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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Sun 28 Dec, 2014 5:29 pm    Post subject: New Briquet Sword!         Reply with quote

Opened my "Christmas Present". Very nice! It has a hussar pattern blade that is 26 and 1/4th inches long and over 1 3/8 inches wide at forte. It has a two finger wide fuller on both sides. I feel that it is a late 18th early 19th century blade. The hilt and blade have no markings of any kind. The whole sword has a very nice balance. The hilt and blade are covered in a lacquer that could have either been put on by the museum that owned it (there is a cursive numbering on the forte in white ink that suggests a museum) or perhaps by naval personnel if I ascribe to the idea that this sword was for a ships armoury. I have left the lacquer on at this point. The hilt poses some questions for me. It has no markings on it at all, however the grip has 28 ribs as the French ones do.The hilt is of smaller, lighter dimensions than my other briquet (Dated at 1816). Here are some pics of the "new" sword by itself.
In the next posting I will put up pics of it with my 1816 Briquet for comparison.



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inkothemgard!
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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Sun 28 Dec, 2014 5:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here are some pics of the hilts of both swords for comparison. The new wide bladed sabre briquet is above in the other. The 1816 briquet hilt is longer and of heavier dimensions. The blade is the usual non-fullered and wedge shaped at 23 inches. The hilt and blade have plenty of markings that date it. My question is does anyone have any knowledge of or own one similar to my unmarked one? Any idea of nationality or date?


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my briquets 2.jpg


inkothemgard!
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Jeroen T




Location: Holland
Joined: 23 Oct 2013

Posts: 56

PostPosted: Mon 29 Dec, 2014 7:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The briquette sabre was used in several countries in Europe.
They were used by the Dutch, the Belgians and the French.
Probably the Germans too.
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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Mon 29 Dec, 2014 9:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

True, but at over 26 inches this was probably used for something else other than infantry. Possibly assembled for naval purposes.
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Shahril Dzulkifli




Location: Malaysia
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PostPosted: Thu 01 Jan, 2015 4:44 pm    Post subject: New Briquet Sword!         Reply with quote

To me long-bladed briquets like this were quite rare back in 18th century Europe, even in France during Napoleon's time.

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

- Marcus Aurelius
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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Fri 02 Jan, 2015 9:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm pretty sure it's not French. The French swords that I have are replete with inspection stamps/marks all over the hilt. It's probably continental European. I have discovered that sometimes an NCO or officer would take a briquet hilt and have another type of blade fit onto it. Or perhaps this was assembled for some kind of naval service. The blade does look early 19th century to me.
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Shahril Dzulkifli




Location: Malaysia
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PostPosted: Mon 05 Jan, 2015 8:42 pm    Post subject: New Briquet Sword!         Reply with quote

I think you're right, Morgan. That briquet is not French but continental European. French briquets are seldom long-bladed.
“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength”

- Marcus Aurelius
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Jeroen T




Location: Holland
Joined: 23 Oct 2013

Posts: 56

PostPosted: Mon 05 Jan, 2015 10:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I alomost forgot that i have a picture of this type on my phone.
It was taken in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and was displayed in the naval section.
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John Hardy




Location: Saskatoon SK Canada
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PostPosted: Tue 06 Jan, 2015 5:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Based on the shape, I would swear that is the blade off either a British 1796 Lt. Cavalry trooper sabre or the equivalent Prussian "Blucher" sabre. Except the blade is about 6 inches too short. But then, the fuller runs right back into the hilt and on both those cavalry sabres, the fuller ended a couple inches in front of the hilt, so the blade might well have been shortened.

Maybe someone fitted a bunch of surplus cavalry blades in brass hilts for naval use? And possibly shortened the blades at the same time to make them a handier length for shipboard/infantry use? Or perhaps took light cavalry blades that were being scrapped as unserviceable due to breakage or corrosion in the hilt/tang assembly and shortened them to salvage usable blades out of them?

I know that 1796 blades DID end up on naval cutlasses - because I own one. It's a British Georgian naval cutlass with the regulation black-painted cast iron hilt and 'figure eight' guard, but it's mounted with a full-length 1796 light cavalry blade.

