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Thread: 18th Century Western Sword Admiration Society

  1. #1

    18th Century Western Sword Admiration Society

    Greetings, I would like to start a thread for swords from the 18th Century. There are so many types: Smallswords, cuttoes, broadswords, hangars, sabres, spadroons etc, etc. I love them all and would love to see more. I love the multiplicity that 18th century industry provides coupled with the elegance and cold deadliness of the 17th century. Also the 18th century is the last flourishing of that most cherished symbol/ideal:The civilian sword and its usage! Not to mention the plethora of military weapons both enlisted and officer. Anyway I hope this will excite interest. By the way, if anyone squeezed in late 17th century (1680-1699) transition swords I wouldnt bark about it. I sort of have them grouped together in my mind. Here are some pics to start off with. This is a favorite sword of mine (that I dont own alas) It is a loophilted sword with steel furniture. Its sort of like a spadroon but it has a double bladed rapier-style blade on it that I really like alot. The Funiture is steel and I like the faceted pommel. Also the green grip with the copper ribbon is quite becoming. Allthough this is clearly a no-nonsense weapon. Enjoy!!
    I hope that this thread can be a companion to "The cult of the smallsword" which I also enjoy.

    Morgan
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    Last edited by morgan butler; 12-10-2008 at 10:24 AM.

  2. #2
    Morgan,
    That is a nice sword. I'll bite...

    My collection has taken a Victorian turn in the past year, but for the majority of my life as a collector was devoted to 18th and early 19th century swords. One of my favorites from that era of collecting is a mid-18th century English hanger. It has an antler grip and a brass pommel, guard and shell with few traces of black paint. No maker marks.

    Grip: 3.5", Hilt (w/o shell): 5.0", Hilt (w/shell): 6.75", Blade: 27.75", Overall: 32.75", Weight: 1 lb. 4 oz.




  3. #3
    Do you think it is a military sword or a converted hunting sidearm?

  4. #4
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    I"ve had a few 18th century swords over the years. They are enjoyable to collect but, unfortunately, not that easy to find. I guess small swords and hangers are the most prevalent.

    The variety is astounding. With regulations calling only for a hilt that matches the metal of the buttons on a uniform, you do see quite a variety. From baskethilts, to spadroons to short sabres with all types of hilts. It really is an interesting hodge podge.

    My favorite of that era is the baskethilted cavalry broadsword.

    Andre
    Last edited by A.Ducote; 12-10-2008 at 12:24 PM.
    Andre F. Ducote
    Mississippi

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by morgan butler View Post
    Do you think it is a military sword or a converted hunting sidearm?
    I think it is a military sword that was influenced by civilian style (or influenced by what was available and cheap enough for the colonel of the regiment). The shell guard was a common-enough style for military swords of this period, and the blade is much longer and more curved than I would expect to see on a hunting sword.

  6. #6
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    Jonathan, I will disagree on the provenance. To me it looks like the hilt is in the French military style, ca.1730-1750.
    I will add a photo of a hanger with a very similar hilt later. I can definitely identify it as French. Refer to Neumann, he has one in his book as well.

  7. #7
    "The variety is astounding. With regulations calling only for a hilt that matches the metal of the buttons on a uniform, you do see quite a variety. My favorite is the baskethilted cavalry broadsword."
    -A. Ducote


    I find a good amount of German Horseman Military broadswords/Sabres on Ebay. I never get them because they all have rightsided thumbrings and I'm left handed. Its just a peev of mine.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Dmitry Z~G View Post
    I will add a photo of a hanger with a very similar hilt later. I can definitely identify it as French.
    Oh god, please no!

    I bought it as English (10 years ago) and did not question it. I am looking forward to your pic. I think.
    Last edited by J.G. Hopkins; 12-10-2008 at 12:04 PM.

