics and history of the area and ended up more or less ploughing through texts about local histories that led me astray in interesting anecdotes but no real leads on the langets and swords marked to the kings. As this sword is plainer than the quite impressive examples, I am somewhat of the mind they may have been a lot for guards of a court or schloss.

The big hussar seems to be similar to other swords of that area and timeline but no identical twins twins have surfaced. That one was really my first big sabre and certainly the oldest of the pack even now. I am brain dead at times or could remember what someone else here mentioned as in line with a certain Swedish model of that era. That was my first trans Atlantic purchase as well. The blade appears to have the crowned king of the Wundes family before selling it to the Weyersburgs. It is an incredibly well maintained sword for its 260 +- years age. Jeff Forgeng of the Higgins had some time to look at it for me and found some similar in the labrary books. One book about six inches thick (I don't remember the title).



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Shahril Dzulkifli

Location: Malaysia
Joined: 13 Dec 2007
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Posts: 1,265

PostPosted: Tue 31 Jan, 2012 5:41 pm    Post subject: Sabers/Sabres Old and New         Reply with quote

So that's a Maximilian sword hanging between the door and the T.V. (Just for my identification, that's all)
Nice arms collection, Glen.

“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength”

- Marcus Aurelius
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Glen A Cleeton

Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,972

PostPosted: Tue 31 Jan, 2012 6:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So that's a Maximilian sword ......

As written in the initial post and more in the linked thread regarding the sword.

Maximilian in two senses of the name as the blade is etched to the king of Bavaria Maximilian II, who reigned from his father's abdication in 1848 until his death in 1864. The other attribution to a different Maximilian due to the sunflower etched on the blade and as showing the apparently uniquely Bavarian langets of the petals. Part of what I wrote in the thread there includes

The sunflower though turns out to be for the Maximilian sunflower and that brings up an entirely different Maximilian, Prince zu Wied-Neuwied. This fellow was an interesting character that explored both south and north America. During his North American expedition, one of the botany items becomes now in modern days known as the Maximilian sunflower
(Helianthus maximilianii)

One of many links for the prince and illustrator Bodmer might begin on one such as

So too many Maximilians when considering the popularity of the name and all the German states involved. MaxII was Ludwig's kid and Ludwig II"s father. Ludwig II had a Prussian mum and the family histories are as difficult to follow at times as the alliances with Austria over Prussia, then in the end overthrown as "mad". That was later after squandering his own debts on making homes such as Neuschwanstein. However, that was later in Ludwig II's life.

Contemporary to the reign in Bavaria, during the 1860s you have Maximilian I (Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph), who tried out a hat as emperor of Mexico. That didn't work out so well Wink


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Jonathan Hopkins

PostPosted: Tue 31 Jan, 2012 7:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is a very interesting connection between the Maximilians and the sunflower. I am often quick to dismiss imagery like this as having any meaning beyond decoration, but it appears there is a link in this case. Well done!

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