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Thread: Did someone say there aren't enough 1796LC threads?

  1. #1
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    Did someone say there aren't enough 1796LC threads?

    Hi all,

    Very pleased with my new purchase which I believe is an original 1796 light cavalry sabre.

    Partially I just want to talk about it because it's beautiful but I welcome any observations, help with history or just general pats on the back. I may be handing out cigars at the end.

    Although I bought it from auction I was told that this was an item that has been handed into a charity shop!

    Stamped on the false edge is Josh H Reddeli & Co. Although this might be a poor stamping and I understand it may be Reddell. I have found references to both possibilities in multiple places. If it is a poor stamp then I'm not the only one who's made the mistake.

    I understand this Birmingham company was producing between 1816-1821 (May & Annis) but I've been unable to find anything further as yet.

    The dimensions as follows:

    Blade length: 32 1/2"
    Blade max width: 1 1/2"
    Fuller length: 26"
    Sword weight: 2lb 1oz
    Scabbard weight: 2lb 7oz

    It has a hatchet point blade with much (apparently) old edge damage. The blade itself has a double bend and is also twisted although it still fits the scabbard.

    The blade is sharp in places and hasn't been repaired since all the edge damage. When people say "service sharpened" is there any indicators as to whether this was original or has happened later in its life?

    There are two nicks in the hilt one on the knucklebow and one on the quillon extremely closer to the meat of the forefinger knuckle. Both nicks look like from a very sharp object and the larger will have put the wielder at some risk of an ouchy!

    Could this be battle damage? Could it have been from sparing? Did troopers spar with sharpened weapons? (I have my doubts whether anyone would, trooper or misguided civilian owners?)

    The inside? langet is missing, removed cleanly (preference or cleaning up a break?) but I've read that this can be common and troopers someone choose to do this. Anyone know why?

    The blade has an inspection stamp of Crown over partial 4 which I have seen an exact match of on another pattern sword. There is some surface damaged on the ricasso where the langet is missing and I can't tell if this is hiding further markings.

    There are no visible markings on the hilt and although it is badly pitted i don't think this is enough to have obliterated any signs of a marking so I assume there was none. Another 1796 by the same maker was discussed under previous thread which contained markings on the quillon but nothing to indicate a regiment.

    Would love to hear from anyone with any info about this manufacturer and where their 1796's went.

    I'll post some pictures tomorrow. Would welcome advice about possible efforts to straighten the blade and whether it is worth the risk of breakage. I've seen Matt Easton's You Tube video (involving the death of a workbench) but I'm not sure this method would deal with the twist.

    Finally it may be bent and not in great condition..... but I still think it is awesome. Can't believe someone gave it away!
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    Last edited by james.elstob; 04-10-2016 at 02:46 AM.

  2. #2
    Here are the listings in the Birmingham Trade Directories for J H Reddell & Co:

    Chapman’s 1803: Reddell & Bate, Sword Cutlers, fine Steel toy-makers, Nail & Iron Dealers, etc. etc. – Manufactory Carey’s- Court, Dale-End

    Holden’s triennial 1805-07: [no entry]

    New Triennial 1808: Reddell & Co., sword cutlers, fine steel toy-makers, nail & iron dealers, etc. etc. – Manufactory Carey’s Court, Dale End

    Holden’s triennial 1808-11: Reddell, J H & Co., sword cutlers to the Board of Ordnance, Dale-end

    Wrightson 1812: Reddell & Co., sword cutlers, fine steel toy-makers, nail & iron dealers, etc. etc. – Manufactory Carey’s Court, Dale End

    Wrightson & Thomson 1812: Reddell & Co., sword cutlers, fine steel toy-makers, nail & iron dealers, etc. etc. – Manufactory Carey’s Court, Dale End

    Wrightson 1815: [no entry]

    Commercial 1816-17: Sword Makers: Reddell, Joseph H & Co, Carey’s- Court, Dale-End

    Holden’s Biennial 1816-17: [no entry]

    Wrightson 1818: Reddell, J H & Co., sword manufacturers, Dale-End

    Commercial 1818-20: Sword Cutlers: Reddell, Joseph H & Co, Carey’s- Court, Dale-End

    Wrightson 1821: Sword Makers: Reddall [sic] J H

    I would date your sword between 1808 and 1815
    Celeriter nil crede

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    More images. In the final 2 is there a deliberate marking of "C" or is it just a small horseshoe shape damage? It seems a strange place for a deliberate mark.
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    Last edited by james.elstob; 04-10-2016 at 03:01 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Dellar View Post
    Here are the listings in the Birmingham Trade Directories for J H Reddell & Co:

    I would date your sword between 1808 and 1815
    Thanks Richard,

    Is it something about the swords features which suggests these dates to you, or something about your analysis of the manufacturers info you've listed which I am not grasping.

    Regards

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by james.elstob View Post
    Thanks Richard,

    Is it something about the swords features which suggests these dates to you, or something about your analysis of the manufacturers info you've listed which I am not grasping.

