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Thread: Wilkinson Sword Characteristics

  1. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark McMorrow View Post
    Robert,

    Somewhat tangential, but just to give us a monetary frame of reference, what would a Sovereign buy you in Wilkinsons in 1902?
    As promised, I have been through the 1902 catalogue and here is a list of what you could get for a Sovereign or less!
    Attached Files Attached Files

  2. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Wilkinson-Latham View Post
    As promised, I have been through the 1902 catalogue and here is a list of what you could get for a Sovereign or less!
    Fascinating stuff as always, Robert. Out of interest, I note the prices for etching monograms, initials etc - what proportion of the cost of a standard P1897 sword would these add-ons be?

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

  3. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Hart View Post
    Fascinating stuff as always, Robert. Out of interest, I note the prices for etching monograms, initials etc - what proportion of the cost of a standard P1897 sword would these add-ons be?

    John
    John
    regulation Infantry complete in 1902 was £5-5-0.
    With Patent Tang, the cost was £6-10-0
    And there was an extra charge of 10/- for the Northumberland Fusliers sword (to pay for the badge!)
    Rifle Sword was also £5-5-0
    Cameronians and Rifle Brigade were £5-15-0.
    Patent Tang Rifle Brigade and Cameronians £7-0-0.
    Medical staff (Gilt hilt) was £4-4-0,
    RE £5-5-0
    Guard's swords were £7-10-0
    Claymores £7-15-0
    RA was £5-17-6
    and with patent Tang £7-2-6

    So from these prices you can see what the extra etchings added to the cost.
    Robert
    Last edited by Robert Wilkinson-Latham; 03-31-2009 at 04:43 AM.

  4. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Wilkinson-Latham View Post
    John
    regulation Infantry complete in 1902 was £5-5-0.
    With Patent Tang, the cost was £6-10-0
    And there was an extra charge of 10/- for the Northumberland Fusliers sword (to pay for the badge!)
    Rifle Sword was also £5-5-0
    Cameronians and Rifle Brigade were £5-15-0.
    Patent Tang Rifle Brigade and Cameronians £7-0-0.
    Medical staff (Gilt hilt) was £4-4-0,
    RE £5-5-0
    Guard's swords were £7-10-0
    Claymores £7-15-0
    RA was £5-17-6
    and with patent Tang £7-2-6

    So from these prices you can see what the extra etchings added to the cost.
    Robert
    Excellent - thanks, Robert!
    "If I can't be a good example to others, at least let me be a horrible warning".

  5. #80
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    Sword prices

    Just to show how the cost could mount, I attach an invoice from 1908 for a £7-10-0 cavalry sword.
    Captain R Crawshay of the Warwickshire Regt was obviously buying this for his brother who was in the 6th Dragoon Guards. (see delivery address)
    Add Solid Hilt (Patent Tang) £1-5-0
    Add engraving regimental badge on blade £0-10-6
    Add crest, Motto and Initials on reverse £0-8-6
    and soon your £7-10-0 sword becomes £9-14-0 and you haven't even bought a sword knot!
    Robert



    Interesting note hand written on the reverse of this accounts says,
    This sword my Uncle took to France and it never came back
    Anyone found sword number 41750????

  6. #81
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    Robert,

    I didn't know 'housewives' came so cheap! Can you shed some light?

    Rob
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit

  7. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob O'Reilly View Post
    Robert,

    I didn't know 'housewives' came so cheap! Can you shed some light?

    Rob
    Rob
    The 'Housewife' was a Military soldier's repair and sewing kit with cotton, needles, spare buttons, pins etc for running repairs to uniform and kit.
    Robert
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  8. #83
    hi there, i am new to this whole thing and after googling, this seemed to be the best forum out there , so my queries are , i have a wilkinson sword, and have done some research into who it belonged. I have a serial number on the blade which is 14196. Now can i find out somewhere when the sword was presented to him? He was born in 1845 and was a colonel in the Royal Artillery. he comes from a military family so i assume he would have joined the army around 1865, but i dont know when the sword would have been presented.

    The markings show;

    on 1 side , the regiment and his name along with a double triangle at the hilt, and on the other, an order of the thistle ( i think) or garter and at the hilt a henry wilkinson stamp with a fleur dy lys above...

    as i say i am new to all this stuff so please be gentle and i appreciate ay help in tracing the origins of the sword

  9. #84
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    Welcome, David.

    The beauty of Wilkinson swords is that the number can usually be found in the company records (in exchange for a few pounds). See http://www.armsresearch.co.uk/ for info. You'll typically get a date, name, address and a description of the sword (the number you quoted places it in 1866 or so). Well worth the money as it will probably answer most of your questions.

