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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Substatial Small-Sword Reply to topic
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David Cooper




Location: UK
Joined: 27 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Wed 28 Mar, 2018 10:21 am    Post subject: Substatial Small-Sword         Reply with quote

I'm on a bit of a small-sword run at the moment, so here is my latest. Substantial and Small-sword may seem a bit contradictory but this has the broadest forte of any standard triangular bladed small-sword I have come across. It is almost like a colichemarde blade but without the sudden change in profile taper. Certainly capable of deflecting larger swords. Large pas d’ane which may indicate an early sword. The hilt is blackened with blackened wire wrapped grip. No markings or etchings at all.

My stats:
Weight, sword: 1lb 1.3oz (0.49kg)
Length overall: 37.75'' (96cm) Blade: 30.75'' (78.5 cm)
POB: 3.5'' (9cm)
Profile taper: 1.21'' (30.9 mm) at ricasso, 0.69'' (17.6mm)at mid blade, 0.33'' (18.4mm) 2 inches from tip.
Distal taper 0.44'' (11.2 mm) at ricasso, 0.27'' (6.9mm)at mid blade,. 0.17'' (4.6mm) 2 inches from tip.

I feel the solid nature of this might indicate a military rather than civilian sword. Anybody got any thoughts? I'd also be grateful for any ideas about country and date. (I suspect a Solingen blade as these seem to be the main maker for these)
Anyway, all comments and contributions welcome as ever.



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Brandon Abbott




Location: Falconer New York USA
Joined: 16 Mar 2018

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed 28 Mar, 2018 11:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's an interesting blade. The transition is very elegant, and I'm very fond of how it ends up.

How substantial are the hilt and guard components? They're iron or steel correct, but is the shell thin or does it seem robust? It appears that it could be a civilian sword, but a civilian with more martial tastes. Conversely, could be someone in a military who was more comfortable with smallsword forms.

Where was it acquired? It might help suggest an avenue of investigation.
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
Joined: 01 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Wed 28 Mar, 2018 12:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have very little knowledge of this sword type, but something is telling me that the blackening was added after the fact of the sword being made. Probably by a second owner. (?) I could be wrong though. Worried ......McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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David Cooper




Location: UK
Joined: 27 Apr 2008
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Posts: 108

PostPosted: Wed 28 Mar, 2018 1:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Brandon
I would describe the shells as substantial as well. 1.75 mm thick in the middle and 3.65mm on the raised edges.

Mark
I think most of these were blackened as made although some were painted up when Prince Albert died in 1861, as court mourning swords. However I agree that the hilt may have been re-painted at some time.

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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
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PostPosted: Wed 28 Mar, 2018 2:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's kind of where my train of thought was going. I had heard of sword hilts being painted as mourning swords. ......McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Sam Barris




Location: San Diego, California
Joined: 29 Apr 2004
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PostPosted: Thu 29 Mar, 2018 11:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That looks a lot like George Washington's smallsword. I've seen one other one like it somewhere else, though I do not remember where at the moment. It might have been on this site. So a rare style, to say the least, though not unheard of. And clearly at least one military man liked it, so that might support the military hypothesis.

EDIT Here's a good look at Washington's: http://www.mountvernon.org/preservation/colle...mallsword/ Happy

EDIT Found the other one. It links to a video: http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=35416 Happy

Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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Chris Goerner




Location: Roanoke, Virginia
Joined: 19 Sep 2004
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Posts: 344

PostPosted: Thu 29 Mar, 2018 6:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

According to Neumann's "Swords and Blades of the American Revolution" plain black hilts of this style were "mourning swords" worn during periods of grieving, when a flashier hilt would be deemed inappropriate. He also states that this hilt type became popular to wear for informal occasions (not sure of his evidence for that, but sounds reasonable). Military officers certainly may have owned mourning swords, but they were popular among civilians.

You blade does not appear unusually wide at the hilt to my eye. Maybe the sword is just so well proportioned that you would have to see it next to another small sword to notice the heft of the blade and shells.

IMHO, it is a beautiful sword. It is simple and elegant all at once. You are fortunate to own it!

Cheers,
Chris

Sic Semper Tyranus
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David Cooper




Location: UK
Joined: 27 Apr 2008
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Posts: 108

PostPosted: Fri 30 Mar, 2018 12:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Washington sword blade looks a very good match. Here is a comparison shot with my other smallswords

Left to right:
1. Epee du Soldat French Foot Sergeants sword (possibly?)
2.English steel hilted smallsword
3. French Sergent du Ville (possibly?)
4. Substantial smallsword.

No 1 also has quite a broad ricasso but it has a diamond profile blade, not a hollow triangle.



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David Cooper




Location: UK
Joined: 27 Apr 2008
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Posts: 108

PostPosted: Fri 30 Mar, 2018 5:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In response to a query on another forum I took a closer look at the grip and now think it may be plaited horse hair rather than wire. Can't be certain but light scratching with a scalpel does not reveal a shiny surface. Anyway here is a shot with a USB microscope.


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Daniel Parry




Location: UK
Joined: 08 Apr 2005
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PostPosted: Fri 30 Mar, 2018 2:37 pm    Post subject: Substantial smallsword         Reply with quote

Hard to tell from photos but whilst the blade is wide at the forte, it's not excessively wide for a 'fighting blade' as they are sometimes referred to on smallswords. I don't think the larger pas d'ane are necessarily an indication of an early sword. Late 18th century Revolutionary War period perhaps ? Proportions of the blade seem nice from the photo. I see what you mean about looking like a colichemarde but without the sudden tapering.

Quite similar profile one here. http://ambroseantiques.com/swords/chis.htm

Hilt seems very simple and utilitarian. Hard to tell as looking at it on my iPhone so pictures are small. Hilt finish looks as if has been painted over ? Overall shape and style seems like Revolutionary War period sword but hard to tell on small screen.
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