  9. #9
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    Here is a dandy.
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    Andre F. Ducote
    Mississippi

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by morgan butler View Post
    "The variety is astounding. With regulations calling only for a hilt that matches the metal of the buttons on a uniform, you do see quite a variety. My favorite is the baskethilted cavalry broadsword."
    -A. Ducote


    I find a good amount of German Horseman Military broadswords/Sabres on Ebay. I never get them because they all have rightsided thumbrings and I'm left handed. Its just a peev of mine.
    I'm unaware of any sword made expressly for the left handed. Of course, I'm sure that they exist. I've just never seen one.

    The baskethilts have that lovely oval cut out in the basket. There are all sorts of possible explanations for the oval. My favorite is that it is so that the horseman may check the reins with his sword hand.
    Andre F. Ducote
    Mississippi

  11. #11
    Mr Ducote,

    That is a lovely slot-hilt, do you have any pics of the whole sword? I think I have seen it before.
    Here is a lovely English Horsesword with a solid basket. (Again, not mine)

    Truly the 18th century is the height of western swordcraft where beauty,function ( civilian and military) are at a peak.
    Alas, my 18th century collection is just beginning. I hope I can add to it. Its mostly spadroons and one smallsword. I just missed getting a 1780 British Cav officers sword with leather scabbard.. Oh well.
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  12. #12
    Here's my vote, known well to all here...(exhales)


    [And no one tell me it dates from 1802! ]
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  13. #13
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    The Higgins Museum down the road from me has a "Bring It To The Museum" day. I keep meaning to take advantage and did this past weekend. I met with the curator Jeffrey Forgeng
    officially for the first time. We had stumbled into each other a few times prior to that over the years.

    Of what I brought in, I thought might be more interesting but I had also brought in the sabre Dominic had sent to me last spring. Some of the traits seemed quite late for the 18th century but Dominic's original thoughts may be very close to the mark. Possibly Scandanavian of build, this one was a lot of fun for Jeffry. I have not heard back from him since but did take some pictures. I'm going to keep my membership going, the library in there is quite fantastic.

    Anyway, here we go. A hussar hilted sabre from the middle of the century (possibly a bit later)

    Cheers

    Hotspur; there are several spadroons I could pull from some listings that belong on my wall
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    Last edited by Glen C.; 12-10-2008 at 01:44 PM.

  14. #14
    I like this one quite a bit as well...

    The 1788 design aside, I would be interested to know its actual date of manufacture, usage, provenance, etc., but I guess that has to remain part of the mystery.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by morgan butler View Post
    Mr Ducote,

    That is a lovely slot-hilt, do you have any pics of the whole sword? I think I have seen it before.
    Here is a lovely English Horsesword with a solid basket. (Again, not mine)

    Truly the 18th century is the height of western swordcraft where beauty,function ( civilian and military) are at a peak.
    Alas, my 18th century collection is just beginning. I hope I can add to it. Its mostly spadroons and one smallsword. I just missed getting a 1780 British Cav officers sword with leather scabbard.. Oh well.

    Why yes, here is a full length picture. It was in my collection.

    I'm not sure if everyone would agree that the 18th century marks the hight of function in western sword development. It is interesting that officer's swords of the century are either so flimsy with little to no hand protection as to be worthless in the field or they are very stoubt, well crafted fighting tools. I think that much can be said about the sword based upon the time frame that it was made. My hypothesis is that times of conflict resulted in more field worthy edged weapons.

    I got out of 18th century collecting a while back. The prices got to be so astronomical that I just couldn't afford to stay in the "arms race." At one time, I had two cavalry baskethilts, a triangular hilt cavalry sword, a dragoon sword, a dragoon officer's sword, two hangers and three short sabres. I enjoyed them very much. Of all, I wish I still had the cavalry baskethilts.
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    Andre F. Ducote
    Mississippi

  16. #16
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    Here is another one. This one had the original leather scabbard and red wool guard insert.

