Substatial Small-Sword
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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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.
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. :\ ......McM
I would describe the shells as substantial as well. 1.75 mm thick in the middle and 3.65mm on the raised edges.

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.
That's kind of where my train of thought was going. I had heard of sword hilts being painted as mourning swords. ......McM
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: :)

EDIT Found the other one. It links to a video: :)
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!

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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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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Substantial smallsword
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.

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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