British Quill Point Swords

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Re: British Quill Point Swords

Postby Richard » Wed Nov 09, 2016 8:53 am

Hi Bryce
I have an article on Damascus steel blades which appeared in the 'Penny Magazine' in April 1839. It appears that some European manufacturers (French) found a way to produce steel which when forged as a blade imitated the surface pattern of Damascus steel but obviously it was not true Damascus steel. I am guessing this might be such a blade and it would be very interesting to know who made it - I suppose no maker's name is evident?
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Re: British Quill Point Swords

Postby Bryce » Wed Nov 09, 2016 10:26 am

G'day Richard,

I agree. If it isn't etching, it is much more likely to be pattern welded rather than true Damascus. No evidence of a maker's name that I can see from the photos. I will know more when I receive the sword in a couple of weeks (hopefully).

Cheers,

Bryce
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Re: British Quill Point Swords

Postby Will Mathieson » Wed Nov 09, 2016 4:51 pm

Lets hope the blade is Damascus seeing the asking price of the sword. The blade restored will be a real looker!
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Re: British Quill Point Swords

Postby Bryce » Tue Nov 22, 2016 3:09 am

G'day Guys,

The mameluke turned up today. The hilt and grip are a little loose and banged up, and the scabbard is a bit more pitted than I thought, but other than that it is in pretty good nick. Unfortunately no sign of a maker's mark.

The steel of the blade is patterned. It reminds me of the "itame/masame" mix you see in some Japanese swords. The blade is 83cm long and 37mm wide at the ricasso. The blade curvature lies somewhere between that of a celtic hilt quill-point and a standard 1796 pattern light cavalry sword. I will post some more pictures when I have cleaned it up a bit.

Cheers,

Bryce
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Re: British Quill Point Swords

Postby swordcollector1 » Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:12 am

Hi all,

In catch-up mode on this forum having been tied up with other projects for a month or two. Here's my contribution to the quill point theme - a very handy fighting sword with Prosser blade and P1822 infantry hilt:

DSCN7377 (2).JPG
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Re: British Quill Point Swords

Postby sword335 » Tue Nov 22, 2016 6:03 pm

Interesting that the "proof" stamp has been put on after the blade was etched. Not something that I've noticed before.

Chris.
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Re: British Quill Point Swords

Postby Bryce » Wed Nov 23, 2016 12:40 am

G'day John,

What are the dimensions of your blade?
A couple of months ago there was a stirrup-hilted quill-point on ebay with a similar scabbard to yorurs.

Cheers,
Bryce
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Re: British Quill Point Swords

Postby Bryce » Wed Nov 23, 2016 12:57 am

Based on the blade and scabbard design I think my mameluke-hilted example posted above was probably made around 1814-1821. The steel hilt is similar to examples carried by light cavalry officers serving in India around this time. Because of the plain scabbard and full size blade, I don't think this was a dress sword, but more likely a service sword some high ranking officer had made while serving in India or perhaps after serving in India. Despite no markings it has to be British doesn't it? Has anyone come across a patterned steel blade on a British sword like this before?

Cheers,
Bryce
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Re: British Quill Point Swords

Postby Richard » Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:52 am

sword335 wrote:Interesting that the "proof" stamp has been put on after the blade was etched. Not something that I've noticed before.

Chris.


Chris and John

From Lygon's 2LG blade dated 1832
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Re: British Quill Point Swords

Postby Richard » Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:56 am

Bryce wrote:Based on the blade and scabbard design I think my mameluke-hilted example posted above was probably made around 1814-1821. The steel hilt is similar to examples carried by light cavalry officers serving in India around this time. Because of the plain scabbard and full size blade, I don't think this was a dress sword, but more likely a service sword some high ranking officer had made while serving in India or perhaps after serving in India. Despite no markings it has to be British doesn't it? Has anyone come across a patterned steel blade on a British sword like this before?

Cheers,
Bryce


Bryce
Yes, its certainly British, no other nation as far as I am aware used that 'quill-point' blade design. Also I agree that the 'quill-point' can only be thought of as a 'fighting' blade and I have never seen patterned steel as good as that on any other British made blade - pity the maker did not put his name on it.
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Re: British Quill Point Swords

Postby swordcollector1 » Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:57 am

Bryce wrote:What are the dimensions of your blade?


Hi Bryce,

Blade length is 30", and the false edge/quill point account for the last 13" of that. Width at forte is 1 3/8". It has a number stamped on one of the bars of the hilt which I can't account for - maybe just a museum catalogue number?

John
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Re: British Quill Point Swords

Postby Bryce » Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:51 am

G'day Richard,

I rediscovered your old post on the Wallis and Wallis Sale 189. You described one of the swords in this sale (2nd from right) as a mameluke-hilted sword belonging to Sir Henry Bradford of the 1st Foot Guards who died of wounds received at Waterloo. The hilt and scabbard look similar to mine, although it appears to have the more usual flat unfullered blade. Did the catalogue give any more detail about the provenance of this sword? If this is true it helps to further date my sword to the 1814-21 period.

