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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 06:07 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 08:51 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 08:44 PM.

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

  8. #8
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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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