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Thread: 1827 RN patent solid hilt

  1. #1
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    1827 RN patent solid hilt

    Hi all,

    Here is the first of two tangfastic (you're welcome) additions to my collection.

    An 1827 RN Solid patent hilt officers sword with a 30 Inch Toledo blade.

    I bought this for the patent solid hilt rather than an interest in the pattern and I find myself suddenly on a rather steep learning curve about 1827's. I hope the experts will jump in and correct me where I go wrong.

    Retailed by Matthew & Co of Queen Street, Portsea. Matthew & Sons are found at Queen Street 1881 until 1886 then in 1887 became Matthew & Co at 1 Wickham St, Portsea (Old swords) so it seems this blade may fall around the time of the change of name/address.

    It has the guard under the lion's chain (not in its gob) Which I understand is a general indicator for later swords from around 1890s.

    It has the stud on the scabbards throat lozenge; introduced 1880?

    The tang is peened rather than having a pommel nut although I suspect this is because of the solid tang construction rather than a dating indicator.

    I understand that Wilkinson supplied blades to Matthew & Co but there is no makers name on the blade so it can't be a Wilkinson.

    The proof slug is Proved over a dot which is associated with Pillin and also the checkered thumb plate is also found on many Pillin associated swords... but by 1881 Pillin were absorbed by a Wilkinson. (old swords)

    So if this is a Pillin and made for Matthews and Co in 1886/87 who were making their blades?

    Any other observation about this piece very welcome!

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    Last edited by james.elstob; 08-30-2018 at 05:07 PM. Reason: Said it was a Reeves by mistake

  2. #2
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    James this is the first Toledo bladed naval sword I've seen, very nice! The patent hilt just adds to its rarity.

  3. #3
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    I think it is my joint favourite sword to handle (Evii 1821/96 cav being the other).

    Probably because of the shorter length it is balanced like a dream.

    The blade has an almost mirror finish on it. Very pleasing.

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    The missing hinged section being the big fly in the ointment. I'm hoping to find a suitable doner 1827 to scavenge a replacement from. I have an idea that a musical instrument repairer may be able to help with the repair.
    Last edited by james.elstob; 11-30-2019 at 07:51 AM.

  4. #4
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    Those last photos do show an excellent blade. I agree it would be worthwhile repairing the folding guard.

  5. #5
    Great find James, very jealous.

    The dating indicators for the 1827 pattern tend to be fairly soft, but good collective evidence here.

    One more for you - there was a short-lived fashion c.1880ish for double-fullered ‘claymore’ style blades on the RN swords (not an approved pattern, but clearly fairly common given the number knocking around today). I’m not sure of the cause of the fashion, and would love to know if anyone here has an insight. Influenced by the Army, perhaps in a contemporary conflict?...

    Your sword seems to fit this trend, albeit with yet a further demonstration of individuality, again suggesting an 1880s date.

  6. #6
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    My Wilkinsons Coldstream Guard 1854p sword dating to 1855 has the same Toledo blade and this was most likely due to the Crimean War where Russian overcoats were difficult to penetrate with the standard pattern infantry blade. The stiff Toledo blade would be a better choice though some used the edge to cut through rather than penetrate with the point.
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    Last edited by Will Mathieson; 12-08-2019 at 07:44 PM.

  7. #7
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    That's just superb. (And yours, Will!)

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    Hi Alexander, it world be interesting to get more stats on the trends of Toledo blades. A trawl of swordforum threads shows this has been discussed before, a very interesting topic.

    Will, is that your guards sword with the angled hilt you've discussed before, did you ever get a mouthpiece? Is it a Wilkinson? If not could I see the proof disc please?

  9. #9
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    James it is a Wilkinson and I have yet to find a mouthpiece for it which I believe would be made with German silver.

  10. #10
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    I have two of these non-regulation naval swords with the same hilt and blade combination. It seems they were their own little sub-group.
    Regarding the locking pin on naval swords, I believe that started in the 1850s and was common by the 1870s. The guard under the chin Vs in the mouth is not a reliable dating method, just a tendency. I have a Wilkinson under the chin dated to 1882.