  10. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidShaw View Post
    as i say i am new to all this stuff so please be gentle and i appreciate ay help in tracing the origins of the sword
    Hi David,

    Sounds like you already have some info to go on, so if you let me know the name of the officer concerned I'd be happy to try looking for him in one of the Army Lists I have. There are various online resources available too, including the London Gazette and National Archives collections.

    Cheers,

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

  11. #86
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Cain View Post
    Welcome, David.

    The beauty of Wilkinson swords is that the number can usually be found in the company records (in exchange for a few pounds). See http://www.armsresearch.co.uk/ for info. You'll typically get a date, name, address and a description of the sword (the number you quoted places it in 1866 or so). Well worth the money as it will probably answer most of your questions.


    thanks for that i'll give it a look

    Quote Originally Posted by John Hart View Post
    Hi David,

    Sounds like you already have some info to go on, so if you let me know the name of the officer concerned I'd be happy to try looking for him in one of the Army Lists I have. There are various online resources available too, including the London Gazette and National Archives collections.

    Cheers,

    John
    Hi John,

    Hi name is colonel arthur henry armytage, he was in the royal artillery

    thanks again guys appreciate it

  12. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidShaw View Post
    Hi name is colonel arthur henry armytage, he was in the royal artillery
    Here we go, David - you may already have some of this:

    Arthur Henry Armytage:

    Born 27 August 1845 (possibly at Paddington, London)

    12 January 1866 - Graduated from Royal Military College and gazetted Lieutenant in Royal Artillery
    10 April 1878 - Captain (6th Field Artillery Brigade, Colchester)
    17 August 1884 - Major
    22 September 1886 - retired and on retirement was given rank of honorary Lieutenant-Colonel. Went onto Reserve of Officers.
    22 May 1889 - appointed as Brigade Major to West Yorkshire Volunteer Infantry Brigade

    He married Katharine Harriett, daughter of Ralph Creyke of Rawcliffe and Marton, Yorkshire, at Goole, Humberside, on 24 June 1879. They had several children.

    In 1909 he was living at the White House, Clifton (in the city of York) - in this year he is mentioned in the London Gazette as the executor of Ralph Creyke's Will - his occupation is shown as "retired Colonel of the Royal Artillery".

    In the 1922, 1924 and 1925 Phone Books he is listed at 17 Cambridge Square, W2 (his number was Paddington 4586 but probably no point ringing it now! ).

    That's the lot from me!

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

  13. #88
    wow that was quick thanks John, some of it i knew but not the military side,

    Thanks again this will help enormously ... just filling in the request form for armsresearch so will keep you updated to what prevails

  14. #89
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    Sword types and prices in 1866

    I have some Wilkinson sword types and price details from October 1866 which detail the following prices Wilkinson charged for their various types of swords:

    Best Quality & Finish-Worn by HM Army
    Rifle Pattern sword with crown and Bugle Horn pierced and engraved and steel scabbards - Full emboss & Cypher embosssed on blade - Chased and engraved, steel scabbard with leather lining & German Silver Mouthpiece - £5-2-6

    Infantry Pattern sword with Brass scabbards - Chased and engraved, brass scabbard with leather lining - £5-2-6

    Steel Mounted sword with Light Cavalry Hilts, Full emboss, ornaments and Cypher on blade and Steel Scabbard Chased and engraved,brass scabbard with leather lining & German Silver Mouthpiece - £5-2-6

    Of Plainer quality and finish for Volunteer Regiments
    Rifle Pattern sword with crown and Bugle Horn pierced and engraved and steel scabbards - Cypher embosssed on blade - £3-18-0

    Infantry Pattern sword with Brass scabbards - £3-18-0

    Steel Mounted sword with Light Cavalry Hilts, ornaments and Cypher on blade and Steel Scabbard - £3-18-0

    Trade Quality - Reduction in blade ornamentation and chasing and piercing on hilt
    Rifle Pattern sword with crown and Bugle Horn pierced and engraved and steel scabbards - Cypher embosssed on blade - £3-6-0
    Infantry Pattern sword with Brass scabbards - £3-6-0
    Steel Mounted sword with Light Cavalry Hilts, ornaments and Cypher on blade and Steel Scabbard - £3-6-0

    Belts
    Patent leather sling sword belt with snake fronts and electroplated furniture - £1-5-0
    Cross belts and black cartouche boxes with device of Bugle, Crown and Wreath - £1-12-0

    Here is an illustration from Wilkinsons of the Infantry sword, belt and knots from 1872. the caption reads:
    The sketch...shows the Arms and Accoutrements necessary for a Sub-Lieutenant of Infantry of the Line as per GENERAL ORDER No 20, 1st March 1872.....On the opposite side of the blade to that shown, it is customary in some regiments to put also the regimental number and device.
    Last edited by Robert Wilkinson-Latham; 04-28-2009 at 03:07 AM.