    Regards
    Well it would appear that J H Reddell was in partnership with Thomas Bate certainly in 1803 (and later as noted below) so I chose the early date of 1808 as being the first time he appears in the directories in his own right. I chose 1815 as the end date as I believe very few troopers' swords were manufactured after the end of the Napoleonic wars (notwithstanding that the pattern was not superseded until 1821).

    I have a sword by Reddell & Bate which was presented by Major Wickham of the Frome & East Mendip Volunteer Cavalry to Trooper Stephen Middleton in 1805 as a swordmanship prize which indicates that Reddell was still in partnership with Bate at that time.
    Celeriter nil crede

  6. #6
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    Richard, I understand now.

    I mistakenly thought that 1816 was the first time they were listed with full name and initial rather than just "Reddell & Co" but I had overlooked the entry from Holden’s triennial 1808-11.

    Many thanks

    N. B. In hindsight however I was working under the assumption that his listing in the trade directories would accurately reflect his maker's mark used at a that time however after further consideration this seems unlikely.?
    Last edited by james.elstob; 04-10-2016 at 05:17 AM.

  7. #7
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    I would date your sword between 1808 and 1815
    Sorry to prester you Richard but is there a way of identifying orders made to Reddell during this period by the board of ordnance? Just wondered how many batches they made and when to try to narrow the date further.

    Also I note under another thread that you refer to another manufacturers 1796 being in a Reddell scabbard. The images however are no longer available so I am unsure how you could tell. Perhaps there was a makers mark on the scabbard?

    How can I identify mine as being original to the sword or at least made by Reddell is there are no makings?
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by james.elstob View Post
    Sorry to prester you Richard but is there a way of identifying orders made to Reddell during this period by the board of ordnance? Just wondered how many batches they made and when to try to narrow the date further.

    Also I note under another thread that you refer to another manufacturers 1796 being in a Reddell scabbard. The images however are no longer available so I am unsure how you could tell. Perhaps there was a makers mark on the scabbard?

    How can I identify mine as being original to the sword or at least made by Reddell is there are no makings?
    You are not a pest, actually I find your enthusiasm quite refreshing. So, yes, Board of Ordnance records do exist but they are not readily accessible to members of the public and in fact offhand I'm not sure where they are - Royal Armouries probably (you could try contacting them if you want). Anyway, even if you could somehow get access, then of course there is no guarantee that you would find anything on Reddell. So, I would be content with an 1808-15 date which of course covers the entire Peninsular War and Waterloo campaign.

    Re Reddell's name being on a scabbard, I'm afraid I don't know to which other post you are referring but I did once own a 1796 LC trooper sword which had 'J H Reddell & Co Birmm' in an oval engraved on the scabbard. However, that does in any way mean that the scabbard of your sword would be similarly marked. Manufacturers sometimes did this, sometimes not. In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, its a safe assumption that your scabbard belongs to the sword.
    Celeriter nil crede

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    Hi Richard,

    Better to have none of the knowledge and all the enthusiasm than the other way around!

    I have actually found a reference on another forum to Reddell and Bate dissolving their partnership in June 1807 although the source of this information is not made clear by the op.

    This supports your estimate of 1808 as a starting point. Of course it could mean it was as early as late 1807 but you have to wonder what the set up was regarding their operation, who retained possessions of stock and equipment and whether Reddell simply started stamping existing stock with his own stamp and whether there was any down time in his production.

    I'm definitely interesting in looking into this further. One means of enquiry is to identify the latest date of swords stamped Reddell and Bate and the earliest days of swords Stamped Jos'h H Reddell (or just Bate although I'm not yet sure of what he used for his sole traders mark).

    If anyone reads this thread in the future and have swords with engraved dates 1807/1808 stamped by the joint company or either maker working as individuals please do let me know. I suppose the key would be to find two swords marked 1807 stamped, one stamped Reddell and Bate and the other with just Reddell. I realise this seems like a minor distinction but therein lies the fun!

    I am also very interested in a comment I've read somewhere (which I thought was attributed to you, but now I can't find) that Reddell was trading as early as 1800 despite some records indicating it was later. Are you able to point me to a source for this? Also do you know how he was marking swords produced between 1800-1803, was it the same makers mark that he reverted to after the 1807 split with Bate I wonder?

    Once again if anyone finds evidence of a dated Reddell blade from those 3 years please let me know.

    It appears the Board of Ordnance records were taken over by the National Archives (www.nationalarchives.gov.uk) but I haven't been able to figure out from their website what info is available.

    Whilst I will look into this further I have now noticed an article written by yourself I believe in which you state production numbers in the thousands for this pattern and that was just for export. I realise that production would have been spread over various makers but it seems less likely that I would be able to identify evidence of perhaps one or two nice neat production batches by Reddell of the 1796p as I had hoped.

    I definitely have more questions to ask the forum members about this sword. More to follow in due course but many thanks for the encouragement.
    Last edited by james.elstob; 04-11-2016 at 12:44 PM.

