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Thread: British infantry swords, m. 1796 and m. 1803

  1. #51
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    How did I miss that loop hilt? Wonderful! I like that Prussian sword too--I have a new attraction to those heavy bladed Prussian "small-swords".
    Tom Donoho

  2. #52
    Really they are more like transition rapiers or as someone stated earlier "demi-swords". A term I quite like.
    Peace, Love, SWORDS!

  3. #53
    I wanted to post some pics of a particularly beautiful example of the 96 pattern. One of the guards was (sadly) removed for ease of wear. The blade is 1.25 at the forte. Definitely a fighting example. Very similar to one that I own in the stoutness of the blade and the non-dainty dimensions of the hilt. Enjoy!
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    Peace, Love, SWORDS!

  4. #54
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    Morgan.

    Please would you post a pic of the area where the shell was removed. I don't mind such alteration if it was done "properly" for better wear/use according to the officer's needs/taste.
    Tom Donoho

  5. #55
    Yes, in this instance I don't mind the removal either, shows that it was worn. Though the extra-stout spadroon blade doesn't look like it saw too much action...
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    Peace, Love, SWORDS!

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by morgan butler View Post
    I wanted to post some pics of a particularly beautiful example of the 96 pattern. One of the guards was (sadly) removed for ease of wear. The blade is 1.25 at the forte. Definitely a fighting example. Very similar to one that I own in the stoutness of the blade and the non-dainty dimensions of the hilt. Enjoy!
    The glit and the bone make that one good looking ole gal. Eric
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

  7. #57
    Yes it is. I've been looking at it on-line for a week now. Very beautiful with a really nice blade!
    Really, even though the thread is titled B.I.S. 1796 and 1803 some of these swords are pre-1796. this pattern for officers and NCO's was around far longer than that. I really enjoy the many variations of the earlier ones. Often rather plain and practical looking even for officers. Of the four that I own, they are all quite different.
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    Last edited by morgan butler; 03-19-2016 at 01:22 PM.
    Peace, Love, SWORDS!

  8. #58
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    I've always liked the British M1796 light infantry sword. I have a nice example of one made for the U.S. market. Peterson's identifies it as a Topographical Engineer's sword, although he offers no real evidence this was an official pattern other than that the sword illustrated belonged to a topographical engineer. I rather suspect this was just a particular officer's individual choice vice a branch pattern. Charles Cureton, an authority on early Marine swords, believes this pattern was also used by Marine officers in the first decade of the 19th century. Whatever it is, I do like it.

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    The M1796 was also the obvious inspiration for the M1840 Foot Officers sword, albeit perhaps through intervening French and/or German models. The influence shows particularly well in my Horstmann general officers' version (sometimes called the M1851 Generals Sword).


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    Last edited by Richard Schenk; 03-19-2016 at 02:06 PM.

  9. #59
    An interesting observation/reflection is that when I first started moving in this realm of antiques, these type of swords (the Officers straight sword)were really going thru a period of enthusiasm and appreciation as far as this site (as I remember it..) A lot of people that actually ignited my interest in them (and really this "type" of sword all over Europe) have moved on in fields of history/swords. I learned a lot about these from them and still imagine they know more than me now.
    Peace, Love, SWORDS!

  10. #60
    Hello Richard,
    Those are both very nice. What does the sword in the top photo have about it that suggests it was made for the U.S. Market?
    That 1840 sword is interesting. I have never seen that before. I will have to look at that for awhile.
    Peace, Love, SWORDS!

  11. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by morgan butler View Post
    Hello Richard,
    Those are both very nice. What does the sword in the top photo have about it that suggests it was made for the U.S. Market?
    That 1840 sword is interesting. I have never seen that before. I will have to look at that for awhile.
    Hi Morgan,

    Primarily the etching on the blade. The reverse is decorated with foliage, a US Federal Eagle and 16 stars, and a banner with "E Pluribus Unum." There is a ribbon below that with the word "Warranted." The obverse has foliage, the head of an indian maiden, and a large trophy of arms topped with a liberty cap. All these are typical of English swords made for the American market. Although inclusion of the word "Warrented" usually indicates English manufacture, some German makers would also copy it and other featureson their swords for export to the US in order to appear British.

  12. #62
    Ah, that would do it. Should you get the chance could you post some pics of the indian maiden, liberty cap, stars etc?
    Peace, Love, SWORDS!