I assume there would have been a plentiful supply of both British and Prussian lt. cavalry sabres in all conditions of wear floating around the Belgium / Holland region after the Waterloo campaign. For someone wanting to outfit a coastguard or naval coastal patrol or a harbour police unit with a 'standard pattern' sidearm, the choice might well have been between buying a case-lot of brand-new naval cutlasses from a maker, or else buying a job lot of scrapped cavalry sabres and having them re-hilted with matching brass hilts. The second option would almost certainly have been cheaper.

That would also, BTW, explain the complete lack of markings on the sword: The makers mark and government inspection marks on the original sword blade would all have been on the flats and back of the blade right by the hilt. If it was "re-sized" before being re-hilted, all those marks would have been cut off when that portion of the blade was turned into the new tang.

Morgan Butler wrote:
I'm pretty sure it's not French. The French swords that I have are replete with inspection stamps/marks all over the hilt. It's probably continental European. I have discovered that sometimes an NCO or officer would take a briquet hilt and have another type of blade fit onto it. Or perhaps this was assembled for some kind of naval service. The blade does look early 19th century to me.
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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Thu 08 Jan, 2015 2:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeroen T wrote:
I alomost forgot that i have a picture of this type on my phone.
It was taken in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and was displayed in the naval section.


Hello Jeroen,
Anyway you could post that pic? Thanks!

inkothemgard!
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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Thu 08 Jan, 2015 2:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello John,
Thanks for the reply! Yes, I also have thought that it was some kind of shortened Blucher/Hussar sword blade as well. Am I mistaken in thinking if it was cut down that it would have been shortened at the top and not at the forte? I had never considered that they would re-make a new tang. I always thought it was easier to shorten it by making a new tip.
I also think naval service is a distinct possibility....

inkothemgard!
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jan, 2015 4:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A shortened blade would not show a ricasso and a point that far from the fuller. Fullered briquet were not as common with the French manufacture and one has to keep in mind a lot of European countries fielded these. To assume naval use is false hope without better provenance or direct comparison. Pull out Boarders Away or Rankin and show These common to naval use.

Cheers

GC
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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Thu 08 Jan, 2015 4:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not assuming anything Glen. Just on possibility among possibilities. I have posted a few other ideas as well on this thread. And we have pretty much ascertained that this sword is not French...
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jan, 2015 4:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is a nice piece with the wide fuller. The blade length is not at all extreme for infantry use, aboard or not. There is a Petard pdf out there showing the evolution of the French infantry swords resulting in the 1767 briquet, with updates in the 1790s (iirc) All of those flat blades. Some of the fullered examples that had been ided elsewhere were most often Spanish or Russian. You have brought up the naval possibility quite a number of times, hence my prompting your time might be better spent looking at land examples. I would say not British either Laughing Out Loud

Cheers

GC
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John Hardy




Location: Saskatoon SK Canada
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jan, 2015 11:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Morgan Butler wrote:
Hello John,
Thanks for the reply! Yes, I also have thought that it was some kind of shortened Blucher/Hussar sword blade as well. Am I mistaken in thinking if it was cut down that it would have been shortened at the top and not at the forte? I had never considered that they would re-make a new tang. I always thought it was easier to shorten it by making a new tip.
I also think naval service is a distinct possibility....


Well, I think it could be done either way. In fact, I've seen examples done both ways: some by shortening at the tip and others by changes at the tang.

A lot depends on the reason the sword is being worked on.

If the weapon is otherwise good and it just needs a shorter blade for some reason, then the quickest, easiest and cheapest way to shorten it is simply to zip the last few inches off the end of the blade and then re-point it.

That has happened to a lot of bayonets over the last century. For example, the American bayonets for the Krag, Springfield and Garand rifles were identical except for the blade length, which shrank by about 5 inches sometime between the Spanish-American War of 1898 and WW2. I understand original length 1898 Krag bayonets are rather thin on the ground now, because most of them got shortened for re-issue during WW2.

On the other hand, if the weapon has a worn-out or broken hilt, then the blade will have to be dismounted during repairs. Since the tangs were often peened, making the tang long enough to attach the new hilt might mean the blade looses some length. And if the original tang is badly corroded or broken, or the blade is badly chipped or nicked near the hilt, the simplest way to repair such damage might be just to remove it entirely. Even if there is no major damage to repair, if the intention is not just to put a new style of hilt on but also to shorten the blade a few inches, it would probably be simplest to do both at the same time by doing all the cutting at the hilt end.