  10. #10
    James

    Just going back to the example I mentioned earlier that had a scabbard engraved 'J H Reddell & Co'. On checking my records, the sword was actually stamped 'BATE' on the back edge so I imagine it was produced around or shortly after the time that the partnership of Reddell and Bate was dissolved and that Reddell put his name on the scabbard to get at least some publicity.

    Finally, re the idea that Reddell was trading as early as 1800 - it may have been me who said that but I think, as evidenced by the Birmingham trade directories, it was a mistake.

    Richard
    Celeriter nil crede

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    Hi all,

    I have been seeking ways to narrow down a date for my 1796p by looking at what is present in the sword.

    I've neglected to consider what is absent. Can anyone tell me at what point bend and balance marks came into use as these are both absent from my piece.


    Thanks

  12. #12
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    Unbending

    Trying to repair 4/5 bends and a major twist in my poor much abused 1796.

    To say I'm nervous is an understatement!

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    Last edited by james.elstob; 04-17-2016 at 03:55 PM.

  13. #13
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    J H Reddell & Co on a 1796HC sword

    This is my 1796HC troopers sword, made by J H Reddell & Co, with stamp on back of blade and on oval cartouche on the scabbard.

    As a result I did some research on this Birmingham maker, and can add some information:

    Full name Joseph Hadley Reddell

    Born 1775 in Birmingham.

    Operating as Reddell & Bate up to 1807 (partnership dissolved) and J H Reddell & Co 1807 to 1820 (when bankrupt).

    Apparently went into a partnership as a paint manufacturer in East London up until 1837 (when bankrupt again).

    Died 1847 in Greenwich.

    Information gleaned from various searches of old law records and ancestry sites.
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    Hi Jerry,

    I think I must have missed your post somehow until now.

    Thanks for that information, I had been under the impression that his first name was Josiah not Joseph?

    Just out of interest does your 1796hc have any regimental markings on it?

    I guess that the English/Prussian victory at Waterloo did him no favors in the lead up to his 1820 bankruptcy! Wellington's competency must have been terribly inconvenient for cutlers!
    Last edited by james.elstob; 06-05-2016 at 05:34 AM.

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    Name:  Reddell bankrupt 1820 copy.png
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    Hi James

    I have seen a reference to Josiah, but I believe this is an error based on the abbreviation of his name to Jos(h) - h as a superscript. See attached notice of bankruptcy from 1820. This is also confirmed by notices for births marriages and deaths.

    No regimental markings on my HC unfortunately - how nice that would be!

    There were numerous bankruptcies among the sword and gun makers in the years following Waterloo, I guess many were too specialised and slow to adapt. Too much capacity in Birmingham.

    Sorry the image looks tiny - I'll try a repost.

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    Name:  Reddell bankrupt 1820 copy 2.png
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    Trying again

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    Hi Jerry

    The births deaths and marriages records would seem to be more trustworthy than the trade directories so I take it that it is Joseph.

    I notice that in trade directories (of 1818) there is reference to : -

    Reddell, Benjamin, Sword Cutler, Bradford St

    Did you ever come across across Benjamin in your research and is there a connection to JH?

    Did you uncover anything else if interest about his trading. Details of orders etc? Would be interested to hear about it.

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    Born 1775 in Birmingham.

    Clearly had a prestigious business in London making top end swords as well as bulk service swords in Birmingham

    Reddell, Sword Cutler To Their Royal Highnesses The Duke Of Sussex And Cambridge, 138 Jermyn Str.t, London, Circa 1805
    See:
    https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/22991/lot/92/

    Entry in this 1808 Directory:
    http://www.revolutionaryplayers.org....in-birmingham/
    (note reference to Joseph Reddell)

    Bankrupt in 1820

    Bankrupt again in 1837 with partner William Charleton - apparently in the paint business in East London by this time

    1841 census entry in Stepney, London, with wife and 5 children

    Died 1847.

    Benjamin Reddell seems to be mentioned as a Birmingham sword cutler around the same time. Not seen a direct connection but seems likely to be a relative, brother or cousin I guess.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Cottrell View Post
    Born 1775 in Birmingham.

    Clearly had a prestigious business in London making top end swords as well as bulk service swords in Birmingham

    Reddell, Sword Cutler To Their Royal Highnesses The Duke Of Sussex And Cambridge, 138 Jermyn Str.t, London, Circa 1805
    See:
    https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/22991/lot/92/
    Jerry,

    I think the Reddell at 138 Jermyn Street, London is actually George Smith Reddell rather than our JH Reddell. It gives his name at the very bottom on the Bonhams link.

    Im not sure if there is a connection to JH but it seems GS Reddell did have a very different business model to JH's Birmingham operation. A difference of quality versus quantity! Back when I was looking into JH I came across a reference to GS in connection to a very high end sword but now I don't remember any more than that. It could easily have been the same one as in your link above.

  20. #20
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    Oh yes, I hadn't noticed that! More observant than me...

    Seems too much of a coincidence that there are 3 sword cutlers named Reddell around the same time, must be a family connection. Needs a bit more research on the web...

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