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Thread: Wilkinson Sword Characteristics

  1. #251
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    Maybe Gordon has more details now, but I originally located the sword and the dealer did not know who had purchased it - the ledger simply reads 'returned to stock' as noted above. Having such a big meaty cutting blade went quite against the fashion of the time - I can only see such a blade being of interest to an officer headed for India at that late date. What did Wilkinson do with un-sold/un-collected swords at that time?

  2. #252
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    Matt wrote:-
    Maybe Gordon has more details now, but I originally located the sword and the dealer did not know who had purchased it - the ledger simply reads 'returned to stock' as noted above. Having such a big meaty cutting blade went quite against the fashion of the time - I can only see such a blade being of interest to an officer headed for India at that late date. What did Wilkinson do with un-sold/un-collected swords at that time?


    There were very very few 'non collect' and if so, they were 99.9% of regulation pattern and would be sold to another officer who wanted that pattern. In all my years looking at the proof Registers, I have only come across a handful where one name has been crossed out and another substituted and even fewer with the 'Return to Stock' inscription.
    Last edited by Robert Wilkinson-Latham; 07-30-2012 at 11:20 AM.

  3. #253
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    Very interesting. It seemed particularly odd to me, considering that this gentleman had a fairly long career. Presumably he carried a standard 1897 pattern instead.

  4. #254
    Quote Originally Posted by J.G. Hopkins View Post
    Yes, they are rare given the ERVIII cypher and are desirable to collectors. Please do not use them for sabrage.
    Even in this condition with most of the plating gone etc?

  5. #255
    Yes. Why not use a replica sword or at least something a bit more common like a P1897 with GRV cypher (preferably not a Wilkinson or one with provenance).

  6. #256
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    Oh Yes!

  7. #257
    My sword interest grew out of re-enactment (I used to be responsible for sword safety and training in the Sealed Knot) so I have a reasonable number of replicas dotted around but I'm also used, I suppose, to thinking of swords as things to be used rather than collected. None of the field-safe replicas are any use for sabrage as they have rounded edges and my sharps are largely too thin / flexible / flamboyant to work either.

    I'm really unclear whether, in their current state, these swords are 'collectable' at all. I suspect that they both need to be completely replated and the etching is pretty bad on them both. They've clearly had little, if any, care in the past; they don't even have scabbards.

    BUT, I also would hate to further damage them (although I've never seen a blade marked by sabrage) or fail to allow someone the opportunity to have something genuinely important to them. I suspect that they may not be that rare as some people probably 'upgraded' to the current sovereign quickly and the army was being expanded at that time as well. although I stand to be corrected on this.

  8. #258
    Hi Robert,

    Owing to the rarity of 'return to stock' notations, is it possible the entry was crossed out in error; as once done in ink, it could not be erased. Also a possibility that the sword still went to another officer of the 5th Punjab Infantry, as I have seen this particular configuration noted somewhere else as a pattern made for 5th Punjab Inf.

  9. #259
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    Quote Originally Posted by gordon byrne View Post
    Hi Robert,

    Owing to the rarity of 'return to stock' notations, is it possible the entry was crossed out in error; as once done in ink, it could not be erased. Also a possibility that the sword still went to another officer of the 5th Punjab Infantry, as I have seen this particular configuration noted somewhere else as a pattern made for 5th Punjab Inf.
    Hi Gordon
    The 5th Punjab Cavalry seemed to be great sword innovators and not much bothered with regulation. Here is a Patent Tang Infantry sword, the blade (36 ins x 1 1/4) described as "..quill edge Cavalry pattern"
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  10. #260
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    Great find, Robert!
    I find the mention of 'quill edge cavalry pattern' very interesting - presumably this means the old pipe-backed 1821 blade? Inexplicably, the front cover of Burton's 'new' sword exercise features two old pattern pipe-backed 1821's crossed (the book was published in 1876, long after that blade went out of official use).

    What is "imitation donkey skin"?