  15. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Wilkinson-Latham View Post
    Wilkinson blade types which I have found in the Proof Books are:
    “Regulation blade” – self explanatory
    “Percy Pattern” which was biconvex-double edged
    “Solid blade” which which was single edged no fullers
    “Lozenge” section double edge
    "Claymore"-There was a vogue for these to be used on RN swords and also Chinese Maritime Customs swords.
    "Triangular'- Self explanatory
    "Paget" - Very curved large blade similar to 1796 Light Cavalry, Mountain Artillery and Indian Trooper's blades)pre their version of 1908)
    "Keyhole, Quill or Pipe" - Piped backed blade (pre 1846 but occasionally encountered later)

    Hope that helps identification of blade types.
    Robert
    An additional Blade style I forgot to add!!
    "Toledo". Blade with double edge for about 12 - 16 inches at the point and 'dumbbell style with fullers at the hilt end. Similar in style to the Colichemarde blades found on Small swords.
    Last edited by Robert Wilkinson-Latham; 06-22-2009 at 01:08 AM.

  16. #91
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    Government Sword Specifications

    Here is a list of Government sword Specifications that I have that were issued to Mole and Wilkinson with tenders/orders for swords. The variations are amazing!!!
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Robert Wilkinson-Latham; 08-04-2009 at 01:23 PM.

  17. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Wilkinson-Latham View Post
    Here is a list of Government sword Specifications issued to Mole and Wilkinson with tenders/orders for swords. The variations are amazing!!!
    Great stuff, Robert - It reminds me of the trouble they had standardising NATO small arms to cover the needs of various member countries - plus ça change , eh?

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

  18. #93
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    1885 Cavalary sword - manufacture

    For those interested (like I am!!!) here are the various operations that had to be gone through to make an 1885 cavalry sword and Scabbard for which the Government paid under £1-2-0!!!!!

    May 1886.
    Blade: 32 Operations
    Scabbard : 30 Operations
    Mouthpiece with Sputcheon: 32 Operations
    Linings for Scabbard: 11 Operations
    handstop: 16 Operations
    Riveting: 7 Operations
    Scales: 4 Operations
    Drag for scabbard: 6 Operations
    Loops: (Scabbard rings 4 Operations
    Guard:5 Operations
    Leather grips: 7 Operations
    Mounting the Complete sword: 10 Operations
    Leather Buff: 2 Operations

    Making a total of 156 Operations!

    Not out of the woods yet, there was then the testing and Inspection

    Blades (after Grinding): Weighed - If lighter than minimum allowed in the Specification - Rejected. if over, send back to the grinders.
    Blades: Strike test
    Bend test (Wilkinsons Eprouvette had not yet been introduced)
    Gauging: All parts of the blade and tang
    Hilts: weighed and gauged
    Hilts fitted to blade and assembly weighed. Over, returned for extra word. Under -Rejected.
    Sword Complete: tested and gauged for balance
    Scabbard: tested for weight, gauged and also for interchangeability.

    For the money, it was no wonder at this time there was only Mole prepared to do it!!!
    Last edited by Robert Wilkinson-Latham; 08-10-2009 at 04:04 AM.

  19. #94
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    Great stuff, Robert! I'm assuming that 100% inspection was the order of the day (which is to say that each and every sword was fully inspected and gauged)?

    Mark ~
    mark@swordforum.com

    ~ Hostem Hastarum Cuspidibus Salutemus ~

    "Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who don't."
    Benjamin Franklin

  20. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark McMorrow View Post
    Great stuff, Robert! I'm assuming that 100% inspection was the order of the day (which is to say that each and every sword was fully inspected and gauged)?

    Mark ~
    That's it and the days (pre Crimea) of 'palm greasing' the Inspector were long gone!

  21. #96
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    Thanks! By the way... any clue what the gauging tolerances were?
    mark@swordforum.com

    ~ Hostem Hastarum Cuspidibus Salutemus ~

    "Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who don't."
    Benjamin Franklin

  22. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark McMorrow View Post
    Thanks! By the way... any clue what the gauging tolerances were?
    here we go Mark

    Length of point to shoulder: 34 1/2ins
    Shoulder to end of tang: 5 3/8ins
    Weight of Polished Blade: 1lb 6 1/2 oz to 1lb 71/2oz
    Weight of polished hilt: 8 oz to 9 oz
    Sword Complete: 2lb 5 oz to 2lb 7 oz
    Balance: 5 ins to 5 5/8 ins from hilt.