Cheers,

Bryce
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Re: British Quill Point Swords

Postby Richard » Fri Nov 25, 2016 6:57 am

Hi Bryce
Catalogue description is below. Funny you should mention this one - I believe it will shortly come up for sale again for the first time in 44 years - keep an eye on Lawrence's of Crewkerne auctions.
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Re: British Quill Point Swords

Postby Bryce » Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:31 pm

Thanks for that Richard. Are any of the other swords from this sale also making an appearance?

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Bryce
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Re: British Quill Point Swords

Postby Richard » Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:04 am

Hi Bryce
I have viewed the collection that's currently being put through Lawrence's (a few at a time) but as far as I can remember, no others from W&W Sale 189. I think there will be some interesting ones though ...
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Re: British Quill Point Swords

Postby JordanPL » Sun Nov 27, 2016 4:06 pm

Any clues Richard?
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Re: British Quill Point Swords

Postby Richard » Sun Nov 27, 2016 7:00 pm

Jordan
It was a while ago that I saw the collection so I can't remember too many details. Keep watching Lawrence's of Crewkerne
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Re: British Quill Point Swords

Postby JordanPL » Sun Nov 27, 2016 7:43 pm

Will do Richard...and I guess we will just have to be patient :)
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Re: British Quill Point Swords

Postby Gordons Horse » Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:19 pm

Just for the sake of interest, 2nd Bombay Light Cavalry sword stolen in transit.
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lg_P1010012.jpg 2nd Bombay Light Cavalry point.jpg
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Re: British Quill Point Swords

Postby Bryce » Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:40 pm

G'day Gordon,

I was aware of your sword going missing, so when mine seemed to "disappear" from tracking for 5 days in transit I was beginning to worry. Luckily mine turned up.

Has anyone ever come across any historical references to these quill-point blades. It is interesting that they seemed to flourish for a few years either side of Waterloo and then disappeared, except for the shortened form in the 1827 pattern naval sword. I have often thought that the "jump up" in the false edge could lead to the sword being trapped in an opponents body. Later examples as in John's sword above don't have this feature.

Cheers,

Bryce
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Re: British Quill Point Swords

Postby Gordons Horse » Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:37 am

Bryce,

In terms of the more extended use (beyond the immediate Waterloo period), India appears to be the place, and although use of this blade type was certainly not widespread, one notable example would be the sword carried by Macolm Scrimshire Green of the Scinde Irregular Horse; M. S. Green was an officer of the 16th Bombay Native Infantry who was appointed to the Scinde Horse in 1850.

Having said that, I can sight two other examples with the quill point blade, both of which I consider were more than likely to do with India: one example was made by Prosser with a Light Cavalry hilt where the blade is marked "Prosser Manufacturer to the King" on the present side, and "Prosser Invention London" on the reverse, but no Royal Crown or cipher; the other example has a steel Light Infantry strung bugle hilt, and a completely plain blade; I consider this last example to be William IV, and the Prosser example to be on the cusp of William IV - Queen Victoria.
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Re: British Quill Point Swords

Postby Bryce » Fri Dec 02, 2016 1:37 am

G'day Guys,

As Richard mentions in his book, the quill-point blade has a lot of similarities with the Turkish kilij. Both blades have a stiffened back and flared cutting point. In the case of the Kilij, the back is t-shaped compared to the pipe-back of the British version. My mameluke-hilted , more curved, Damascus steel quill-point shows clearly where Prosser may have got his inspiration from. What puzzles me is why Prosser decided to put the larger cutting surface above the spine in the "false-edge" rather than the "true" edge?

Cheers,

Bryce
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Re: British Quill Point Swords

Postby Will Mathieson » Fri Dec 02, 2016 6:49 am

I believe the sharpened false edge was done because of the sword fighting techniques used in the time and place, India.
Opportunity for a quick back handed slash, for lack of a better term.
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Re: British Quill Point Swords

Postby Richard » Sat Dec 03, 2016 10:42 am

Will Mathieson wrote:I believe the sharpened false edge was done because of the sword fighting techniques used in the time and place, India.
Opportunity for a quick back handed slash, for lack of a better term.


Will

When this blade first made its appearance c. 1813 mounted with the 'Celtic hilt', it was used by the regular army - most prominently the 4th Dragoons. Only later (post c. 1818) did it seem to catch on in India where officers were always looking for the best fighting blade. As well as providing a backwards cut, I would have thought the design had excellent piercing qualities in the thrust?

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Re: British Quill Point Swords

Postby Will Mathieson » Sat Dec 03, 2016 2:33 pm

Piercing should be good, and for chain mail possibly? The blade design returned in the 1850's 60's with the British Lancaster and the 1860 Prussian fusiliers and the later 1898 German bayonet. The authorities must have viewed the design as good for piercing.
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