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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Fri 02 Aug, 2013 10:21 am    Post subject: 18th Century Cavalry Officer Sword         Reply with quote

This is a rather large cavalry officer's sword that I just acquired. It has been suggested to me that it is Prussian or British. While it is reminiscent of a Prussian Curiassier sword or British Life Guards/Heavy Cavalry Sword, it has doesn't have the boatshell guard that they all have. Also, this sword has full pas de ans. Though I have been told that there were versions of the Prussian Model with Pas De Ans, I haven't seen any pics from my library of it.. I'm assuming it's 1740'.....It is rather lovely though! I really like the rear and forward quillons. Let me know what you think or if you have pics of something like it or have seen something like this.


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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
Joined: 01 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Fri 02 Aug, 2013 11:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To my eyes, it looks like it's been re-hilted...or re-bladed. It's a court sword hilt with a sidesword blade...to me...that is. I may be totally wrong. It's a beautiful little sword....but it just looks.....off. Sorry if my two cents bares no credence. ...McM
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Gottfried P. Doerler




Location: Tyrol, Austria
Joined: 11 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Fri 02 Aug, 2013 11:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

im not so sure about it being prussian cuirassier.
imho they rather carried semi-basket hilts like the one on the photo.



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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Fri 02 Aug, 2013 11:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Moore wrote:
To my eyes, it looks like it's been re-hilted...or re-bladed. It's a court sword hilt with a sidesword blade...to me...that is. I may be totally wrong. It's a beautiful little sword....but it just looks.....off. Sorry if my two cents bares no credence. ...McM


Hmm, anyone else of that opinion? What are the chances that this is a re-hilted sword? Any examples of this as a court sword hilt?

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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Fri 02 Aug, 2013 11:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think it is necessarily re-bladed. I think it was rather usual for officers to have military looking broad blades hilted with fashionable small sword-ish hilts...
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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Fri 02 Aug, 2013 12:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
I don't think it is necessarily re-bladed. I think it was rather usual for officers to have military looking broad blades hilted with fashionable small sword-ish hilts...


That had occurred to me as well....

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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Fri 02 Aug, 2013 7:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A most learned friend of mine pointed out that it could be legitóNorthern Europe and even the Portuguese mounted heavier blades to brass small-sword hilts.
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

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PostPosted: Fri 02 Aug, 2013 7:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It looks very much like a sword I saw a good 20 years ago in Williamsburg, in the DeWitt Wallace collection. It was described as a heavy cavalry broadsword. It stuck in my mind enough that I made my own by hilting a rather clunky Asian-made "Excalibur" blade of the same general shape (no fuller) with a brass 1742 British hanger hilt. Quite a monster to wear with my nice pre-Revolution militia impression, but hey, it met the regulations!

Sorry to say, just a few weeks ago I carved that blade into short Spartan xiphos (still working on the hilt). I have good use for that, but hadn't carried the cavalry sword into action in over a decade. (Hmm, might have worn it to the Pirate Feast once or twice, but it was way too long and heavy for that!) And it really handled like a frying pan! Might get a spearhead or dagger out of the end of the blade that I cut off, too. A worthy legacy for junk blade!

Matthew
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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Fri 02 Aug, 2013 7:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I know I too have seen examples of such beasties myself, but I'm not having any luck in finding pics of them. Anyone have some examples they can share?
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Kjell Magnusson




Location: Sweden
Joined: 10 Jun 2004

Posts: 123

PostPosted: Fri 02 Aug, 2013 10:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

We had a lot of officer's swords here in Sweden in during the 18th century which combined smallsword-style hilts with blades ranging in size all the way up to large cavalry swords. The hilt here doesn't look entirely typical for a Swedish sword though, so my guess is that it's from somewhere else.

I wonder a bit about this specific blade though, looks a bit older than the hilt in style to me, but I only have the vaguest idea of the dates involved here, so I guess the periods of use could overlap to some degree. Another possibility is a working-life rehilt.
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Scott Moore




Location: Maine,USA
Joined: 22 Aug 2006

Posts: 18

PostPosted: Sat 03 Aug, 2013 3:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice Sword! There's an example of a small sword hilt with a similarly broad blade , (albeit unfullered), on page 138 of George Neumann's "Swords and Blades of the American Revolution"..Neumann dates it to 1765-80 and remarks that the style was popular with German officers of the period.
Grip Fast.
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Norman McCormick





Joined: 17 Jan 2007

Posts: 117

PostPosted: Sat 03 Aug, 2013 9:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi,
NIce sword Morgan, all original I would say. Attached images from the Swedish Army Museum, Stockholm, courtesy of Kisak, a poster on another Forum. The following link may also be of interest. http://swordlinks.com/courtswords/p1.html
Regards,
Norman.



