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Thread: Need some help with a British 1788 cavalry sword

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Rugby, UK
    Posts
    545

    Need some help with a British 1788 cavalry sword

    I picked this up very recently.
    Catalogue description:
    1788 Pattern Cavalry Sword, 291/2inch single edged slightly curved blade. Large fuller with narrowback edge fuller. Steel D shaped knuckle bow and downswept quillon.Steel backstrap. Polised wooden angled ribbed grip. Some edge nicks.

    My stats:

    Weight, sword:1lb 5oz (0.6kg)
    Length overall: 35'' (89cm) Blade:29.5''(75cm)
    POB: 6.5'' (16.5cm) fromcrossguard.
    Profile taper: 1.27'' (32.4 cm) at ricasso, 1.15'' (29.2mm) at mid blade, 1.03'' (26.2mm) 2 inches fromtip.
    Distal taper 0.29''(7.4.mm) at ricasso, 0.17'' (4.3mm)at mid blade, 0.12'' (3mm) 2inches from tip.

    These stats make it a lot smaller and lighter than the regulation 36 inch blade and 2lb 14oz weight of a 1788 according to Robson. Also there are no langets on the hilt. The angled ribbed grip with no langets is similar to a 1788 hilt shown in World Swords, 2006 edition by Harvey Withers, page 80. He describes this a variant, possibly Volunteer Regiment. The large fuller ends only 3 inches from the point which may indicate the sword has been cut down but it doesn't look like it has been altered.
    Any ideas anyone? The only suggestion that I could come up with is that this is a non-regulation infantry officer's sword. I know that flank company officers later liked to carry swords that looked like scaled down versions of the iconic 1796 light cavalry blade. Anybody seen similar before?
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    The journey not the destination

  2. #2
    I think that you are correct in identifying this as a non-regulation infantry officer's sword.

  3. #3
    A very nice non-regulation infantry officer's sword.
    Peace, Love, SWORDS!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Nipmuc USA
    Posts
    12,001
    I've a similar short sabre. The counterguard had been broken off at some point. I have some picture files of other shorter bladed examples, so they must have been somewhat common.. I would list them as stirrup rather than D hilts but it is a small matter.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; mine had arrived with aspadroon of the same fashion
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Rugby, UK
    Posts
    545
    Thank you all. I'm slowly getting there. Glen I can find no trace of a counterguard on mine, I don't think it ever had one. Is your sabre by an American maker? I think mine is British but there is nothing to say it is other than the general style, so I am prepared to be educated on this.
    The journey not the destination

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Nipmuc USA
    Posts
    12,001
    Hi Guy, I think both my pair shown are British made. The butts show two different ways. The hussar type hilts anything but specifically 1788 but I think the grip shape more defines the trend of the 1790s. My Woolley spadroon is similar in all respects, as far as shape goes.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; There were some hussar type hilts from America such as the Rose and Starr cavalry sabers of the late 18th century.

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