    Note -- this is not my picture.
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    Andre F. Ducote
    Mississippi

  17. #17
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    The 18th century has always interested me. From the rules of society, to the fashion of the day. Especially the military of the century. I got to one point where I wanted to display an original sword with the appropriate uniform. Well, complete, original British 18th century uniforms are not that easy to locate. If I could find one, I imagine that the price would be a bit high. Therefore, I went ahead and purchased an authentic made reproduction British officer's uniform, circa 1776, to the 29th Regt of Foot.

    I diplayed the bone hilted short sword with this uniform for a while in my office until I decided it probably was not a good idea. I didn't know if insurance would cover the loss.

    Anyway, here is the uniform. It fits and I wear it on Halloween. The coat is very heavy and uncomfortable. I couldn't imagine anyone carrying on a sword fight in the coat. The arm movement is very restricted. The wig -- not depicted -- is quite uncomfortable as well.

    Before anyone tells me that there is no lace on it -- I know. Officers of the 29th Foot did not have lace on their uniforms.
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    Andre F. Ducote
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  18. #18
    I got out of 18th century collecting a while back. The prices got to be so astronomical that I just couldn't afford to stay in the "arms race." -A. Ducote

    I'm noticing that they are beginning to be a "bit" more reasonable, but just a "bit" That slot hilt is very nice indeed. Let me know if you ever want to get "completely" out of the 18th century market, (wink)

    Here are some pics of the 1780 Cavalry officers word I almost aquired.
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    Last edited by morgan butler; 12-10-2008 at 03:23 PM.

  19. #19
    I'm not sure if everyone would agree that the 18th century marks the hight of function in western sword development. It is interesting that officer's swords of the century are either so flimsy with little to no hand protection as to be worthless in the field or they are very stoubt, well crafted fighting tools. I think that much can be said about the sword based upon the time frame that it was made. My hypothesis is that times of conflict resulted in more field worthy edged weapons. - A. Ducote

    I do see your point. Officers who were behind the lines often had military themed smallswords for the most part, and I have always surmised that the Spadroon was really just a stouter type of smallsword so that officers and gentleman could employ fencing technique against heavier weapons in the field.
    As someone brought up earlier, there is no comparison to a 15th cen. longsword, but of course there was very little armoured combat in the 18th cen. Still, there is something about these weapons, perhaps they are a bridge between pre industrial and post industrial. A period where the sword was still an important part of daily life for civilians as a sidearm that make them fascinating.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by A.Ducote View Post
    Here is another one. This one had the original leather scabbard and red wool guard insert.

    Note -- this is not my picture.
    You were crazy to sell that one, Andre!

  21. #21
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    Jonathan, as promised, here are the photos of the French ca.1730-1750 infantry hanger from my collection. Note the general appearance and composition of the hilt, and compare it to yours. Also note the "Property of le Roi" stamp on the blade. The blade on yours is different, obviously, but nevertheless, this is is something to take notice.



    Last edited by Dmitry Z~G; 12-10-2008 at 05:53 PM.

  22. #22
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    18th c English Military Backsword

    Royal Armouries ix 313 Mazansky IVBC3 English brass baskethilt 1725-1750


    Last edited by Thom R.; 12-10-2008 at 09:56 PM.

  23. #23
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    another favorite of mine -this time a civilian sword

    hunting hanger with ebony and silver. deeply hollowground 22 inch long straight blade. appears to have original scabbard. hallmarks indicate London early 18th c. quillions look bent but they are not - they were cast that way originally




  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thom R. View Post
    Royal Armouries ix 313 Mazansky IVBC3 English brass baskethilt 1725-1750



    oh oh i got one of them !
    “Do you know what astonished me most in the world? The inability of force to create anything. In the long run, the sword is always beaten by the spirit.” Napoleon Bonaparte

  25. #25
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    A rather scrumptious English Dragoons? sword

    just came home with it

    “Do you know what astonished me most in the world? The inability of force to create anything. In the long run, the sword is always beaten by the spirit.” Napoleon Bonaparte

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