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Howard Waddell
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PostPosted: Wed 12 Oct, 2005 8:50 am    Post subject: Introducing... The Aquilifer Fulham Gladius         Reply with quote

This one stole my heart -- my favorite of the new Roman gladii...



See more photos here:

http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/albion/ne...fulham.htm

Specifications
Overall length: 28.125" (71.44 cm)
Blade length: 20.375" (51.75 cm)
Blade width: 2.375" (6 cm)
CoP: n/a
CoB: 4" (10.16 cm)
Weight: 1 lb 8.2 oz (685 grams)

Best,

Howy

Albion Swords Ltd
http://albion-swords.com
http://filmswords.com
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Micha Hofmann




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PostPosted: Wed 12 Oct, 2005 9:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Beautyful. Just beautyful Happy
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Thomas Hoogendam




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PostPosted: Wed 12 Oct, 2005 10:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

IMO, the gladius with the nicest lines. Great work guys.
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Jonathon Janusz





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PostPosted: Wed 12 Oct, 2005 5:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very interesting shape on the pommel on this one. I am also very much liking again the "less is more" approach from concept drawing to final product as far as the hilt goes.

This may sound like an odd question, but here goes. It seems to be commonly understood that the evolution of the gladius from the Maintz pattern to Fulham to Pompeii was a process inspired by a need to more quickly and cheaply produce swords in larger and larger quantities. Now, putting common knowledge to the test, considering that Albion is set up to produce these things in a "production environment", the folks doing the blades can probably best and accurately answer this question. Is there a significant enough decrease in time in production of each model of sword from start to finish to back up this claim? In other words, is the production time for a Pompeii gladius shorter than a Fulham and in the same turn shorter than the Maintz? Is this decrease in time (assuming it exists) enough to reflect a significant enough cost savings, from the perspective of our ancestors, to justify the change in sword form, or have a lot of folks been barking up the wrong tree for a very long time? Is there another greater justifying reason assuming this not the case (aesthetic for the era, changes in military technique, etc.)?

I would also very much like to hear Peter's thoughts on this sword too, to round out the group Happy .
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Wed 12 Oct, 2005 5:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Roman and Albion production methods are certainly going to be different, but everything else being equal there might be a valid comparison made about production times between the different types of gladius.

What takes longer now would have taken longer then also, maybe ???

Good question in my opinion: Will have to wait for the opinion coming from Albion or Peter to confirm !?

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Steve Grisetti




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PostPosted: Wed 12 Oct, 2005 6:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
The Roman and Albion production methods are certainly going to be different, but everything else being equal there might be a valid comparison made about production times between the different types of gladius.

What takes longer now would have taken longer then also, maybe ???

Good question in my opinion: Will have to wait for the opinion coming from Albion or Peter to confirm !?

Not only are the production methods different, but also the steel. My own guess is that pounding out and finishing a leaf blade vs a straight blade would be proportionally harder in antiquity than it is today with CNC tools for stock removal and power tools for finishing. Looking at it another way - since Albion can justify the same pricing for the three different gladius styles, that also suggests that the effort, today, is not much different.
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Vince Labolito




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PostPosted: Wed 12 Oct, 2005 7:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I had really been hoping to see the more detailed guard and pommel on this one like was shown in the concept sketch. Not that I don't LOVE it as it is, but it just makes me curious about further swords in the line-up.

Does this simplification mean that the Decurio, which exhibits similar detailing on guard and pommel, will be likewise simplified? I'd hate to see that happen on the decurio since it seems to exhibit the most intricacies (The indented or hollowed spots on the guard/pommel as well as the double fullered blade) in the six roman models.

"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.
- Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Wed 12 Oct, 2005 7:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Once again, nice work, and glad to see new stuff hitting the racks.
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David Etienne




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PostPosted: Wed 12 Oct, 2005 11:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Congratulations !

For me it's definitively the most beautiful NextGen gladius you've made so far.

David
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Thu 13 Oct, 2005 12:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey all,

I will make an attempt to answer your questions.

On production time:
From what Iīve understoood the production time for the different gladii are much the same.
Please note this is in albionīs shop with todays production methods. In ancient time amount of material used would have been as importnt as worktime. More important than worktime would probably have been consistency of quality, I guess. A successful design was one that afforded highest possible quality and function with the least effort and cost. Not too different from today (except that today you will have to compete for the recognition by collectors, not army contractors, who have interestes very far apart and ideals that are very personal ;-).
Originally the refining of the steel and the forging of the blade would have been more work intensive (especially the steel refining part). Grinding is a bit quicker today but basically the same process and amount of material removed. Hilt making is not that much different: the hilts are still turned and shaped by hand, individually.

