JJ Runkel Swords

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Bryce
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JJ Runkel Swords

Post by Bryce » Tue Mar 19, 2019 3:49 am

G'day Guys,

I have an 1803 with a Runkel marked blade which came with a steel scabbard. The scabbard is unmarked, but very much in the style of Prosser. I know there is no guarantee that the scabbard and sword are original to each other, but they could be. In the past I have seen other Runkel marked blades in similar unmarked scabbards. Prosser often used Runkel blades, particularly in his early years. How can you tell if a sword was mounted by Runkel himself or some other sword cutler like Prosser if the scabbard isn't marked?

Has anyone ever come across a scabbard marked to Runkel?

On this particular 1803 the tang peen on the lion head has been hidden, but on most others it is left exposed. I guess this was just a matter of personal preference. Any thoughts?

Cheers,
Bryce
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Richard
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Re: JJ Runkel Swords

Post by Richard » Tue Mar 19, 2019 12:58 pm

Hi Bryce

Judging by what records we have of him, I think Runkel imported more blades than fully made-up swords and certainly I have never seen Runkel's name appear anywhere other than on blades. I also think it is more common to find that, when a Runkel blade is used, there is no other maker indicated to show who may have hilted and scabbarded the blade - your 1803 being one such example.

However, those English makers I have seen who did use Runkel blades and put their names on the scabbard include Egg, Knubley, R Johnston, Brunn, Archer and, as you say, Prosser. One such example by Prosser which appeared in Wallis & Wallis sale 189, lot 1166 and which is referred to as an 1803 grenadier sword is given below.

Richard
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Jerry
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Re: JJ Runkel Swords

Post by Jerry » Sun Mar 24, 2019 11:09 am

I copied this small item at some time which suggests Runkel was purely a blade importer. The company's rapid demise around 1807 allows quite tight dating of your sword to 1803-7.

"J J Runkel of London imported many thousands of blades from Solingen from around 1780 until his business came to an abrupt end in 1807 when the Emperor Napoleon imposed his “Continental System” banning all trade between Britain and continental Europe under his control." (Classic Arms and Militaria Vol.XIII No.1)

Jerry

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Richard
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Re: JJ Runkel Swords

Post by Richard » Sun Mar 24, 2019 6:03 pm

Jerry wrote:
Sun Mar 24, 2019 11:09 am
I copied this small item at some time which suggests Runkel was purely a blade importer. The company's rapid demise around 1807 allows quite tight dating of your sword to 1803-7.

"J J Runkel of London imported many thousands of blades from Solingen from around 1780 until his business came to an abrupt end in 1807 when the Emperor Napoleon imposed his “Continental System” banning all trade between Britain and continental Europe under his control." (Classic Arms and Militaria Vol.XIII No.1)

Jerry
Hi Jerry
I think that I wrote that but I certainly didn’t mean to imply that Runkel imported blades only. Other records indicate that he also imported complete swords and even unmanufactured steel.
Richard

Jerry
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Re: JJ Runkel Swords

Post by Jerry » Sun Mar 24, 2019 6:52 pm

Ah, OK thanks Richard. Apologies for the lack of attribution! I had it copied among my useful snippets of information but without an author.

Jerry

Bryce
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Re: JJ Runkel Swords

Post by Bryce » Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:14 am

G'day Guys,

For some reason I had always assumed that Runkel put together his own swords as well. The Runkel marked 1796 LC and HC trooper swords you sometimes come across, were these imported fully from Solingen? Is there any evidence of him supplying made up swords to the Board of Ordnance?
Cheers,
Bryce

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Richard
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Re: JJ Runkel Swords

Post by Richard » Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:30 am

Hi Bryce
As far as I am aware, Runkel was a merchant pure and simple. At his trial for smuggling in 1787, the charge against him was that he had smuggled 1,778 German swords into the country (as part of his sentence, these were later destroyed). The particular Germanic style of 1788 pattern light cavalry troopers' swords which bear Runkel's name on their blades would appear to be examples of complete swords imported from Germany. The example below has Runkel's name on the back edge plus a Board of Ordnance stamp on the blade. I also used to have a 1796 trooper's sword by Runkel with BO stamp and marked to the 28th Light Dragoons.

Having said that, Runkel's name is most frequently found on officers' swords. Since there were many makers in London supplying officers' swords, it would seem only logical that the majority of his business featured the import of blades to supply to those makers.

Richard
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