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Thread: Wilkinson ledger confusion

  1. #26
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    Out of interest, what did Richard think the wording was? He usually supplies a "translation" with the ledger copy.

    John
    "If I can't be a good example to others, at least let me be a horrible warning".

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Hart View Post
    Out of interest, what did Richard think the wording was? He usually supplies a "translation" with the ledger copy.

    John
    Hi John, thanks for pointing that out. I went back to the original email and found a letter attachment which I had overlooked when downloading from my phone.

    Richard has indeed provided his opinion on the wording as: -

    36 in(ches) fr(om) rivet to shoe.

    So the wording seems confirmed however this could not have been correct for a 31 inch blade plus 6 inch handle.

    I had assumed there was a loss of tip from the blade as it's only 29 3/4" but perhaps it was always this length. Although the scabbard and sword total 37" now, there is an excess at the bottom of the scabbard of around 1".

    Perhaps this is actually a larger than original replacement scabbard with the smaller original plus sword amounting to only 36".

    However that fails to take into account shrinkage of the leather washer and some loss from the tip from sharpening which would probably mean the current scabbard was perfect for the sword at new.

    How much room is there usually left at the bottom of the scabbard?
    Last edited by james.elstob; 09-12-2016 at 05:05 AM.

  3. #28
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    The blade would be 31" as stated in the proof page. I have found scabbards fit within 1/4" or less of the blade length. Sometimes the loss of the leather washer has the tip of the blade bottoming out.
    Measure the hilt again i think you'll find it to be closer to 5 1/2".

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Mathieson View Post
    The blade would be 31" as stated in the proof page. I have found scabbards fit within 1/4" or less of the blade length. Sometimes the loss of the leather washer has the tip of the blade bottoming out.
    Measure the hilt again i think you'll find it to be closer to 5 1/2".
    Hmm, yes it's 5 6/8".

    The sword and scabbard still measure 37" rivet to shoe with a compressed washer. Looks like he got an unwanted extra inch and a bit total length.

    Also there is only 30 5/8" of room in the scabbard. Even with a washer 3/8 of an inch thick the scabbard is at absolutely capacity for a 31 inch blade. So either the blade was a little shorter to start off with or this is a replacement scabbard.

    My gut feeling is that it's the former. The blade need only be say 3/8 shorter with a thick washer and that would have given enough clearance on the scabbard.

    A reminder that ultimately Victorian era sword manufacturing doesn't fit with modern standardised manufacturing expectations that measurements will be dead on.

  5. #30
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    Blade would not be shorter than recorded when made. What is the scabbard measurement from the mouth to the end not including the drag? A 3/8 washer is far too thick, at maximum the sword would have an 1/8" or less thick washer.

  6. #31
    Back to the ID! Like so many other officers' swords without custom engraving, etc., my assumption is (as James suggested) that it was intended as a combat and/or practice weapon rather than a dress sword. Why pay extra for a fancy sword only to have it break or be otherwise damaged in practice or combat? So, unless the owner wanted it only for practice, is it likely that militia officers like John Cook and Wm Surtees Cook would have wanted such a sword, considering that their units were not involved in combat? It seems more likely that it was intended for combat, which narrows the ID down to the ensigns listed above. But logic or common/practical sense may not apply in this case as in others!

    P.S. Since the sword may have been used only for practice, I doubt that we'll ever be able to make a positive ID of the owner.
    Last edited by L. Braden; 09-12-2016 at 01:00 PM. Reason: P.S.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Mathieson View Post
    Blade would not be shorter than recorded when made. What is the scabbard measurement from the mouth to the end not including the drag? A 3/8 washer is far too thick, at maximum the sword would have an 1/8" or less thick washer.
    Measurement of mouth to end of scabbard (not including drag) is 30 5/8.

    One of the measurements on the proof docket must be incorrect. Either it was shorter than a 31" blade or rivet to shoe was greater than 36".

    Would the docket be made out at point of order then the sword is put together.? If so, amongst the pile of regulation infantry blades wouldn't there be a tolerance in length. Do you know what the outliers to this might be be ?

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by L. Braden View Post
    Back to the ID! Like so many other officers' swords without custom engraving, etc., my assumption is (as James suggested) that it was intended as a combat and/or practice weapon rather than a dress sword. Why pay extra for a fancy sword only to have it break or be otherwise damaged in practice or combat? So, unless the owner wanted it only for practice, is it likely that a militia officer like Wm Surtees Cook would have wanted such a sword, considering that militia units were rarely if ever involved in warfare combat? It seems more likely that it was intended for combat, which narrows the ID down to the ensigns listed above. But logic or common/practical sense may not apply in this case as in others!
    Seems like sound logic to my 21st century layman's brain.

    Just to play devils advocate though, when your a victorian toff, playing at soldiers around the local County perhaps you want to look like the 'real deal'!

  9. #34

  10. #35
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    The drag on the scabbard does not appear to be a Wilkinson, the profile being different. I have an 1855 Wilkinson guards sword and infantry swords and the drags are a different profile than yours.
    It is not uncommon for dealers to shove a sword in any scabbard that accepts them. Can you post photos of the whole scabbard and its mouth? Looks to have French flavour to it and meant for a more curved blade?.