I do think that the Pompeii style was quicker in the production that the previous two types. If the Fulhalm was quicker to produce than the Mainz, I donīt know. There can be other reasons for change or variation in shape. The Fulham and the Mainz are pretty close in shape. I am also not sure there is a clear transition between these two types (personal refletion based on design properties). I would suspect that the Mainz and the Fulham were contemporary, but with the Fulham a little later (?). Differences can be regional as much as anything else.
Please note this is my personal speculation. I donīt know enough of the archaeology of these swords to be able to say more.

On simplification:
When doing the concept sketches for the Fulham I had in mind a hilt that was inspired by the Cologne spatha. That hilt has similar features to an ivory gladi or spatha hilt Iīve studied i the British museum.
What I did not realise at the time was that these facetted planes do not really work on a hilt for such a broad blade as the Fulham. The guard became much too thick and the pommel all too clunky. This has to do with the ergonomical function of the hilt: it is not just an aesthetic cosideration. I needed to change this.
"Simpler" does not always mean less complex. On the photos the hilt looks a bit plain, but I think that when you see it in person you can appreciate the play of volumes and curves better.

How this aplies to the coming spathae I obviously cannot say yet as they are still to be finally developed. I do not make changes without careful consideration. I do respect that customers have expectations about how the swords are turning out based on the concept sketches. A concept sketch however, means that the design is on a concept stage (= preliminary design). The process of development always involve surprices, though. Sometimes to the degree that there is a need for more thorough reworking of ideas. When that is the case I try to keep as close as possible to the spirit of the orignal concept.

I am currently (again) going through my material on spathae, making drawings of blade designs and hilts. The information is scattered over many different sources and that makes it interesting in a special way.
The development and dating of different hilt types is not alwys easy to make out. I think my initial concept ideas were not far from target. The spathae are not going to get any major reworkings from the concepts, although one should expect some small adjustments when going from two dimensional drawing to three dimensional form. If there are any more major ajdjustments, it will be based on historical material (if I have made mistakes in the original concepts) or because a design is less effecive when being made in three dimensions.

I really hope this does not come across as me being defensive: I just like to describe what the process of development and design is like. As the NG line is meant to be accurate representation of actual historical types (not just generally and vaguely "historical") I feel it is my responsibility to incorporate new facts in the designs when I encounter details that have significant bearing on the concepts.
For the roman swords I spent a couple of years collecting data and looking on whatever originals I could lay hands on, but the material is such that it is difficult to get a complete idea of time, types and development.

To me it is great to see the first three gladii now in production. It is an inspiring stepping stone, now that we are pushing the Spathae forward.

Thank you for all the positive response and good questions!
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Thu 13 Oct, 2005 1:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter;

Does not sound defensive at all to me! Anyone who does any creative work would know that early versions of a design are just that early versions and the only way one could stay with the early version would be to force oneself to remain blind to improvements and stubbornly stick with ones first idea while ignoring new information or insights !

So, thanks for taking the time to lead us through the various stages of your creative and research based process.

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Vince Labolito




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PostPosted: Thu 13 Oct, 2005 3:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the response Peter.

As a graphic artist, I can certainly understand the necessity for changes from original concepts to completed projects. In fact, many times the finished piece turns out to far surpass the original concept. The how and why of this evolutionary process are extremely interesting to me, so I really appreciate you taking the time to explain how this can happen on a sword design.

"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.
- Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)
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Steve Grisetti




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PostPosted: Thu 13 Oct, 2005 5:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Johnsson wrote:
..."Simpler" does not always mean less complex. On the photos the hilt looks a bit plain, but I think that when you see it in person you can appreciate the play of volumes and curves better....

The Aquilifer is my favorite of the three new gladii. I find the final hilt design to be very attractive. It draws my eye more than the other two (though the Allectus and Pedite are fine!). However, of the three, I would be more likely to purchase the Pedite, since I already have a 1st gen Mainz, and the Aquilifer is just a little too similar to that one.
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Thu 13 Oct, 2005 11:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steve Grisetti wrote:
Peter Johnsson wrote:
..."Simpler" does not always mean less complex. On the photos the hilt looks a bit plain, but I think that when you see it in person you can appreciate the play of volumes and curves better....

The Aquilifer is my favorite of the three new gladii. I find the final hilt design to be very attractive. It draws my eye more than the other two (though the Allectus and Pedite are fine!). However, of the three, I would be more likely to purchase the Pedite, since I already have a 1st gen Mainz, and the Aquilifer is just a little too similar to that one.


