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Postby Matt Easton » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:25 pm

Hi Gordon,
Yes I'd say any time between 1864 and 1877 in theory.
In addition to what I said above, Hutton was championing the use of steel practice sabres instead of the more commonly used singlesticks as early as his 1862 and 1867 manuals. It's clear though that for economic, safety or laziness reasons, most instructors stuck with singlesticks until the 80s or 90s.
Schola Gladiatoria - Historical Swordsmanship in London
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Postby Gordons Horse » Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:19 am

Hi Matt,

Just another point that's worth considering, is the fact that the majority of numbered Garden blades are characterized by a three digit number; if this factor is applied to your practice sword, it would mean the number is actually 728, with the other two digits to the right being a different number or coding of sorts.

This of course has no bearing on swords sold by different merchants (or makers), and only applies to swords sold under the name of GARDEN.

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Postby Gordons Horse » Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:42 pm

Gavin Locke wrote:Hi Gordon,

Regarding purchase date I would estimate between 1855 and 1861. My friend Matt thinks the grip material (composite) suggests a date after 1855. According to Bezdek, Garden moved to 29 Piccadilly around 1862 (although you may well know more about the dates).
At this point J D Woollcombe was either a captain in the Bombay Artillery or potentially brevet major in 1858.

Hi Gavin,

Placing an accurate date on the manufacture of swords sold by Garden is a difficult task, in the first instance owing to the fact that there's no surviving documentation of their activity; and in the second instance, the very limited number of surviving examples for cross reference.

My observation is that of a small number of swords (say four or five) from the 1850s that I've managed to record, some have the same dimension of marking of the GARDEN name as on the back edge as your sword. Of this small number, one is the sword that was owned by Lord Roberts, which in my view is pre-mutiny and most likely the sword he used during the Mutiny. The only identifying mark of any description on Roberts sword is the name GARDEN stamped on the back edge of the blade however, it seems that later blade did not have precisely the same stamped name. This in my view is a dating factor.

Henry Wilkinson sold swords with composition grips that were used during the Crimean Campaign, and this fact, combined with the particular way your blade is marked, the leads me to suggest that your Garden sword dates to circa 1854-55, purchase possibly influenced by Woollcombes' promotion to the rank of Captain in the Regiment 25th February 1854.
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