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Thread: Wilkinson Swords Sold To Named Retailer/Outfitters

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    Wilkinson Swords Sold To Named Retailer/Outfitters

    This thread is for the purpose of discussing matters germane to outfitter/retailer Wilkinson swords.
    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

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    The Basics!

    Wilkinsons DID supply completed swords to outfitters, tailors etc etc but NEVER sword parts such as blades. Replacement scabbard obviously YES but no components. Change over hilts YES but not separate Hilts.
    It was basically a complete sword or nothing.

    The Proof marks used by Wilkinson were:
    BEST PROVED @ £3-15-0 (HW in slug)
    PROVED - OUTFITTER'S QUALITY @ £2-2-0
    The OUTFITTERS QUALITY which were used for colonial contract swords as well as Outfitters who wouldn't pay the BEST PROOF price used a variety of slugs including
    PROVED over a Crown -
    PROVED over a Fleur de Lys
    PROVED T

    The Crown, Fleurs de Lys and T were in common use, the earliest being the Fleur de Lys (circa 1860's) followed by the Crown (circa 1880's) and the T (which stood for Tested rather than proved) in the 1870 period.

    In Observations on Swords from the 1870’s Wilkinson warned about other copying his proof marks. They also wanted to differentiate between their BEST PROOF and the others blades and came up with these designs. Immediately the other makers started using them, so Wilkinsons thought up another etc but by the early 20th century Wilkinsons just etched a fancy W in the double triangle on OUTFITTERS QUALITY sword so saving the cost of milling the hole for the proof slug.
    Here are two lists of retailers supplied, one from an Index page and the other from the etching plates.

    The Name of the retailer would usually be on one side and Wilkinson Sword logo on the other and Wilkinson Number on the back of the blade for BEST PROOF swords which also had the HW proof slug.

    For OUTFITTERS swords, the name of the retailer would appear with Wilkinson Logo, maybe a sword number on the back of the blade (Sometimes this may be the retailers order number as one finds with Hawkes swords etc) and one of the ordinary pattern proof slugs, depending on the date of the sword (see above) or after about 1910, just a W etched within the double triangle.

    NOTE- This list is NOT exhaustive and there are others NOW-listed below in Word document. The names range in date from the 1870's onward and I apologise for any repetition with these two lists below
    Robert



    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Robert Wilkinson-Latham; 03-14-2008 at 12:36 PM.

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    Here are some more details.
    These are drawings from Locket/Top Mount/Scabbard shields. I found a small number of these some years ago, blackened with dirt and age. They are brass stampings and would be either gilt. nickel or polished and lacquered brass.

    There may well be others, differing designs etc with other names and addrsses of Wilkinson approved retailers. Just because the scabbard has one of these lockets, it is not complete proof that the sword is a Wilkinson as I think that the retailers themselves may well have supplied these 'shields' to the manufacturers as the designs are different and the thickness and quality of brass varies as well as the quality of the stamping too.

    They were not photographable so my wife did these pen and ink drawings of them which are shown here. they are faithful to the originals.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Robert Wilkinson-Latham; 09-28-2008 at 03:02 AM.

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    Wilkinson Blade Etchers

    list of Wilkinson Etchers:Information wrong - new research on Wilkinson Etchers-see NEW POST
    Last edited by Robert Wilkinson-Latham; 10-05-2011 at 09:53 AM. Reason: DELETED AS NEW RESEARCH FIUND _ SEE NEW POST

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    Hi Robert,

    So then only one or two etchers was employed at any given time?
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark McMorrow View Post
    Hi Robert,

    So then only one or two etchers was employed at any given time?
    Yes, from the information on staff, photos and names on the proof stubs it appears that only two full time etchers were employed.But I am sure that when needed others helped out but they would have been doing work such as pulling the transfers from the plates,and perhaps, if they were skilled, laying down the transfers on the blades.

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    A sword order Wilkinsons disn't get! 1854

    I came across this correspondence about a sword order which itself is interesting but even more so shows that not just tailors and outfitters ordered swords possibly with their name on!

    John Latham (Great Great Grandfather) received this letter on 23rd February 1854


    The 'Memo' referred to specified 6 Infantry style swords.
    The reverse of the letter had the note that the swords were for Corrie & Co (Corrie were situated at 24 Mincing Lane, London and described in an Insurance document from the Sun Fire Office as 'merchants')
    The writer of the letter was a J Harman, obviously a friend of John Latham (Who was only called jack by his friends) by the tone of the letter.