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    More long overdue cleanups
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    The sword looks great, the Toledo blade is always desirable. I only have had two naval swords, one Wilkinson to Dalrymple Hay but I traded it. It had been refurbished by Wilkinsons and dated on the ricasso. If I had it again I would not trade it.

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    Will,
    I've never seen a refurbished Wilkinson (or at least one that was identified on the blade). I have seen a couple of Mole like that.

    Got any pictures?

  14. #14
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    Pictures were on my old computer that crashed. The date was scratched in the blade ricasso right next to the guard. All the gold gilt was reapplied.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Mathieson View Post
    My Wilkinsons Coldstream Guard 1854p sword dating to 1855 has the same Toledo blade and this was most likely due to the Crimean War where Russian overcoats were difficult to penetrate with the standard pattern infantry blade. The stiff Toledo blade would be a better choice though some used the edge to cut through rather than penetrate with the point.
    This information about Russian coats and British swords is historically-factual?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dmitry Z~G View Post
    This information about Russian coats and British swords is historically-factual?
    To the best of my knowledge at least, yes it is factual. There has been a lot of discussion as to what was causing this, ranging from improper sharpening, the blades being stone sharpened rather than filed, metal scabbards blunting the edge, and poor edge alignment in the cut.... Edit, and to the best of my knowledge it was the cavalry that had the problem.... And they had recourse to the point rather than the edge to deal with the problem...
    Last edited by David R; 04-24-2020 at 02:38 PM.

  17. #17
    Beautiful swords.

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    Quote Originally Posted by David R View Post
    To the best of my knowledge at least, yes it is factual. There has been a lot of discussion as to what was causing this, ranging from improper sharpening, the blades being stone sharpened rather than filed, metal scabbards blunting the edge, and poor edge alignment in the cut.... Edit, and to the best of my knowledge it was the cavalry that had the problem.... And they had recourse to the point rather than the edge to deal with the problem...
    ...I wonder which Russian coats did a British naval officer would want to cut through? Being that Crimea was well past the boarding action era in naval warfare.

  19. #19
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    The British Navy did many land actions with their Marines. Their enemy was not always onboard ship.

  20. #20
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    You might like this...
    https://www.cambridge.org/core/books...F6CBA77CA29D17

    I could not post the pdf I have, but here is a link.

  21. #21
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    I do understand that this is the Sword Forum, but rather than entrusting my life to a solid-hilted Toledo-bladed sword, I'd be a lot more comfortable with one, or even better, with two Colt 1851 navy revolvers ...London-made, of course. Guaranteed to penetrate any coat, no matter how thick.

  22. #22
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    When your pistol fails you don't want your sword to fail due to it being of poor quality.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dmitry Z~G View Post
    I do understand that this is the Sword Forum, but rather than entrusting my life to a solid-hilted Toledo-bladed sword, I'd be a lot more comfortable with one, or even better, with two Colt 1851 navy revolvers ...London-made, of course. Guaranteed to penetrate any coat, no matter how thick.
    It gets a bit wet at sea....

  24. #24
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    I have an 1860 Colt 44 and percussion caps can fail or fall off. Caps also can jam the cylinder from rotating as can buildup of powder residue. Reloading is relatively slow, the Remington 1858 revolver has a quickly removable cylinder and you can carry other cylinders pre loaded, I recall a Clint Eastwood movie where he swaps out cylinders. Toledo and other similar blades were adopted due to the difficulties officers had penetrating Russian overcoats. Cavalry used the cut since penetration was difficult.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by David R View Post
    It gets a bit wet at sea....
    Colt made over 40,000 of the 1851 Navy revolvers in London alone. RN was the primary customer. I'm sure they took wetness into account. Besides, the Russian naval officers were largely armed with dirks, not swords, and I don't see how a self-respecting RN officer would resort to blaming his poor sword for not being able to penetrate anything. Also, both sides had pretty sturdy cutlasses, so why not grab one?
    I'm not here to start a war over the solid hilts, just wanted to see if a period source was available regarding the "too thick to hole" Russian coats.

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