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Thread: US (?) Officers Spadroon circa 1800

  1. #1

    US (?) Officers Spadroon circa 1800

    Hello all. I thought I would share my newest addition, a pillow pommel spadroon from around 1800. The blade is 31 and 3/4 inch long blade. 1 inch at the forte. It has an unusual side guard, as it is wider than normal, and rather 3-dimensional, while most are flat cut brass. The general opinion is that it is American assembled because of the handsome wooden grip. Eric Fairbanks has a strong suspicion/feeling/inkling that it was assembled be Lemuel Wells of New York. Upon inspection the grip is more of a golden-brown than the reddish tint in the photos. It has a very comfortable feel in the hand. Also, this is the stiffest/sturdiest blade of this type that I have seen so far. There is not too much of a taper to the blade but it is very well balanced. The guard is more diminutive than I would have expected. Only 1.5 inches of space between the grip and the knuckle-bow at it's widest point . Also, the lanyard ring was put on with it facing inside the knuckle guard. It looks to me as if the blade has never been sharpened.
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    Last edited by morgan butler; 04-22-2019 at 07:04 PM.
    Peace, Love, SWORDS!

  2. #2
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    While I don't agree that it is associated with Wells, a maple grip might certainly have been put together in the colonies/early US.

    It was a good score and I'm glad I wasn't bidding against you. It is a fine piece and Crain is a top notch seller.

    Cheers
    GC

  3. #3
    [QUOTE=Glen C.;1233958]While I don't agree that it is associated with Wells, a maple grip might certainly have been put together in the colonies/early US.

    It was a good score and I'm glad I wasn't bidding against you. It is a fine piece and Crain is a top notch seller.

    Cheers

    Yes, he always has very nice/interesting examples. I can't quite recall if I've purchased other swords from him or not.
    As to the spadroon, I'm not very attached to whether it's American or not. It's quite a fine piece. It would be even more unusual if it was made/assembled in England.
    Peace, Love, SWORDS!

  4. #4
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    Lemuel Wells and Richards and Upsom are the only two I have seen that have marked swords with this type wooden grip. As Morgan noted the knot ring flipped to the inside is confusing and could suggest a rehilt. Both the ring and the wood make British doubtful. Eric
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

  5. #5
    Eric,
    Please tell me the significance of the ring in deciding the sword's origin.
    Peace, Love, SWORDS!

  6. #6
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    Or, simply moving the ring to the inside. We know we see this and I don't necessarily note that on any other tampering.

    As to Wells and Upson attributes, the operative word here would be "marked".

    Personally? I put the piece a decade earlier than either association of Wells and the Upson imports. There is a Simon Rycroft thread in here with a Bolton marked pillow/cushion pommel, so I'm not denying a possibility but what I see here of Morgan's is not one of theirs (Wells and Upson).
    http://www.swordforum.com/vb4/showth...-pillow-pommel

    Once again I remind myself more than anyone else to consider the "fallacy of the undistributed middle" when looking at unmarked swords (and I have plenty of them).

    Best
    A really nice sword there Morgan
    GC

  7. #7
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    Morgan, It is unlikely the ring would have been left inside knucklebow by a British craftsman. So in my opinion most likely a rehilt or a colonial hilting. While I can not say it is a Richards & Upson nor a Wells, I can say it was most likely not a British hilter because of the wooden grip and the knot ring mistake. Both Wells and Richards were known to use this type grip so both would be in the running. It certainly could have been any number of hilters, sword makers or silversmiths in the 1805 plus or minus 10 time frame. Wells being a prime candidate because of popularity of this style time frame although Richards & Upson come in on the late end of this style.
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

  8. #8
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    Any etching on the blade may be a helpful clue. Has the peen been disturbed (picture please)? Is the ring brazed or open ended?

    Of my own stuff, the narrower blades with a more linear distal taper tend to have a more German flavor to the etches.

    Ferrule types. This small faceted type is seen on the swords from the 1780s and 1790s, hence my own dismissive view of the New Yorkers mentioned after 1800 mark.

    The counterguard as well speaks loudly to me of earlier and not common enough I see it in book examples. Indeed, I have nothing quite like this after archiving images during the past couple of decades. The asymmetry to the casting pretty unique in my mind but as soon as we say "one of a kind" a twin or cousin appears.

    The grip, as noted a real note of it being done on this side on the pond but let's not forget Germany. Why does Rose and maple strike a note in my musing. Hmmmm. Why does casting in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania come to mind? Why do some examples in the Medicus back pages lure me back to look, along with other texts but I'll stick to my guns in thinking it closer to the 1780s than 1800.

    Crain registered here soon after I had discussed regarding a sword but he has not posted, to my knowledge. Some striking examples have come from his listings, including a Wells marked (stressing marked) smallsword.

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    I also have files of other older looking swords marked by Wells, so they were certainly around, likely surplus to the British. More questions than answers regarding a lot of swords and finding a twin a really good start.

    So ya, Wells in business in the 1790s
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    Cheers
    GC
    Last edited by Glen C.; 04-23-2019 at 06:11 PM.

  9. #9
    The blade has no etchings. The ring is braised. I'll get a photo of the pommel.
    Peace, Love, SWORDS!

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