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Thread: Let's Discuss Etching

  1. #1
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    Let's Discuss Etching

    Let's Discuss Etching

    While my own familiarity with blade etching goes back to European blades, there must be references to metal etching back to ancient times. In early modern times, it would be looking at hunting swords and smallswords that stand out in mind and quite apparent in the 17th century. Certainly the beautiful b&g paristans of the late 17th century only part of the story and surely not the start of it.

    This is an adjunct to a query Simon posted regarding the formula and process for blue&gilt blades.
    http://www.swordforum.com/forums/sho...-bluing-recipe

    My hope in posting a separate thread is not to overwrite that question but a hope that one, or both, might prompt other collectors and scholars to offer up some timelines, examples and even processes.

    Far predating the 17th century are the blued and gilt armours of the centuries preceding that. Somewhere about is a neat b&g sword presented to the king of England by one of the Swedish kings that is from the late medieval period. All I can say is stay tuned to wherever that was posted up. The gilt and blue on etched armour quite readily seen in museums.

    Finding the start of 18th century broad white relief etching and mixed panels with b&g, all interesting timelines someone may have data on. Please add or contribute to this discussion.

    Cheers

    GC

  2. #2
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    One of several discussions but not of the sword I am looking for
    http://myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=2574

    There are several early examples before the 17th century presented.

    Cheers

    GC

  3. #3
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    Are we somehow trying to re-invent the wheel?

    Examples of etched decoration appear on sword blades as early as the late thirteenth-century, although the technique may in fact be much older.
    http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/dect/hd_dect.htm

  4. #4
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    not what I was looking for

    Here you go, mixed panels on a horse pommel here
    http://antiqueswordforum.com/viewtop...c967b5cf19e639

    Arguably 1820s?
    Last edited by Glen C.; 09-28-2017 at 09:05 AM.

  5. #5
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    Added to my own bookshelf and freely distributed. Some 16th century stuff.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=H4NdAAAAcAAJ

    14th century stuff
    https://books.google.com/books?id=NINdAAAAcAAJ


    The possibilities quite endless, I think.

    VI
    https://books.google.com/books?id=xoJdAAAAcAAJ
    Last edited by Glen C.; 09-28-2017 at 04:03 AM.

  6. #6
    Not to disrupt anything..but were swords ever "browned" ? As in the type of browning used on flintlock firearms ?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Grinly View Post
    Not to disrupt anything..but were swords ever "browned" ? As in the type of browning used on flintlock firearms ?
    I am not aware of browning having been used as a decorative element, but I do believe it was used to darken exposed steel parts to eliminate reflection and glare which could reveal the positions of troops in the field, and to inhibit oxidation. I believe it was so used on the M1906 cavalry saber.

  8. #8
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    Yes, browning and blacking (Japanning and bluing) were both used on US swords and bright steel according to the old Armorer manual. Mostly on the scabbards and other bright-work.
    "You can't please everyone, so you have to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

  9. #9
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    I have an early browned Canadian 1908p cavalry sword marked to RMC. One of the few issued in Canada before WW1. Most 1908's were issued to Canadian troops once in England for training before going across the channel. Unfortunately many browned swords have been stripped of their browning in the likely belief that it was just a rusty patina.

  10. #10
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    I had started this thread because of the often questioned interest in when overall relief type "white" etching came into use on federal period US swords.

    In going through a folder for something else, I came across a file of a Bolton marked blade with obvious Bolton artistry, without any reference to Upson. Bolton is referenced by Old Swords to Bolton being active from 1805 to 1811.







    I had culled those in spring 2012, so more of the sword (seven more images) can be found in my old clipboard of eagle head pommels

    The Bolton/Bates folder here (search there for the beg a-k prefix)
    https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...DA?usp=sharing

    More eagles
    https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...mM?usp=sharing

    While I don't remember where, or if I have a file, I know I have seen a British military sword with white etch listed as late 18th century. I believe one question in another thread was regarding the earliest use of the mixed panels might be and similarly, I seem to recall a fancy yeoman type British sword with mixed panels listed as "early" but again, nothing I recall in my files off the top of my head.

    So, I hope that is a useful addition to the quest for dating. As there is no specific Upson reference we then raise the question whether it was meant to sell before the Upson Brothers association, or during the period referenced in the Mowbray pages with the advent of the upcoming war and the two distancing from each other. Or, simply exported separately of any contracts. We know there were other known retailers but they added their own location and marque.

    Any or all more info on Bolton certainly interesting. As would any more etching info. As to browning, I know I have seen many recipes and references and I could suggest spending some time, as many do, doing some serious searching and research without necessarily using a drive thru fast food approach to finding information.

    Before the advent of the internet, a lot of relevant information was compiled through older methodology but that doesn't mean it is any less useful a process with a incredible additions of access we all now possess.

    I have been approached by several now to manage and edit their own web pages and of course, others mentioning I should be doing articles in working on a book. I still maintain that I would rather not stand on the shoulders of giants by simply compiling and amending their thoughts. Any "new" information, I tend to post to the internet and my thoughts not hard to find.

    I honestly don't mean any of my rambles or remarks to be condescending but I often read that way. More often it is in writing while being as frustrated as any in trying to unravel some of the mysteries we often encounter.

    Most of my revelations are often stumbling upon data when searching something else. It was during a completely different discussion I came across that Bolton sword in my files and something I had saved, partially as relevant to the etching dating but something I had completely shelved for years. So, I hope sharing that is useful and I do hope other readers with more info on etching step forward and share their own thoughts on dating the processes.

    Cheers

    GC

  11. #11
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    While I will have minimal to add to this thread, I am most excited to see it continue. I believe the true key to dating federal swords in the etch, not just in blue verses white but in very minor changes in design and techniques. The pommel differences of Ketland, Bolton, Bates and others while minimal are also distinct. This Bolton truly amazing with the old style tailed eagle. Being a trooper sword man I have neglected these beautiful swords. 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

  12. #12
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    That Bolton is amazing! I've never seen anything quite like it. I guess it sets the start-date for use of white etch on swords for the American market back at least a decade, maybe two, from what is usually thought.

  13. #13
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    Check out the Widmann marked mameluke at Horse Soldier. Not that seeing it puts it that early but obviously a form that has been around for decades, was imported and is etched (presumably in Germany).

    Old Swords doesn't list Bolton&co, so I can't verify any end date of the trade. It may be that with the advent of the impending war and Upson contract that the etch may infer the association without naming names if caught during delivery. Just a wag.

    Cheers

    GC

    Simon showed us a pillow pommel with Bolton&co
    https://www.americanswords.com/circa...ow-pommel.html
    Last edited by Glen C.; 11-14-2017 at 03:58 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Grinly View Post
    Not to disrupt anything..but were swords ever "browned" ? As in the type of browning used on flintlock firearms ?
    I recently sold a British sword that I'm sure was browned.

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