An extreme example of this sort of repair can be seen with the many older knives and daggers that were made from discarded sword blades. A lot of old Scottish dirks, for example, have blades that started life attached to broadswords or backswords.

The fact that your briquet sabre's blade fuller runs right to the hilt suggests to me that it might have lost at least some length in that area during a re-hilting.
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
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PostPosted: Fri 09 Jan, 2015 2:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
The fact that your briquet sabre's blade fuller runs right to the hilt suggests to me that it might have lost at least some length in that area during a re-hilting.


It does not. Take another look a t the photos. It is not a shortened blade.

Cheers

GC
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John Hardy




Location: Saskatoon SK Canada
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PostPosted: Fri 09 Jan, 2015 10:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Glen A Cleeton wrote:
Quote:
The fact that your briquet sabre's blade fuller runs right to the hilt suggests to me that it might have lost at least some length in that area during a re-hilting.


It does not. Take another look a t the photos. It is not a shortened blade.

Cheers

GC


I did - carefully. It has a "ricasso" at the hilt of approximately a whopping 1/8" - which is about 2" less than what should be there. It's a shortened blade.
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
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PostPosted: Fri 09 Jan, 2015 5:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

John Hardy wrote:
Glen A Cleeton wrote:
Quote:
The fact that your briquet sabre's blade fuller runs right to the hilt suggests to me that it might have lost at least some length in that area during a re-hilting.


It does not. Take another look a t the photos. It is not a shortened blade.

Cheers

GC


I did - carefully. It has a "ricasso" at the hilt of approximately a whopping 1/8" - which is about 2" less than what should be there. It's a shortened blade.


Not to be overly argumentative but you will have a hard time showing any broad fuller sabre with two inches of ricasso, while a good many broad fullered bladed swords have quite minimal ricassos. Some later flat bladed briquet do tend to have longer ricassos but we are not looking at one here.

Cheers

GC
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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Fri 09 Jan, 2015 8:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have seen fullered briquet swords before. Usually the fuller isn't as wide as the one on mine. Also none of these "private soldier's" swords had blades that were at 26 inches. What infantry trooper would want one? It would tangle in your legs and be a total pain in the butt. The briquet was really more of a foraging tool by that time. All real corp a corp combat was fought with the bayonet. The French even abandoned the briquet in 1831 and came out with their neo-clasical gladius which was an even shorter foraging sword/tool. One theory of mine is that with a 26 inch blade, this was assembled for an NCO as a distinctive "Sergeants Sword." As we all know, many European armies had official NCO swords but not all of them. Another theory is that this was assembled for some kind of non-infantry service, military police for instance. I don't own Glen's book on naval swords but I still posit, as have others on similar threads, this could have been assembled for naval purposes. Ah, one more thing (that TC Donohoe informed me of.) is that private citizens sometimes had briquets or briquet composites for personal defense when traveling by coach because of there convenient size.
I'd like to state that I don't have any particular "hopes" that it is one thing over another. Whatever it is, it's an interesting, well-balanced and sturdy fighting sword.

inkothemgard!


Last edited by Morgan Butler on Mon 12 Jan, 2015 10:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
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PostPosted: Fri 09 Jan, 2015 9:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is very possibly a composite but the fullered briquet I have encountered have usually been ided as Spanish, Italian, Russian, etc (as you may have noted in the vikingsword thread) Oldswords has one labeled as French naval but the same assumption being made (possibly). It is the breadth and length of some infantry swords and I don't get the "tangled under foot" as many infantry, foot artillery and naval swords are certainly 27" and longer. Not so true of briquet in general but they existed, composite or not.

I really don't think it was a cut down cavalry blade. There are plently of donor infantry/artillery/naval blade possibilities.if it was indeed a composite. Might br Hungarian, for all we know Wink



Some pdfs from the net, not that they will answer the mystery
http://www.oldswords.com/articles/FRENCH%20MI...artII_.pdf

http://www.oldswords.com/articles/FRENCH%20MI...artIV_.pdf

Cheers

GC

Do you have Neumann? Peterson?

I wanted to add that the gladius form goes back nearly as far as the 1767 cast handle briquet. Those glaives also widespread across Europe. You will find long bladed 1767 briquet handles with blades 30" and more. Later, you will find another brass handle on Solingen blades from Knecht (clearly marked) as late as the 1830s. Then the "Stockton Blue" swords with Horstmann marked naval and infantry blades that were assembled in the late 1800s...
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