    John Latham replied the same day with a quotation and the following day 24th February 1854 received the following





    So we find that Johnson & Simpson of 10 Little Britain London got the order. They were described as Gold and Silver Lacemen, Accoutrement Makers and Sword Cutlers so who supplied them with the swords (which they didn't make themselves) is a guess. Probably from Solingen and available in a few days as the latter stated,in the Trade.

    Another interesting thing was that the writer, 'Jud' Harman at 29 Mincing Lane worked for Czarnik & Co who were Sugar Brokers (Theye were located at No 29 at this period)- In Fact Mincing Lane was the centre of the Sugar and Allied Trades!
    Not a ground breaking discovery but fun! Enjoy with a cup of coffee and sugar!
    Robert

  8. #8
    Robert,

    I have another head etcher name for you. Not sure when he took over the etching shop but Ray Humphries was head etcher until the factory closed in 2005 and he'd been there for over 20 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Wilkinson-Latham View Post
    Here is a list of Wilkinson Etchers:
    The dates overlap because there were usually two who worked together, the younger becoming Head Etcher when the older man retired or died.
    Henshaw 1844-1864
    Howall (joined Henshaw in1854)
    Appleby 1866-1884
    Rowe 1871-1910
    Argyll 1885-1945
    J Riley 1910-1930
    C Web 1938-1969
    Adamovitch 1961-1986
    Ray Humphries 1986-2005(New addition see post below)

    There may be others who worked for shorter period under the Head Etcher of the time who's name may appear on the Proof stubs,
    Last edited by Robert Wilkinson-Latham; 01-13-2010 at 12:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by R. Lowe View Post
    Robert,

    I have another head etcher name for you. Not sure when he took over the etching shop but Ray Humphries was head etcher until the factory closed in 2005 and he'd been there for over 20 years.
    Many thanks! How could I have forgotten Ray!!!!
    he will be added

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    here are some more RETAILERS taken from the Master Etching Plates:- (Apologies if some are duplicates!

    Outfitters, Tailors etc appearing on Wilkinson Etching Plates.

    A Jacobs, Civil & Military Tailors, Plein St, Cape Town
    Alkit, Cambridge Circus, London WC
    Army & Navy Stores, 105 Victoria St, London SW
    Ascher, bedford St, Strand
    Ashoo Tosh, Davis & Co, Calcutta
    Austin Reed, 103-113 Regebt Street
    Barton & Sons & C0 Bangalore
    Belwarp Ltd, Bradford, England
    Bloomenstock & Co, Bombay
    Broock & Sons, 57 George St, Edinburgh
    C.C. Whitelock, Leeds
    Conway Williams, 27 Princes St, London
    E.T. Manning & Co, 124 New Bond St. W
    F.T. James, King St, St James's. London
    H.J. Scott & Sons, Beccles
    Harper & Co, Rosemary St, Belfast
    Henry Starck, 31 Drummond Cres. London NW
    Hill bros, 30 Bond Street
    Holt & Co, Sackville St, London SW!
    Humphrey & Cook, 3 Haymarket, SW1
    Humphrey & Cross, Haymarket SW
    J Cracknell, Outfitter, Portsea
    J Daniels & Co, 62 Pall Mall
    J Moss (Cambridge Circus) Charing Cross Road EC2
    J. Platt & Co, St martins Lane, London
    James Beddol, Pembroke
    John Hutton & Sons, Newscastle on Tyne
    K Mamood Shan's Outfitters, Ludhiana (Punjab)
    Larcan & Veystry, Outfitters, Portsmouth
    Malcolm Kearton, 29 Fenchurch St, London
    Martin & Co, Culcutta & delhi
    Max Luckerby & Co, 574 5th Avenue, new York
    Messrs Thomas & Coles, 124 The Parade, lemington
    Miller & Sons, Royal Albert Dock, London
    P Orr & Sons, madras and Rangoon
    Phelps & Co, Calcutta
    Pipe McGill, Bedford Street, Strand WC2
    R Groves, 55 Wellington St, Woolwich
    R&S Garrard, haymarlet, London W.1
    R.G. James & Co, 15 Queen Street, Portsmout
    Rankin & Dobbie PTy, Melbourne
    Richard & Co, 26 King St, St James's. London
    Robinson & Steel, Dublin
    Rodgers & Co new Burlington Street
    S Keenan, Fort St. Ayr
    Samuel Gardener, 1 Clifford Street, Savile Row. London
    Samuel Lee & Co, Capetown
    Sanderson Bros and Newbolt, Sheffield
    Shelly Brooks Ltd, Artillery Place, Woolwich
    Stonwasser & Winter, 39 Conduit St, SW
    Stutz, Binnie & Graccs, Clifford Street, London
    T Birkley & C0, London St, EC
    T.W. Castle, 27 Savile Row, London W
    Taylor & Co, Army & Navy Outfitters, Portsmouth
    The Aldeshot Stores, Aldeshot
    The N.O.O.S - Goldman's Branches at All Naval Ports
    Trayler & Co, High Street, Porstmouth
    Uniform Clothing Co Ltd, 10 Clerkenwell Green, London EC
    Walter Locke & Co, Calcutta
    Walton & Co, The Hard, Portsmouth
    Watson & Co, Army Contractors, Port Elizabeth
    Watson &Co, 50 Strad St, Calcutta
    West & Son, Dublin
    WH Gore, 40 Panton Street,Haymarket
    Wilkinson & C0, St James's St. Souithsea
    Wiseman, Sackville St, Picadilly, W
    Woodhouse, Portsmouth

