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Peter Busch




Location: Sydney
Joined: 01 Mar 2004

Posts: 42

PostPosted: Sun 07 Aug, 2005 7:19 pm    Post subject: WOW - Wilkinson to close!!         Reply with quote

http://www.wilkinson-swords.com/

Then click on the company logo in the top left hand corner ...

FACTORY CLOSURE

Wilkinson Sword Ltd regrets that after very careful consideration of all alternative options the Company has made the difficult decision to announce that it intends to close its specialist sword-making division in Acton, West London. As a result of falling demand over many years, we have been left with no option but to consider ceasing production of the high quality specialist sword and knife products made by Wilkinson Sword at the end of September 2005. If you have any queries before this date please phone +44 208 749 1061 or for US Callers 1-866 THE SWORD (1-866 843 7967).

Thank you for your interest in Wilkinson Sword.

Whadya know!!

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Peter Busch




Location: Sydney
Joined: 01 Mar 2004

Posts: 42

PostPosted: Sun 07 Aug, 2005 7:27 pm    Post subject: And I think I know why too ..         Reply with quote

http://www.windlass.com/militaryswords.htm
http://www.swordforum.com/fall99/1865.html
http://www.oakeshott.org/1831art.html
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Sam Barris




Location: San Diego, California
Joined: 29 Apr 2004
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Posts: 615

PostPosted: Mon 08 Aug, 2005 2:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Crap! Now I have to shift my priorities around. Very quickly. There's no way in hell I'm going to own a dress sabre with a plastic hilt.
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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Daniel Parry




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

Posts: 184

PostPosted: Mon 08 Aug, 2005 5:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You may be too late Sam. I just called them after seeing this email to see if they were still making or had any surplus items for sale. 'No' to both questions. They are just finishing up the orders to date and then switching off the lights. No more orders and no stock for sale. Tell me if you have any better luck.


The end a great British firm (as far as swords go anyway). Sad really.


Daniel
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Daniel Parry




Location: UK
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Posts: 184

PostPosted: Mon 08 Aug, 2005 9:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Got an update from Wilkinson. No surplus stock. Military swords just filling out current orders. May possibly produce presentation swords to order. No knives as all Fairburn Sykes models have stopped and just sold last RBD for £1,100 standard list price).
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Steve Grisetti




Location: Orlando metro area, Florida, USA
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PostPosted: Mon 08 Aug, 2005 9:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Parry wrote:
...The end a great British firm (as far as swords go anyway). Sad really.
Daniel

Yes, very sad. And an economic reality, with edged weapon production no longer a strategic industry.
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Daniel Parry




Location: UK
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PostPosted: Mon 08 Aug, 2005 10:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I completely agree with you about the strategic point, Steve. Working in mergers & acquisitions and corporate restructuring as i do, it was bound for a fall on commercial bases. But just so sad. Personally I would have had to delegate the bad news to another member of staff not interested in fencing or swords. I wouldn't have wanted to give that news to the Board of Wilkinson Sword. They become just another safety razor manufacturer.

Thinking about it , they may be the last major commercial company producing swords. Don't know of any others.. maybe in Europe... don't know. In which case it would be a landmark in the history of the sword I suppose.

Daniel
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Sam Barris




Location: San Diego, California
Joined: 29 Apr 2004
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Posts: 615

PostPosted: Mon 08 Aug, 2005 1:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Parry wrote:
You may be too late Sam.


So it would appear. A pity. I always intended to buy their dress sabre, but I always convinced myself to wait until "after I get back from my next deployment..." I never imagined that a company older than my country would actually close up shop during my career. If Albion sells out of the Knecht before I can get an order in, I won't be surprised. I expect things like that. This, I never saw coming.

They're phones were busy all day, but I've sent an email. Who knows, maybe I'll get lucky. The "I was in Iraq" story has saved me before, perhaps it's got enough juice for one more. I also have a few four-leaf clovers around this place if that fails. I'll let you know what they say.

