Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Assistance Request - 1854 Pattern Sword?

  1. #1

    Assistance Request - 1854 Pattern Sword?

    Hi all,

    I am new to this forum and new to sword collecting, despite having an interest for some time particularly in a number of historical items. I recently came across what I believe is an 1854 British Infantry Pattern sword in an antique shop near to me, and I am considering making my first purchase! It does look in relatively good condition (for my limited knowledge) but has not been cleaned in some time. It appears to have lost its scabbard but I can deal with this as I would like it for research and display. I have carried out a fair bit of research online in the last few days but I would really just be interested in some comments on here from those more knowledgable than I around this piece. If I do decide to purchase it (which I likely will) I would be fascinated to carry out a little more research on it and maybe try to clean it up a little.

    From someone very new to this I would appreciate any insight you might be able to offer so thank you in advance!

    Name:  IMG_5527.JPG
Views: 140
Size:  88.7 KB
    Name:  IMG_5526.JPG
Views: 134
Size:  53.5 KB
    Name:  IMG_5552.JPG
Views: 138
Size:  43.6 KB
    Name:  IMG_5553.JPG
Views: 137
Size:  39.5 KB
    Name:  IMG_5551.JPG
Views: 139
Size:  85.3 KB

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Sidmouth, in the South-West of the UK
    Posts
    2,290
    Hi Jamie,

    A good, honest example of what I too would call an 1854 Pattern Infantry Officer's sword (as it has the non-folding inner guard which was an improvement on the earlier post-1845 variant of the original 1822 Infantry sword!!!).

    Key items of interest would be the maker name (on the off-chance that it's a Wilkinson, which might enable you to trace the original owner), and any personal or regimental etching on the blade apart from the expected Queen Victoria (VR) cypher. Cleaning or not is up to you, but personally I have no problem with a gentle polish of the guard (nothing aggressive in case any gilt remains), and likewise for the blade. Also, if you do buy it, I wouldn't rest the fishskin grip on the exposed thread of a wood-screw as the seller seems to have in your pics - it's just asking for abrasion every time the sword is lifted off!

    Let us know how you get on, and welcome to SFI!

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    272
    Jamie,
    It looks like it has a small crack in one of the inner bars. Other than that and the fact it's lacking a scabbard it looks like a decent project sword. I agree with John - a gentle cleaning would be appropriate. If you decide to hang the sword with screws, put some rubber tubing over them to avoid scratching.
    Cheers,
    Mike

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Kingston area, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    3,032
    Jamie this is an average example of an 1854p infantry sword. Without a scabbard it loses a fair bit of value and makes it a hard sell if you ever decide to part with it.
    Of course it all depends on price and what you are looking for, if just one wall hanger then it fits the bill, if you want provenance and history attached to the sword then this is not your sword. Myself I prefer swords with provenance, gives you a good chance at researching the original owner and historical events he was in. The sword then requires etched initials on the blade, regimental devices etched, as in a Wilkinson a serial number on the blade spine. Any one or more of these three markings helps to research a sword.
    For a common sword such as the 1854p, it being without scabbard should make it an inexpensive proposition and because the sword has been without scabbard for a long time the etching has been polished off mostly and blade darkened. Be sure the blade has no grinding marks on it or loss at the tip.
    If you do purchase it do keep the leather washer that is on the blade against the guard, most swords have theirs missing.

  5. #5
    John, Mike, Will, thank you for taking the time to reply!

    I am pleased to update that I did purchase this sword today! I have given it a light clean which has made the etching much more visible. It has a slightly loose wire on the grip but nothing too serious. There also doesn't appear to be any other names or regimental etchings, so tracking the history of this blade will likely be impossible.

    Have tried to upload some photos but they are slightly too large unfortunately. I don't believe it has a serial number which is a shame, but I have managed to uncover on the reverse of the 'proved' mark some etching, 'J Stone, Queen Street, Portsea'. So potentially a naval owner? Google turned up the following link - http://historyinportsmouth.co.uk/people/swordsmiths.htm. But nothing further, so I would expect that this was the retailer and the maker remains unknown to me.

    I did want to ask what may be the best cleaning materials to use to remove some of the blackened tarnish and get this cleaned a little. Would something like Brasso be too abrasive? There is barely any rust which is good, it is mainly the darkening and in places greening of the hilt that would be nice to brighten up.