    Scabbard - Metal thickness; .04ins or No 19 BWG
    Weight of wood lining not to exceed 4 oz
    Scabbard complete 1 lb 13 1/2oz to 1lb 15 1/2 oz
    (Later reduced to 1lb7 1/2 oz to 1lb 9 1/2 oz)

    It must have been a maddening for Mole to make this sword because the Chief Inspector of Small Arms, Enfield kept changing the specifications and inspection. In my files I have the following specs for the 1885 and all differ.
    3/12/1888
    7/3/1889
    27/4/1889
    9/11/1889
    14/11/1889
    20/11/1889
    4/1/1890

    The following were the Gauges and other equipment for manufacture and Inspection that were provided by Enfield or Mole himself:




    Now we know what the letter B on the back, I presume, of the blade means!
    Last edited by Robert Wilkinson-Latham; 08-10-2009 at 08:09 AM.

  23. #98
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    Wilkinson "Patent" Hilt/Tang

    A patent lasts 20 years from the date of filing of the patent application, subject to the payment of renewal fees.

    So Reeves 1853 Patent was open to all after 1873. After Reeves went bankrupt in 1869, Wilkinsons appear to have taken 'an interest' in the revived Reeves company

    By 1884 Wilkinsons had purchased a large percentage of Reeves and with it the defunct Patent Hilt/Tang Patent,

    However, Wilkinsons use of the Reeves Patent prior to 1869 and up to 1884 one assumes was by paying a fee but there is no mention of Royalties (except for Gun Patent Royalties to C Harvey for his Breach Loading System used on Wilkinson Shotguns - Pat No 1793 of 1866 from 1866 to 1878) and so possible the Patent Hilt use was done in friendly co-operation.

    However, I have found a reference that Wilkinsons did register the design (Registered Design) of the Patent hilt in February 1884 when they bought the large interest in Reeves although the legend 'Registered Design, or a design Number and mark did not appear, to my knowledge in the blade etching design.
    Last edited by Robert Wilkinson-Latham; 11-14-2009 at 01:23 AM.

  24. #99

    1831 Pattern British General Officers sword history.

    Hello all,
    I'm new here and could do with some help from you experts.
    I reside in South Africa and have puchased an 1831 pattern British G.O. sword that was alleged to have belonged to Major-General Sir William Penn Symons who was killed at the battle of Talana in October 1899 during this opening battle of the Anglo-Boer War. The Brits left Dundee in a great hurry and left most of their kit and all of the wounded and dead including Sir William. The sword was apparently found years later, in the Dundee region being used by a Zulu in his hut as a fire-stoker! However, I have liaised with the Penn Symons family in Cornwall and they have a sword, like mine together with the Major-Generals' medals and other accoutrements so the romantic story seems to have been shot down in flames.

    Now, my quandry is that the serial number is not visible on the spine (if it ever existed) so I can't request the history AND it has a logo on the right side blade as per the attched photo. It shows a hand grasping a fish with the motto “Sancta Clavis Coeli Fides”. This apparently is the Sankey family emblem on the Irish side which seems to confirm that it is not the Penn Symons item. Beneath the emblem are the letters RICY or RLCY.
    The sword is very tatty and has obviously been out in the open a great deal and the halyard hole and parts of the ivory grips have been broken off. Its use as a Zulu hammer seems apparent! There is no scabbard. To add to the quandry, only 3 Generals died in action during the Boer War and none during the Zulu wars.
    My questions then are:
    1) Is the serial number stamped on or etched onto the spine in this model? It is a Wilkinson sword model having the Star of David emblem and "Proved" button near the tang. Perhaps it is a pre-serial number model?
    2) Can anybody shed any light on the Sankey emblem and letters?

    I would be most appreciative of any assistance. I can post more photos if necessary.
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  25. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Gardiner View Post
    My questions then are:
    1) Is the serial number stamped on or etched onto the spine in this model? It is a Wilkinson sword model having the Star of David emblem and "Proved" button near the tang. Perhaps it is a pre-serial number model?
    2) Can anybody shed any light on the Sankey emblem and letters?
    Hi Keith,

    As far as I know, Wilkinsons didn't use the word "Proved" on their proof disks - it was usually a version of "HW" in a flowing script (see www.oldswords.com for examples). Does the sword actually say Wilkinsons on it (it would be on the opposite side of the blade to the proof disk)?

    If it isn't a Wilkinson then the serial number, even if present, would be of no help in tracing the owner, as only the Wilkinson purchase records survive.

    However, Fairbairn's Crests confirms the identification of the crest (armoured hand holding aloft a fish) as that of Sankey of Coolmore, County Tipperary. The initials look like "RICS" or "RJCS" to me, so the surname could well be Sankey, but I can't find any matching officers in the 1840, 1860, 1878, 1889 or 1897 Army Lists.

    Sorry nothing more positive, but good luck with the research anyway!

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

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