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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Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,417

PostPosted: Mon 08 Aug, 2005 2:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While its a shame to see things like this happen, it really seemed like the company got lost long ago.
"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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Peter Busch




Location: Sydney
Joined: 01 Mar 2004

Posts: 42

PostPosted: Mon 08 Aug, 2005 5:12 pm    Post subject: No there are others ... but .....         Reply with quote

Thinking about it , they may be the last major commercial company producing swords. Don't know of any others.. maybe in Europe... don't know. In which case it would be a landmark in the history of the sword I suppose.

Daniel[/quote]

Well there are other manufacturers, but not all at the quality level in military pattern that Wilkinson had:

In Britain:

http://www.fattorini.co.uk/
http://www.firmin.co.uk/
http://www.army-technology.com/contractors/ma...index.html

In Germany:

http://www.wkc-solingen.de/
http://www.solinger-blankwaffen.de/
http://www.blankwaffen-ulrich.de/Wir/wir.html

In France:

http://www.chevalierdauvergne.fr/

In Russia:

http://www.zlatoust.com/

In Spain:

http://www.bermejoswords.com/
http://www.armasdondiego.com/index.html

In Italy:

http://www.fratelliturco.com/

And in the US:

http://www.amessword.com/
http://www.ussword.com/

http://www.swordforum.com/fall99/1865.html
http://www.oakeshott.org/1831art.html
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George Hill




Location: Atlanta Ga
Joined: 16 May 2005

Posts: 614

PostPosted: Mon 08 Aug, 2005 7:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Um... It doesn't look like they made real swords, just dress swords. The Real sword market is growing, pity they couldn't have gotten in on that.
To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Mon 08 Aug, 2005 8:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

George Hill wrote:
Um... It doesn't look like they made real swords, just dress swords. The Real sword market is growing, pity they couldn't have gotten in on that.


Wilkinson made modern dress swords, as such they weren't really much good for anything other than serving as a piece of masculine jewelry. However, back in the day Wilkinson was widely known as a maker of fine quality weapons. Many an officer and dragoon went to war with a Wilkinson sword. It's a shame to see an historic company like this close it's doors, regardless of their current product focus.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Lance K.




PostPosted: Mon 08 Aug, 2005 8:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

George Hill wrote:
Um... It doesn't look like they made real swords, just dress swords. The Real sword market is growing, pity they couldn't have gotten in on that.


They did have plans to make medieval swords at one time, seems that never developed. I recall seeing a preliminary model on thier site several months ago.
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Jason Daub




Location: Peace River, Alberta
Joined: 14 Jan 2005
Reading list: 78 books

Posts: 162

PostPosted: Mon 08 Aug, 2005 10:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick,

Speaking of back in the day, Wilkinson Sword custom made a four foot sabre for Lieutenant Alexander Roberts Dunn of the 11th Hussars who, "For having in the Light Cavalry Charge on the 25th October, 1854, saved the life of Sergeant Bentley, 11th Hussars by cutting down two or three Russian Hussars, who were attacking him from the rear, and afterwards cutting down a Russian Hussar, who was attacking Private Levett, 11th Hussars." was awarded the first Victoria Cross to go to a Canadian. Apparently they used to do very good work.
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Daniel Parry




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

Posts: 184

PostPosted: Tue 09 Aug, 2005 3:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My feeling is as Patrick's, that the historical connections of Wilkinson passing into history is a sad thing.

They did predominantly produce dress swords but those swords were only 'not real' in as far as they would be provided unsharpened. The ones I've seen were immaculately made and of very functional materials and of patterns which had been issued as functional swords in prior eras. In that sense they are I think as real as reproductions, though they were not made with the intention of being used. That said, some patterns were pure dress swords.

I agree as noted above that there are still companies producing swords, but not all of them are of an age where they used to produce swords in the era when they were still functional weapons. And not of the size of company that Wilkinson's is. I think it's the continuity from that era of military provision to the present day that makes Wilkinson of substantial historical importance. And quality, as Peter said - some of those makers above produce what appear to be pretty poor replicas, not authentic dress or functional swords.

Hope you have luck Sam.

Daniel
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Sam Barris




Location: San Diego, California
Joined: 29 Apr 2004
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PostPosted: Tue 09 Aug, 2005 1:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The answer is no. Denied. Shot down like a dog. C’est la vie. Many thanks to Peter for posting the links of alternate vendors.