Hey Steve,
I donīt know if it makes any difference for your dicision but you should know that there is actually a big differencebetween these new gladii and their predecessors. The difference is about as big as the difference between the First Gen and Next Gen Crecy. It is dificult to judge this from photos alone as the most dramatic difference will reveal itself the moment you wield the sword, but also in looks the swords are pretty far apart.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 13 Oct, 2005 11:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter, I just wanted to point out my thanks for all the effort you put forth on this site as far as putting out information and sharing an explanation of your process and how it fits into Albion's larger process. I'm particularly excited to see you try to explain the design process and how changes must occur when a product becomes realized into its final state. This is a difficult process to describe in any design environment, despite the medium. You're doing an excellent job with this, despite being cursed with trying to rationalize many things that are not literal or absolute. And for what it's worth, you're doing it without sounding defensive, too.
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Fri 14 Oct, 2005 1:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Nathan, Thanks!

I love the opportuinty to talk about the design aspect of these products. It is an aspect that is much less explored and appreciated than performance and materials. It is as important for the final outcome as anything else however.
The design aspect of developing swords based on archaeological or preserved material is special in several ways. In designing objects that are shaped accoridng to already defined types and following historical styles, you are not supposed to make anything up, only to explore what is already there. The more you look the more there is to find however. Just because there is a well presenved original it does not mean that two different makers are going to arrive at the same result when replicating or recreating the piece. Each and evey person will look for different things and interpret the data in a personal way. Even if you can measure the dimensions, it is not a precise science as much as it is an art.

To have concepts presented publicly before the product is finished is an interesting challenge, but also an inspiration as I can get feedback from customers even before the design of the sword is final. A bit like a custom commission in that respect, actually.
Usually infrmation about product concept is restricted from cusomers and might only be presented after the finished product reaches the market. Thatīs the norm and it is a good idea for several reasons. When we have chosen to present the concepts it is a way to get customers involved in the development of the swords. I think that is a good thing as it creates many questions, in a positive way.
The situation with publicly presented concepts is a bit like what I face when working on custom commissions: you develop an idea that are still only real in the minds of cusomer and maker. It can be thrilling to see how close these two ideas really were when the sword is completed. Thrilling but also frustrating at times...;-)
Sometimes a sword was more discussed while it was in development than when it was presented as a finished product. A case of fluctuating focus of interestes on internet forums, I think. After some time, some sword regain public interest. Sometimes because of a review, sometimes because some one has been thinking about getting one, or has just had one delivered.

As my background is in design, the process of developing ideas coupled with research is close to my heart. There are so many options and so many possibilities. I am often attracted to swords I at first find disturbing or strange, simpy because I know they have some aspect I have not yet understood or appreciated properly. By getting to know these types and learning the reasons for their shape, I will broaden my understaning of swords in general. This affliction of mine is not always the best basis in choosing what types to develop: what I find beautiful and/or intriguing, many customers might find just strange or ugly. Itīs important to keep in mind what might be appealing to a wider group of customers. Still the NG swords are limited production, so itīs not like any of the swords are going to flood the market. They are in between production and custom in this regard. That reflects their character and mode of manufacture very well, I think. This makes it possible to develop models that are not just the basic types in a generic style. There is room for individual expressions and characters. In this they resemble custom swords that are always going to be unique (although the NGīs are going to be made in a few hundreds each).

The established production methods are limitations to take into consideration but also something that empowers the process of development: limitations are motors in idea development, not breaks.
It is also very different to develop something that will be made in some numbers by other craftsmen, rather than making one peice in your own workshop: I have to be precise in what I describe, but still leave room for creativity of the artisans at Albion. Having to develop an understandable language for describing the finer details in designs have helped me tremedously in my own work. After six years of intensive deisgn work for Albion, I apporach my own projects in a very different way. It has been a great boon to be able to see how minute changes in otherwise identical blades result in changes in performance and handling. These kind of focused experiments are beyond what I can do in my own smithy, for sevral reasons both practical and economical. It has also been a help for me when documenting originals, providing me with more tools for evaluating what I see.

Personally I find design work based on partly preserved originals very interesting. Here again there are limitatons. In this case the limitations are the very reason for the product to begin with. Limitations, boundaries are what defines a historical types. There is a logic in how the boundaries relate to the sword itself and swords of other types. To explore these boundaries or design criteria is big part of the fun. It also creates a new kind of realtionship to these objects.
It is a bit like making drawings when you do not only look at the positive shapes but also the empty space between the volumes. Those who are familiar with art training will perhaps understand what I am talking about?

Enough mumbling from me!
-Back on topic Happy Cool
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