  11. #261
    Re-plating or refurbishing the sword will diminish its value for collectors. Conservation is best:

    http://www.swordforum.com/forums/con...d-July-18-2001

    You could always re-sell them and use the proceeds to buy a sword more suited to sabrage.

  12. #262
    Hi Robert,

    Yes, I agree! Interesting to note the near identical sword specification to proof No. 36182 which certainly suggests that officers of the 5th Punjab infantry required (or liked) a more substantial sword for their purpose.

  13. #263
    Hi Robert,

    Yes, I agree! It is interesting to note the almost indentical sword detail to 36182; certainly seems that officers of the 5th Punjab Infantry required (or liked) or more substantial sword for their purpose.

  14. #264
    Quote Originally Posted by J.G. Hopkins View Post
    Re-plating or refurbishing the sword will diminish its value for collectors. Conservation is best:

    http://www.swordforum.com/forums/con...d-July-18-2001

    You could always re-sell them and use the proceeds to buy a sword more suited to sabrage.
    I'd be happy to sell them and get something more suitable, although they actually feel 'right' for the job even though I haven't tried them yet. I'd like two similar swords, so that I can keep one in Italy and one in the UK that feel the same. I suppose my question is what do I get and where do I sell these (and how much for) / buy the others (and how much for)?

  15. #265
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Easton View Post
    Great find, Robert!
    I find the mention of 'quill edge cavalry pattern' very interesting - presumably this means the old pipe-backed 1821 blade? Inexplicably, the front cover of Burton's 'new' sword exercise features two old pattern pipe-backed 1821's crossed (the book was published in 1876, long after that blade went out of official use).

    What is "imitation donkey skin"?
    Imitation Donkey Skin is what was also called 'American Cloth" which was also used for the cheaper sword bags.(Non leather) It was a a glazed or waterproofed cotton cloth, black in colour.

  16. #266
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    Here is a sword to look out for.
    Mamaluke for Governor General's Agent for India (seems everyone had a sword at this time!!!)
    Note NO Rosettes to the grip but rounded studs. VR in the cartouche of the cross guard.

    Dates about 1874 from the placement in the Blade Rub Sketch Books.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Robert Wilkinson-Latham; 09-26-2012 at 08:49 AM.

  17. #267
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Whitmore View Post
    Hello, I am trying to properly identify a family owned sword well over 100 yrs old. It looks for all the world like an english Wilkinson sword of around late 1890's - almost identical in design to those illustrated in this forum. Along with all the superb etching and where the retailers name is also etched is where the mystery to me begins. The retailers name is Beales & Co. of Sydney Street, Cambridge (U.K.) of whom I can find no trace. The brass plug has raised PROVED lettering only within the Star of David etching. Above Beales & Co is clearly stamped WK&C with the kings head and knight mark - so Weyersberg, Kirchbaum of Solingen? The scabard is leather with a plated hilt and tip pieces, but otherwise the same type as has been illustrated on this forum. This sword is at least 112 years old with provenence. Can anyone help with the anomolies of the retailer and the genuine WK&C stamp on what otherwise looks like a Wilkinson sword. Total length of the sword is 38.5 inches, the grip within the basket is 5 inches. The maximum width descending of blade at hilt is 1 inch. My thanks to anyone who has ideas as to the origin of this sword. Tony
    here is your man. He was Mayor of Cambridge as well as being a
    Lt. Col. Barnet W. Beales

    Born in Cambridge and educated at the Perse School. Tailor and robe maker in Sidney Street. Became a councillor for Market Ward in 1903 and an Alderman in 1918. Chairman of Fire Brigade Committee, Governor of the Perse School and of the Hobson Workhouse Charity.

  18. #268

    "Initials" on George V Artillery Officer's Sword

    ...I noticed two tiny marks on this sword - on the other side of the number. They look quite like initials - would they have been put on at Wilkinson's or by the owner?

    I am waiting to find if there is an entry in the ledger for the sword but would be grateful if someone could give me a rough idea of when it was made.

    Many thanks.
    Attached Images Attached Images      
    Last edited by stephen wood; 10-02-2012 at 09:21 AM.