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Norman McCormick





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PostPosted: Sat 03 Aug, 2013 9:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Underside of a guard belonging to a 1796 Pattern Sergeants Spadroon which is very much a military fighting sword, the similarities of guard design are clear.
Regards,
Norman.



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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Sat 03 Aug, 2013 10:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies everyone.
Those Swedish swords are beautiful of course. They kept those patterns well into the 19th cen. You sometimes see them on sale as 18th cen. swords. There is a Swedish infantry officer sword on ebay right now as a matter of fact.
Due to my precipitous nature (except when I'm totally procrastinating) I posted about this sword while still waiting for it to arrive by mail.
This hilt is a little over 7 inches. Somewhat bigger than the average small-sword hilt. Because of the broadness of the blade I assume it was for someone in the Heavy Cavalry but that is not necessarily true. The entire sword itself is a whopping 41 inches, so I tend to imagine it hanging from someone's saddle as opposed to wearing it on the hip while walking about. Again, that might not be the case.
It's too bad that the blade was over cleaned in the past. Perhaps there may have been some marking that might have given clues to it's national identity.

Matthew: I too am curious about what the balance will be like when I get this. Hopefully it will balance better than an over-sized frying pan.

Scott: Thanks for the Neuman reference! That is a nice German sword! Though the blade isn't as over-sized as mine.

Kjell: I agree this isn't a Swedish hilt (mores the pity). Swedish hilts have a lovely cavalry-rapier influence that endured for over 200 years. The Swedish military swords are probably the finest ever made in my humble opinion. The hilt on mine is probably British or French, alas we may never know.

Norman: Nice to hear from you! I recall your Small-Sword hilted Spadroon that you posted on some other forums. (I also have a love of fight worthy Sgt's spadroons as well) Yes, I also see the similarities. If I had to bet $5.00 I would say this hilt of mine is English. Due to the development of the pas de ans I would say about 1750's. Also, thanks for the link!

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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Sat 03 Aug, 2013 11:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Also, does anyone think this sword was intended for use in the field or only for Parade purposes? As I wondered earlier, this sword seems a bit large to wear inside at a formal affair.
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,820

PostPosted: Sat 03 Aug, 2013 2:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Norman McCormick wrote:
Underside of a guard belonging to a 1796 Pattern Sergeants Spadroon which is very much a military fighting sword, the similarities of guard design are clear.
Regards,
Norman.


What? Kidney vs boat? Both being around and used throughout many nations for decades?

Contentious Glen
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Norman McCormick





Joined: 17 Jan 2007

Posts: 117

PostPosted: Sat 03 Aug, 2013 3:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Glen,
Not contentious at all, just an illustration reinforcing my assertion that the guard on Morgan's example is more substantive than would necessarily be found on a court example, as has been suggested, and therefore in my opinion is more likely a military grade piece. Kidneys vs boats didn't come into it.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,820

PostPosted: Sat 03 Aug, 2013 5:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Norman McCormick wrote:
Hi Glen,
Not contentious at all, just an illustration reinforcing my assertion that the guard on Morgan's example is more substantive than would necessarily be found on a court example, as has been suggested, and therefore in my opinion is more likely a military grade piece. Kidneys vs boats didn't come into it.
My Regards,
Norman.


Ah, of course. Nice wire work on the grip for a military sword. I am not leaning British at all on this one but also mostly just following it on a couple of different boards.

More added and I'll leave it at this.

What shape is the end of the tang like?


To me, it is easy enough to regard it as either a period composite or more recent rework but I don't have it in my hands. Unless there are traces of silver plating somewhere, the grip is as out of place as the blade on that hilt.

It is always nice to find a twin of one and then more tend to follow. Pinning down a truly similar example in a book with solid provenance is the icing on the cake (until better info turns up Wink ).

Cheers

GC
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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Sat 03 Aug, 2013 9:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I do have other military swords with gilt hilts and silver wire grips that are certainly germain to each other....Here is a pic of the tang.


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Norman McCormick





Joined: 17 Jan 2007

Posts: 117

PostPosted: Sun 04 Aug, 2013 2:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Morgan,
Seeing the pommel for the first time what are the marks on the outside of the brass where the tang button is? From the photos it looks like marks left by grips of some sort but as you know photos can be deceiving in hand is always better.
My Regards,
Norman.
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