Closed ports on swept hilt rapiers
When did closed ports started to appear on the swept hilt rapiers? I have seen rapiers, dated to the late 1600th century, with closed ports, but I guess that the ports are from a later date.

AVB Norman traces them back to the late 16th century. One of the earliest examples he found is pictured in this portrait from 1582:

Thank you Vincent. That's earlier than I thought but its solves some of my problems.
I would agree that the general consensus is they became more commonplace around 1600, but, as noted above, there is evidence (Norman included) that there were examples in the very late 16th century. As with most technology I guess there can be early 'cutting edge' examples before the form becomes standard.

I also agree it can be tricky with rapiers around this period to tell if the closing was done later. I have a couple of rapiers which could be 1600, could be 1590-ish which have closed ports like that and I believe they are original to the rapiers. In the sense there is no obvious artificiality to the structure or finish to suggest otherwise, but not always easy to tell.


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