    Appreciate your responses - they were very useful and I'm excited to get my first sword!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Posts
    119
    Hi Jamie,

    Congratulations on your great sword! I cleaned a sabre brass hilt recently after doing some research into the subject. I swabbed the brass with white spirit on cotton buds and using wooden tooth picks to clean nooks and crannies. Then I used superfine 0000 steel wool to remove oxidation and tarnish which was very effective. Then I cleaned with white spirit again, followed with a cloth damp with water. Finally I used a Goddard silver polishing cloth which just provides a shine. I'm sure other Forum members are more knowlegeable than me in this matter but it worked for me.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    ENGLAND
    Posts
    255
    Hi Jamie,

    I use brass wool and a little oil. You can order it online easily enough. The brass is softer than the steel so will take off any surface rust and dirt without damaging the blade's surface.

    This won't take off the tarnish but then if your looking to do that your essentially taking off a layer of the metal until your reach a fresh layer.

    One thing to consider is that if you do remove the tarnish you remove some evidence of the sword's age and history. The tarnished and aged look is my personal preference.

    Give it some consideration before doing something which can't be undone. Not without another 150 years of patients anyway!

    Regarding the manufacturer of the actual blade, the proof slug will sometimes help identify this. I found Old Swords website to be an invaluable resource since I started collecting and they have a whole section on identified proof slugs.

    The naval pattern sword differs from the army with the most notable difference being that they are solid brass between the fretwork/bars of the hilt.

    Regards

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Kingston area, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    3,032
    To remove tarnish on brass from the stubborn black to anything less I use a mixture of muratic acid and water. For your purpose 3/4 water and 1/4 acid.
    Use a cloth soaked in this to wipe it down. The longer you do this the more tarnish is removed. This has no abrasives so you are not adding millions of tiny scratches which is later hard to remove.
    Wear the right kind rubber gloves for this acid and have good ventilation. A stronger mixture removes stubborn black spots.
    I suggest this on gilt sword hilts because any remaining gilt is easily removed by mechanical cleaning means.
    Works great on artillery casings in which case 0000 steel wool quickens the job.

    Using the same mixture on the blade removes the dark staining and you can use 0000 steel wool as it will not scratch the blade. The acid mixture does eat away at the steel wool if not thoroughly rinsed after.

    The acid is not pleasant stuff to use but is effective without scratching (and inexpensive). Also saves a lot of time compared to other methods though it's not for everyone.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Posts
    119
    Quote Originally Posted by james.elstob View Post
    Hi Jamie,

    I use brass wool and a little oil. You can order it online easily enough. The brass is softer than the steel so will take off any surface rust and dirt without damaging the blade's surface.

    This won't take off the tarnish but then if your looking to do that your essentially taking off a layer of the metal until your reach a fresh layer.

    One thing to consider is that if you do remove the tarnish you remove some evidence of the sword's age and history. The tarnished and aged look is my personal preference.

    Give it some consideration before doing something which can't be undone. Not without another 150 years of patients anyway!

    Regarding the manufacturer of the actual blade, the proof slug will sometimes help identify this. I found Old Swords website to be an invaluable resource since I started collecting and they have a whole section on identified proof slugs.

    The naval pattern sword differs from the army with the most notable difference being that they are solid brass between the fretwork/bars of the hilt.

    Regards
    Hi James,

    On the whole I agree with you with regards to leaving tarnish on antique objects untreated where this is part of a "patina." The exceptions would be when the tarnish is the result of years of accumulated dirt/grime, when it can be considered a sign of neglect, and oxidation which can have irreversible damaging effects on the object if left untreated. I took the decision to do something about my sabre hilt as it looked quite filthy and showed green oxidation which I understand can damage the metal. I did quite a lot of reading to try minimize any damage in the process. The result may not be to everyone's taste but I'm very happy with it. I feel it restored dignity and pride to the object (not to say beauty) which now looks closer to when it was in use by real people a long time ago. I also like to display it so it can be seen and admired by people (including myself every time I walk past) as much as possible. But this may be my personal view.
    Attached Images Attached Images     
    Last edited by Magnus K; 04-16-2017 at 05:25 AM.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •