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Thread: Unnumbered wilkinson

  1. #1
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    Unnumbered wilkinson

    Hi all,

    I have a new toy which I'm very pleased with. It's a pre-numbering Wilkinson which thankfully has a crest and initials on the blade.

    I have a possible owner but need to do more investigation to pin it down.

    However first I am looking for conservation advice. The tip is quite badly corroded with significant material lost and some red rust in the pitting. I'm uncertain what to do for the best.

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  2. #2
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    Is it just the tip or is the whole blade covered in patchy rust spots? If it's just the tip then you could immerse it in something like Metal Rescue, Evaporust, etc to take take of the corrosion. I've done an entire rusty scabbard with Metal Rescue and it came out nice, but it has to be covered for the better part of a day to work well.
    Cheers,
    Mike

  3. #3
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    Hello.
    On the photo of the place of corrosion on the blade were previously treated with a rust converter or not?
    The coral surface of the blade indicates that the blade had previously been cleared of the girdle, but apparently poorly mothballed.
    I can give some advice on how I cope with a similar problem on such blades, but I don’t know if the translation will be accurate, since I use Google’s electronic translator.

  4. #4
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    Here is a link to my topic on the US Civil War forum in which I described the use of an alcohol solution of tannin for the conversion of rust.
    https://civilwartalk.com/threads/the.../#post-1842588
    If anyone is interested, I can tell you how I clear my problem items and show the photo "was-became".

  5. #5
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    Mike,

    Other than the final 6 inches the blade is in good condition. The dark colouration on the uncorroded blade surface is within my experience to treat and I'm only worried about how best to treat the heavily pitted areas to stop further degradation. I'd rather not use any mechanical cleaning if I can avoid.

    Vladimir,

    I don't know what has been used previously on the blade, it has only just came into my possession. I've only just discovered 'rust converter' today and I think that's what I am seeking.

    I will check out your thread.

    Thanks
    Last edited by james.elstob; 06-15-2019 at 06:51 PM.

  6. #6
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    It is possible to have the last 6 inches replaced though not inexpensive. Pitting looks too deep to file out.
    Can we see the whole sword? I have a pre numbered Wilkinson HC officers sword, these were well made swords.

  7. #7
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    It is possible to have the last 6 inches replaced though not inexpensive. Pitting looks too deep to file out.
    Can we see the whole sword? I have a pre numbered Wilkinson HC officers sword, these were well made swords.

  8. #8
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    It's 5/16" thick and very slightly over 1 1/8" wide. (8.7mm & 28.7mm)

    It's significantly thicker than most Wilkinsons I own. It's only beaten by one example that has a chromed blade. The only other 45 blade I own which is as thick is a Reeves.

    The whole sword needs some cleaning work. The scabbard fits very well but seems a little long and i wonder whether it is original.

    Rather than restoration with a new tip I'd prefer to conserve. I've ordered some rust converter. It's only a small amount of red rust.

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  9. #9
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    Since the scabbard fits a large blade like this and only slightly longer I would tend to believe its original to the sword. Can you picture the etching?

  10. #10
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    Here is the interesting bit, before and after cleaning.

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    Such poor resolution, I'll try another.

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    Last edited by james.elstob; 06-16-2019 at 10:44 AM.

  11. #11
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    Very nice, the family crest with initials and knowing the date range of most likely 1845-54 should be enough to find your man. http://thepeerage.com/ may have him listed.

  12. #12
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    I have a suspect but there are slight differences in the arms.

    Sir Erasmus Dixon-Borrowes. The name Dixon was adopted before his time to satisfy an inheritance caveat but the family name is Borrowes and he is recorded in the army lists as Erasmus Borrowes. Commissioned in 1852 so fits the pre-numbering.

    Commissioned into 56th before serving with 80th and 13th. Hart's records: -

    Sir Erasmus Borrowes served in the Burmese war of 1853 as Adjutant of the 80th Regiment (Medal with Clasp for Pegu). Also in the campaign in Oude from 18th January 1858, including the affair at Hurra with the 1st Sikh Cavalry, in the action at Morar Mow, capture of Simree Fort (wounded) as Orderly Officer to Major Miller, and affair at Bussingpore as Staff Officer to Colonel Christie (Medal).

    The trouble is that there are minor differences in the arms /crest. The motto for Borrowes is "Et vi et virtute" not "VI et virtute" which is on the sword. However this motto seems to have been last used by his grandfather. Both he and his father seem to use the motto "non vi virtute".

    I wonder whether he began using this motto only in 1866 when he succeeded his father to become 9th Baronet meaning at the time he bought the sword in 1852 he used a different motto.

    The mullets on the sword should also be pierced but they are not.

    Or I could be totally wrong, it might not even be him.
    Last edited by james.elstob; 06-16-2019 at 11:13 AM.

  13. #13
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  14. #14
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    I checked some of my swords that I know have original scabbards and they look just like yours; the tip is about 1/2 an inch to an inch from the end. So I'd bet on yours being original. Is it brass? The rest of the sword looks nice. I like that the hilt looks like it's been left alone and doesn't have the melted, over polished brass look.

  15. #15
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    Yes, scabbard is brass. As it fits so well I'm feeling a little happier about it now.

    I'm going to clean the blade as best as possible and then sit on the fence for a little while about the hilt.

    This is the heaviest patina on a brass hilt that I've come across and I'm torn whether to leave it as is or to try to bring it back a little. I do hate that buttery, highly polished brass look but it will be a huge contrast to the blade which I think will buff up nicely.

    As well as the tip damage the blade has nicks including a significant notch to the false edge. It also has a slight bend but not bad enough to risk correction. I'm mindful that if I have correctly identified the owner, the taking of fort Simree involved hand to hand fighting with an estimated 100 mutineers killed. Any damage could be that proverbial unicorn poop - 'battle damage'!!

  16. #16
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    It is made as a fighting blade and there is nothing to suggest it was not used in battle. This is his sword and he would have been wearing it and using it in battle. Revolver ammo was not completely dependable and he may have had a single shot percussion pistol so his sword was one weapon that would not fail or run out of ammunition.

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