  13. #63
    Since Jan 2016 I have acquired 2 more NCO versions of the "1796" infantry model. These are probably my last forays with this pattern. What I thought was interesting was that these last true NCO version have very diminutive hilts. My officer versions of this pattern have somewhat larger hilts and pommels. I wonder if NCO hilts were made smaller on purpose or is it a way to date them. Perhaps the smaller hilts are perhaps 18th century. Having problems posting pics today. Won't accept them. However they are the same size that I've uploaded here before....
    Last edited by morgan butler; 05-02-2016 at 04:19 PM.
    Peace, Love, SWORDS!

  14. #64
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    1796 pattern I know very little about them but have to agree with Morgan and Richard they are facinating.



    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

  15. #65
    Is that 1796 spadroon a recent purchase? Looks like a later-ish version with the silver-foil wrap on the grip instead of the chain. Very nice example. Is it my imagination or is the butterfly guard on that thick and sturdy? Usually they are quite thin on the folding-guard models. I think you should post a pic of it with your 96 NCO version for contrast/comparison
    Last edited by morgan butler; 08-12-2016 at 08:47 PM.
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  16. #66
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    Morgan it is quite new. It was with a Virginia Manufactory artillery sword I won at auction. I did not think much on it until it arrived as I was focused on the artillery Holy grail. It is a beauty to me but sadly I am back on road and will not be home for a week. I will then post measurements and comparison photos. In the mean time "why is it etched with two different makers or distributers on opposite ricassos? You say later, can you give me a range and how you know? I was thrilled to see it and can't wait to read up when I return home. I think perhaps you give me a 1796 bug. Eric
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

  17. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Schenk View Post
    I've always liked the British M1796 light infantry sword. I have a nice example of one made for the U.S. market. Peterson's identifies it as a Topographical Engineer's sword, although he offers no real evidence this was an official pattern other than that the sword illustrated belonged to a topographical engineer. I rather suspect this was just a particular officer's individual choice vice a branch pattern. Charles Cureton, an authority on early Marine swords, believes this pattern was also used by Marine officers in the first decade of the 19th century.
    I just acquired a copy of Robson's "bible" on UK Army swords. I was interested to read his comment on the M1796 Infantry that "Despite its defects, virtually the same pattern was in use c1805 in the United States Engineering Corps". I wonder if he was just parroting Peterson, or if there is evidence the US Army adopted this pattern for use by its engineer officers rather than, as I speculated, it being just the individual choice of one specific Army topographical engineer.

  18. #68
    Interesting Richard. I wish I knew the answer.
    Eric,
    I usually attribute foil wrapped grips to later in the the 1796's active career. That is a foil wrapped grip is it not?
    Peace, Love, SWORDS!

  19. #69
    Also, someone picked up a real beauty on their very first sword, a very nice pre-1801 version.
    http://www.swordforum.com/forums/sho...nd-first-sword
    Peace, Love, SWORDS!

  20. #70
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    Morgan it is silver foil but as yet not cleaned up, it is almost exactly like the grips on my m1832/34 General and staffs. Does any one reconize maker or distributer stamps on ricasso? These are beautiful swords but having some difficulty distinguishing the 1796 pattern from the earlier version. I sumize from his thread they do not have folding guards befor 1801. Are there any other distinct differences in the earlier models and pre 1796 model?
    Last edited by Eric Fairbanks; 08-17-2016 at 06:14 AM.
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

  21. #71
    Yes, instead of silver/copper foil they used wire. More expensive and labor intensive. They used wire after 1801 as well, but I'm not exactly sure when they switched to the foil wrap. I imagine towards the end of the Napoleonic Wars. I'll try to find out.
    Peace, Love, SWORDS!

  22. #72
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    My slotted hilt has been ballparked as the 1780s and had the metal on wood "foil" at one time. 1796 is but four years until 1800, so splitting hairs to determine which were before 1800 a bit of a trick. I have seen more re-wrapped in wire than were originally wire (just an observation).

  23. #73
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    Does anyone have a photo of the early types. It is my understanding this type started to evolve around 1780. Is that correct? I am sorry I was unclear I am not a master of words only the arc. Regards Eric
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

  24. #74
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    I would presume the wire wrapped grip came first then the foil wrap. My logic is the ovoid shape of the grip tends to allow the wire to loosen easily, a wire loop rolling over the next of slightly smaller diameter. Any wood grip core shrinkage would aid this slippage.

  25. #75
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    I have tried to re wrap ovoid grips most with the thickened middle. It is near impossible without first applying double stick tape or some other non slip or sticky surface first. I have tried with both soft and hard wire. I would have to agree with Will, many of my wire old wrapped grips have become loose. While I do not have the skill set these early sword manufacturers did even their grips lossen as they dry and age shrink. Excellent observation Will, the how and why of sword making trends is perhaps the most interesting to me. I would suppose in the heat of a conflict a sweaty slick palm could cost you much. Eric
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

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