  11. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by L. Braden View Post
    Back to the ID! Like so many other officers' swords without custom engraving, etc., my assumption is (as James suggested) that it was intended as a combat and/or practice weapon rather than a dress sword. Why pay extra for a fancy sword only to have it break or be otherwise damaged in practice or combat? So, unless the owner wanted it only for practice, is it likely that militia officers like John Cook and Wm Surtees Cook would have wanted such a sword, considering that their units were not involved in combat? It seems more likely that it was intended for combat, which narrows the ID down to the ensigns listed above. But logic or common/practical sense may not apply in this case as in others!

    P.S. Since the sword may have been used only for practice, I doubt that we'll ever be able to make a positive ID of the owner.
    Revised post.

  12. #37
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  13. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by james.elstob View Post
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    In my opinion this scabbard is not original to the sword, nor of British manufacture and not at all akin with scabbards generally sold by Wilkinson with Infantry pattern swords.

  14. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by L. Braden View Post
    Not on the subject of the sword, but certainly the name, I have the proof information on a Wilkinson Cavalry pattern sword No. 9943 which was made for "Mr Cook" and completed on 5th December 1859; despite all efforts on my part, as yet I've not been able to indentify a Mr. Cook who might have bought a cavalry sword.

    I seems that just because we have a name, it is not always the case that history will reveal exactly who the person was?

  15. #40
    Edwin Adolphus Cook, Major (12 Dec. 54) 11th Hussars, and subsequently Lieutenant & Captain, West Kent Yeomanry Cavalry. "Mr" may either be an abbreviation of "Major" or of "Mister", referring to his Yeomanry rank as Lieutenant. Can't find any other Cook in the cavalry in that time period. Hope this helps!

  16. #41
    Moreover, re James's sword! Unless Wilkinson had a rule that the name on the ledger had to be that of the person for whom it was intended (meaning the owner thereof), we don't even know if a Cook was the owner of the sword. It could very well have been ordered by a Cook for someone with a different surname, either as a gift or for some other reason. (You frequently read in letters from officers serving in war who need a new sword, "Send me a Wilkinson's," or words to that effect.) Time to end this exercise in futility!

  17. #42
    P.S., Gordon: Cook was made captain in the WKYC on 1 Oct. 61. Can readily find no record of when he entered the unit.
    Best Regards!

  18. #43
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    I think we are all agreed then. Too many Cooks spoil the broth.

    Thank you, I'm here all week!

  19. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by L. Braden View Post
    P.S., Gordon: Cook was made captain in the WKYC on 1 Oct. 61. Can readily find no record of when he entered the unit.
    Best Regards!
    Eureka! Cook was appointed Lieutenant in the WKYC on 22 Jan. 58.

  20. #45
    Or, on second thought, "Mr Cook" may have been one of the Major's two sons or some other relative with that surname who ordered the sword as a gift or whatever.

    Nope - too early for either of C's sons. He married in '67. Either C. himself or a relative.
    Last edited by L. Braden; 09-12-2016 at 05:58 PM.

  21. #46
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    Chipping in late again, but Wilkinsons often used just the surname when recording sales to retailers or outfitters. And in that vein, OldSwords has a T.W. Cook of Clifford St, London (only a 5-minute walk from the Wilkinson premises in Pall Mall): "Known to have been supplied some swords from Wilkinsons. Listed as a trade customer in Wilkinsons records. Probably an outfitter." Perhaps this is more likely?

    John
    PS: I agree the scabbard looks wrong for a Wilkinson - the suspension rings are quite thin and the opening in the throat seems to be for more of a wedge-shaped blade.
    "If I can't be a good example to others, at least let me be a horrible warning".

  22. #47
    I think you've nailed it, John, for both swords. Thanks indeed! An outfitter never occurred to me, but should have!

  23. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by John Hart View Post
    Chipping in late again, but Wilkinsons often used just the surname when recording sales to retailers or outfitters. And in that vein, OldSwords has a T.W. Cook of Clifford St, London (only a 5-minute walk from the Wilkinson premises in Pall Mall): "Known to have been supplied some swords from Wilkinsons. Listed as a trade customer in Wilkinsons records. Probably an outfitter." Perhaps this is more likely?

    John
    PS: I agree the scabbard looks wrong for a Wilkinson - the suspension rings are quite thin and the opening in the throat seems to be for more of a wedge-shaped blade.
    Hi John,

    Outfitter is quite possible, but as far as my situation is concerned, the fact that he was referred to as Mr, gave the impression he may have been a civilian (not discounting the fact that the outfitter was likely a civilian also).

    PS. Re the scabbard, there is only one ring on the scabbard, which is more a characteristic of scabbards from somewhere over the other side of the channel.

  24. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by L. Braden View Post
    Eureka! Cook was appointed Lieutenant in the WKYC on 22 Jan. 58.
    Thanks very much for the input on Mr Cook; a possibility but one can't discount the fact that it also could have been the outfitter??

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by gordon byrne View Post
    Hi John,

    Outfitter is quite possible, but as far as my situation is concerned, the fact that he was referred to as Mr, gave the impression he may have been a civilian (not discounting the fact that the outfitter was likely a civilian also).
    Hi Gordon,

    I think it was James who referred to him as Mr Cook - the proof book copy just says "Cook".

    And my mistake on the scabbard - what I took for a lower ring is just a shadow in one of the photographs! Yes, single scabbard rings are a non-British indicator for sure.

    John
    Last edited by John Hart; 09-14-2016 at 05:02 AM.
    "If I can't be a good example to others, at least let me be a horrible warning".

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