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Thread: P/1796 17th Light Dragoon sword & scabbard

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012

    P/1796 17th Light Dragoon sword & scabbard

    Another scabbard query, I have a 17LD marked Pattern 1796 Light Cavalry sword. The scabbard that it is in is of a very dark patina and in all protected areas there is very old black paint.
    I don't know for certain if the scabbard is original to the blade, I suspect not, it does not share a 17LD marking. The only scabbard marking is H.B.H stamped on the scabbard throat opening.

    My questions are:
    Did the 17 LD have polished or black scabbards?
    Any ideas for what H.B.H. represents?
    I gather that P/79 LI black painted scabbards are not uncommon, but have not read of any certain explanation of their provenance - other than a theory that perhaps it was to prevent corrosion?
    Thanks in advance, Adrian.

  2. #2
    Hi Adrian, I think you may find that the black paint was added after the swords service with the cavalry. my understanding is that some french cavalry regiments painted their swords black at the start of WW1 but this was not the case with british cavalry at any time so the paints just to stop corrosion. so this answers the polished scabbards part of your question, sorry i have know idea about the HBH markings. michael

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Kingston area, Ontario Canada
    Is there a possibility that the remaining black is japanning? I don't have a direct reference at hand for the use of it on British swords, but have read it was used on basket hilted swords, therefore in the same time period.
    Paint stripper may not have been able to remove it all so remnants in those protected areas remain.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    North of Reno NV
    My US 1796 pattern saber seems to have what looks like it might have what is left of a black japanned finish mixed with rust. I read somewhere that some US swords with iron fittings were to be jappanned black, but I can't recall where I read it. I will try and find it, as I don't have that many sword books.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Thanks for the replies.
    It does not appear to be japanning, thought difficult to be certain with only small reas remaining.


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