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    fabulous core data, Robert! Thank you! Is there any way to pin down aprox dates from the MEPs?
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark McMorrow View Post
    fabulous core data, Robert! Thank you! Is there any way to pin down aprox dates from the MEPs?
    I would think somewhere between 1890 and 1940 I am afraid,

    However, the hay day of the retailer's etch was probably, by the common style used, mostly from about early 1900's to perhaps 1939.

  13. #13
    Did Wilkinson supply Flight Military Tailors, Winchester or Flight's, London Camberley and Aldershot?
    Last edited by stephen wood; 07-13-2011 at 05:14 PM.

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    Stephen
    Wilkinson supplied all branches. They had one etch for the London, Camberly, Aldershot swords and one for the 'head office' Winchester swords.

    Here are the etches from the Master Etching plates.

    The Winchester etches are on plates circa 1890's but this cannot be taken as Gospel as the etchers often used up space on existing plates. The London Camberly and Aldershot etch is later, reflecting Flight becoming a Limited Company (Flights, Ltd) in 1920

    Flights, Ltd 1920 - 1950
    4 New Burlington St , London
    Flights Ltd - 1920
    90 High St, Winchester

    Hope that helps
    Robert
    Attached Images Attached Images     
    Last edited by Robert Wilkinson-Latham; 07-14-2011 at 01:58 AM.

  15. #15
    Thank you Robert,

    here are some pictures: an early example in quite good condition with splendid etching. Is this a picquet sword? I find the basket very slightly smaller than usual, or perhaps a characteristic of earlier examples?

    I wonder if the basket was plated?
    Attached Images Attached Images      
    Last edited by stephen wood; 07-14-2011 at 04:09 PM.

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    As for the size of the hilt, one must remember that there was some latitude here. Dress Regulations 1900 states: '....Length of the grip must be from 5 to 5 3/4 inches, variation being allowed to suit the size of hand."

    The guard would then of course have to be slightly smaller fot the 5 inch grip than it would for the 5 3/4 inch grip.

    In the late Victorian Wilkinson catalogue, the Infantry sword was priced at £5-5-0 and Nickel Plating for the hilt and dress scabbard was EXTRA at £1-2-6. The 1906/7 catalogue still specifies the nickel plating as an extra at 15/- and the Post WW1 catalogue of 1922 does not list this 'extra' but includes NP in the overall price.
    I think that nickel plating became the norm at the beginning of WW1.

    By the marks on the hilt in your photo, the basket looks as if it was plated but being Victorian, I would say the owner requested the plating as an extra.

    As for blade size, the list of blade Pattern Moulds gives:

    Infantry Parade 3/4"
    No 1 Infantry
    New Pattern Infantry Parade - smaller than No 1.
    No 2 Infantry
    New pattern Officers and Staff Sergeant.

    Unfortunately no measurements except for the Infantry Parade.
    The same with the list of Blade Gauges for these swords which included a No 3 for Infantry.
    except for one for the Infantry sword give 1.068 ins as the width of the blade at the shoulder.
    Hope this helps
    Robert
    Last edited by Robert Wilkinson-Latham; 07-15-2011 at 12:39 AM.

