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Martin Buckley




Location: Wales, U.K.
Joined: 23 Jul 2006

Posts: 80

PostPosted: Tue 20 Mar, 2018 2:33 pm    Post subject: Sword acquisition during the 17th Century.         Reply with quote

Hello everyone, I’ve a question that’s been niggling at me for a while now. With particular reference to 17th century Europe (but I’d also be interested generally), where did people get swords? Were they commissioned as one off pieces, kind of like a custom project today or were they bought ‘off the peg’ so to speak in shops through vendors in towns and cities? I’m thinking there’d be a mix of both, as well as many other alternatives. Also did this differ in different Regions or different parts of the world? Any information, pictures, links to other sources would be great.
Thanks in advance.
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Tue 03 Apr, 2018 2:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

All of those. Most people would have bought their swords from cutlers. Military quartermasters sometimes sold swords to soldiers who didn't have any or had lost theirs, and some of the civilian sutlers who flocked to an encamped army would have had swords among their wares. Town and fortress armouries would have kept significant numbers of swords as well. On ships, swords and/or cutlasses appear to have been mostly held in the ship's armoury; only the officers regularly carried swords on duty. And of course there were craftsmen who produced custom swords for wealthier clients.
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Bjorn Hagstrom




Location: Höör, Skane
Joined: 25 Oct 2007
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Posts: 325

PostPosted: Tue 03 Apr, 2018 1:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

At the far end of the 17th century, at least in Sweden we saw the first mass produced standardized weapons from government controlled manufacturing facilities. I think the first designated sword was called m/1685

So conscripted swedish soldiers could be issued swords in hte end of the 17th century, in addition to the already mentioned ways.

There is nothing quite as sad as a one man conga-line...
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Martin Buckley




Location: Wales, U.K.
Joined: 23 Jul 2006

Posts: 80

PostPosted: Tue 03 Apr, 2018 1:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the responses guys. The sword cutlers and armouries that produced one off pieces for more wealthy clients really interests me. Do you have or know where I could find more information about these please? Or maybe some contemporary images of ‘sword shops’ (if you like)?

Thanks again
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2018 3:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Haven't you checked the features section? This article has been around for years.

http://myArmoury.com/feature_engswords.html
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Dashiell Harrison




Location: California
Joined: 14 Jun 2014

Posts: 32

PostPosted: Thu 05 Apr, 2018 1:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

German towns often had a town armory, some had neighborhood armories as well. Poorer residents who were still expected to provide military service in case of emergencies could borrow weapons from the armory for the duration of the emergency, but they had to give them back once they no longer needed them.
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Daniel Parry




Location: UK
Joined: 08 Apr 2005
Reading list: 39 books

Posts: 184

PostPosted: Fri 06 Apr, 2018 2:41 pm    Post subject: sword acquisition         Reply with quote

I think this is an interesting subject as a collector of mostly 17th century swords but one I do not have an answer to. I have found few literary or other references to help.

Blades were mostly imported and a cutler/armourer would add the hilt but to what extent they were bespoke to the customer is hard to say. I suppose one point is that I have very rarely seen decorative features on hilts that contain initials, crests, mottos etc which would suggest personal commission. You see inscriptions on blades but that can be added later. For instance I have a 17th century Italian rapier with an inscription referring to Milton which may have been added by an English parliamentarian owner during the Commonwealth period (possibly),

I haven't seen much in the pieces I have handled or owned to suggest personalisation but that is not to say they did not ask for a sword of X length with Y type of hilt decoration and Z weight so it was a choice amongst certain pre-defined parameters of style and cost.

One exception is an English dish-hilt rapier I saw once which had a pineapple theme. Pineapple pommel, pineapple dish, pineapple themed grip, which I can only think was a personal request. Either he loved pineapples or he made his fortune importing pineapples or maybe he thought it was a good tactic as any opponent would think he cant be a serious swordsman - he's got a pineapple sword.
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