  19. #269
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    Quote Originally Posted by stephen wood View Post
    I noticed two tiny marks on this sword - on the other side of the number. They look quite like initials - would they have been put on at Wilkinson's or by the owner?

    I am waiting to find if there is an entry in the ledger for the sword but would be grateful if someone could give me a rough idea of when it was made.
    It dates to around 1916, but you're unlikely to get an owner from the proof book as there's a big gap covering most of the WW1 period. Not sure what those little marks are - they're quite hard to make out!

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

  20. #270
    ...thanks John, I think they might be EB or ER.

    I have just found out that it was completed on 14th April 1915 for 2nd Lieutenant J B Carson MC, West Riding Battery, RHA. The battery spent 1916-1918 in the Middle East - where cavalry and horse artillery were yet playing an important role. Perhaps this would account for the service sharpening...
    Last edited by stephen wood; 10-03-2012 at 09:10 AM.

  21. #271
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    Quote Originally Posted by stephen wood View Post
    ...I noticed two tiny marks on this sword - on the other side of the number. They look quite like initials - would they have been put on at Wilkinson's or by the owner?
    Perhaps(Big Perhaps ??????????) they are the initials of the Fitter who put the sword together?????? I say this because most if not all WW1 production of Government Contracts (Bayonets, swords etc) and Private swords was paid for by Wilkinsons under the piecework system. I have some Piecework cards from WW1 but these are easy to operate as they are for 1908 sword parts being finished, polished, etc, 1907 bayonet parts and the foreman would count up the numbers in the tray at the end of the shift and sign the card off. For swords, I think this piecework system also operated and perhaps(?????????) the blade was marked when assembled with the hilt. Having said that, I would have expected over the years to see lots more swords from 1914-1918 with this type of marking BUT HAVE NOT!!!!
    So perhaps this was marked by an outworker?
    Or the forged only blade was bought in from the Birmingham Trade where it had been marked for payment and also identification in case of problems with the blade. (The forging plant at Wilkinsons was very busy with 1907 bayonets and 1908 Troopers swords - They only had two blade rolling machines!)

    Having said all the above, THE IS NO evidence but just supposition.

    As of today, all one can say with certainty is "Don't Know!"

  22. #272
    ...thank you very much Robert - I forgot to mention that it also has LONDON MADE and C>>------->P (centre of percussion?) etched on the spine...
    Last edited by stephen wood; 10-05-2012 at 01:26 PM.

  23. #273
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    I was looking at the Wilkinson blade numbers and noticed that from 1855 until the 1870's there are about 500-700 numbers per year. Has anybody mapped the number of numbers used each year and was there an increase or decrease generally? I was surprised that in the years I calculated there was a more or less even distribution across the years.
    Many second question is, where all these numbers used for actual swords? 600 swords a year seems a very high number to me. Surely there can not have been that many British officers buying Wilkinson swords each year?
    Regards,
    Matt

  24. #274
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    Matt
    these were all BLADE numbers, not especially SWORD numbers.
    They included sword, feat of arms swords, Hunting Swords, Presentation Swords, and even some swords that came in for repair and were reproved,some bayonet blades, hunting knives, etc.
    Remember that an officer could bring his sword (purchased elsewhere) and have the blade tested and 'proved' by Wilkinsons . How many of these there were after the 1850's is anyone's idea.
    Last edited by Robert Wilkinson-Latham; 11-09-2012 at 05:45 AM.

  25. #275
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    Thanks Robert. I’m very surprised that this accounts for 700 numbers per year though (assuming I’m counting correctly).

    Even if we assume that only half of those numbers were officer’s swords, I would be surprised if 350 officers were buying Wilkinson swords each year (where there even enough officers in HM armed forces to sustain that?). Most officers seem to have bought swords from outfitters or other cheaper makers, so I can’t see how we arrive at a sales figure of hundreds of swords being sold each year.

    And where are the hundreds of numbered Wilkinson items that are not officer’s swords? Numbered Wilkinson lead cutters, handkerchief cutters and other items seem relatively rare to me. Rarer than officer’s swords at least.

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