  17. #17
    Thank you Robert,

    I had wondered if it might be a picquet weight sword, being so light, but there again it has a proof slug (crown over proved) and is not that much smaller.

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    Crown over Proved was one of the Proof slugs that Wilkinsons used for Trade swords.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Robert Wilkinson-Latham; 07-15-2011 at 01:39 AM.

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    LIST FROM NEW RESEARCH OF WILKINSON SWORD BLADE ETCHERS:-

    The earliest Proof slip with a printed notification of "embossed"ie etched is 5541 date
    2/11/54.*

    The names that dominate from then are*
    Howell,* (corrected 21/1/12)
    Pearsall,*
    Randall,*
    Friskney,
    Appleby,*
    W.F. & Co.,*
    R. & Co.(Reeves & Co.?)*
    Pike*

    but unfortunately many are just initials.

    Henshaw (1844-1854 -he died in that year)is not mentioned as pre Numbered Proof dockets.


    The earliest mention of**Rowe is 2 June 1855 for blade 6583.

    Rowe is recorded etching *blade 6262 but this was embossed at the
    later date of 30 April 1859, it was proved on 10 April 1855.

    Rowe appears only occasionally in the 1850's *so he might be an apprentice.*(Just a guess)he appears on 8678 (1857), 9478 (1858), 9931(1859)
    11038 (1860), - Also in 1860 (11039),*3281 (1864) is Rowe,*112611 (1865) is Rowe. 18058 (1871) is Rowe. After 1873 Rowe seems to have the stage ti himself although with blank dockets is is difficult to say for sure if freelance etchers were bought in. *We do know that Argll joined in 1885.

    Peardsall still etching as well as Randall (11095 -1861)

    13432 0f 1864 is Kerkhoff(?),*

    13935 (1865) is Appleby as is 24444 (1866) and 14966 (1867) as well as 17292(1871) as is 19031 (1873)

    Rowe spent 42 years with Wilkinson so retiring in the late 1890's (?)

    Argyll 1885-1945
    J Riley 1910-1930
    C Web 1938-1969
    Adamovitch 1961-1983
    Ray Humphries to 2005.

    Here is a view from Rowe's etching table at 27 Pall Mall dated 1870 drawn on an olf 'Embossing Sli' from the Proof Book
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Robert Wilkinson-Latham; 01-21-2012 at 02:22 AM. Reason: Correction to Names

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    Here is a list from the 1882 GPO London Directory showing the names of sword makers and sword cutlers.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    here are two more from 1893 and 1902 - Note the adition of German makers and or agents!
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  22. #22
    Robert,

    Re the noted etcher name Whawell, I have looked this name on dockets a number of times and just wonder if the actual name could be Whavell?, or possibly Howell? very difficult to read.

    Gordon

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    Gordon
    It is Howell, apologies but the writing is often very hard to read.
    I have edited the above post

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    Came across a letter (In the Wilkinson (John Francis W L) Copy Letter Book dated February 1896 in reply to a letter (I think) from a journalist.

    ...nearly 90% of Volunteer Officer's swords are German or are German blades....These swords give a far bigger profit to the Outfitter or Dealer who supplies them......Many of these blades have our style of Proof Mark and yet they have not undergone the strict testing we confer on our blades or any testing whatsoever. Other English sword makers also test their blades severely..

  25. #25
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    I have just unearthed a list of the sword makers at Wilkinson from 1884.
    Here they are but I am sure there are more:-

    Bill Bonner - Head Bladesmith
    Tom Beasley Bladesmith

    Mr Appleyard - Grinding Mill Foreman

    Walter Johnson - Head Fitter
    George Johnson - Fitter
    Ernie Johnson - Fitter
    Herbert MacNab-Fiter

    The Jonsons, father, uncle and son came from Reeves

    William Morton Pattern Maker

    and of course the etchers
    W Rowe
    Campbell Argyll

    The in house Government Inspector was a Mr Woodley (His stamp was W49) - He was a Wilkinson employee but registered as a Government Inspector.

    Management was:-
    John Francis Wilkinson Latham
    Henry Wilkinson Latham
    assisted by:-
    John Tolhurst Musgrave
    Thomas Henry Randolph (described as clerk to the Engineer who was Henry Wilkinson Latham)
    Last edited by Robert Wilkinson-Latham; 02-01-2012 at 02:05 AM.

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