I’m not sure it’s fair to say that they lost their way or that they didn’t make “real” swords. A dress sword may be masculine jewelry, but it also fulfils an important role in the modern military, even if that role is purely ceremonial. I think part of Wilkinson’s downfall might have been that they wanted to continue supplying the needs of the military, as their government appointments required them to, and in this age that meant making swords and armor intended entirely for drill, parade and ceremonial use. I dislike impractical wall hangers as much as the next guy, but I’m not sure that it’s right to classify most of their swords as such. The blades serve their purpose well, as did their ancestors. The fact that they’re ill suited for tameshigiri takes nothing from that.

That said, it would have been great if they could have dusted off their old records and factory specifications and started a line of reproduction swords based on their own company’s history. That would have been neat, and that era seems a bit neglected.

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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Peter Busch




Location: Sydney
Joined: 01 Mar 2004

Posts: 42

PostPosted: Tue 09 Aug, 2005 5:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
George Hill wrote:
Um... It doesn't look like they made real swords, just dress swords. The Real sword market is growing, pity they couldn't have gotten in on that.


Wilkinson made modern dress swords, as such they weren't really much good for anything other than serving as a piece of masculine jewelry. However, back in the day Wilkinson was widely known as a maker of fine quality weapons. Many an officer and dragoon went to war with a Wilkinson sword. It's a shame to see an historic company like this close it's doors, regardless of their current product focus.


Hi Patrick,

I wouldn't say all of the patterns were dress swords. I get what you're saying though. Many such as the 1897 infantry, 1908 and 1912 cavalry were and still are combat - worthy. You only need to see the 1908 doing tentpegging (picture included) to get an understanding for this.

Now this will upset the apple cart, but the US patterns (which Wilkies also made) do unfortunately tend today to be dress swords. I'm not American but I find it quite funny to see the Philadelphia guard wearing that silly little 1902 pattern officers sabre when they are attired in early 19th. century dress ... for example ....



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Peter Busch




Location: Sydney
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Posts: 42

PostPosted: Tue 09 Aug, 2005 6:11 pm    Post subject: Philadelphia         Reply with quote

Although I note some at least have the sense to use a British 1822 pattern light cavalry sabre:


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Bob Uhl




Location: Denver, Colo.
Joined: 02 Mar 2004

Posts: 32

PostPosted: Fri 26 Aug, 2005 7:55 pm    Post subject: A True Shame         Reply with quote

That is a real shame. When my brother Thomas graduated from the US Naval Academy in '02, the other three of us got together and bought an officer's sword from Wilkinson for him, and he has been very pleased with it. I know that Wilkinson were considered the best of the swordmakers (the German being inferior, and the Spanish being inferior still. It's terribly sad that their history is now over.

Weren't they the official providers of swords to various members of the Royal Family as well as the British military? One would have thought that they could have subsisted on that.

What a shame.
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Peter Busch




Location: Sydney
Joined: 01 Mar 2004

Posts: 42

PostPosted: Sun 28 Aug, 2005 7:22 pm    Post subject: Inferior ....?         Reply with quote

Bob Uhl wrote:
That is a real shame. When my brother Thomas graduated from the US Naval Academy in '02, the other three of us got together and bought an officer's sword from Wilkinson for him, and he has been very pleased with it. I know that Wilkinson were considered the best of the swordmakers (the German being inferior, and the Spanish being inferior still. It's terribly sad that their history is now over.

Weren't they the official providers of swords to various members of the Royal Family as well as the British military? One would have thought that they could have subsisted on that.

What a shame.


Hello Bob,

Well I kinda know what you mean about inferior (German).. This is sort of true, but you need to understand the context. In many ways the sorts of sword the German sword companies in the past were producing, were way ahead of even the stuff the esteemed Wilkinsons' were coming out with .. For example ...

However ... because of its loss in two world wars Germany's capacity to compete against the victors was curtailed. .. What has happened is that WK&C for example as the main remaining sword cutler in Germany has been forced to provide a very wide range of swords. These range in price from a couple of hundred Euros to perhaps 7,000 Euros. There is no doubt in my mind that they are just as capable of providing Wilkinson price level swords if asked to (and indeed for some clients they would). WK&C were simply providing a lower cost alternative to a Wilkie.



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