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Thread: Horstmann or WKC Mark?

  1. #1
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    Horstmann or WKC Mark?

    A lot of post-CW Horstmann swords are foud with an old English “H” on a shield stamped on the ricasso. The best-known example is on the so-called M1875 USMC musicians’ swords. (These swords actually postdate 1887.)

    Name:  M1875 USMC Musician Horstmann CP 3.JPG
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    I have always assumed the "H" was for Horstmann and have been told by various collectors Horstmann used this mark on swords produced using domestic blades. Although this seemed plausible, no one ever offered any supporting evidence. I just purchased a M1872/80 field and cavalry officer’s sword with an 1894 presentation inscription which would appear to disprove this theory. In addition to the Shield/”H” on the reverse ricasso, it is also strongly stamped “GERMANY”. The Horstmann name itself does not appear on the sword.

    Name:  M1872 Horstmann Cav Stoll 7.jpg
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    Forum member Tim Graham tells me this old English “H” on shield is a WKC mark. Since Horstmann procured a major percentage of its blades from Weyersberg prior to its merger with Kirschbaum in 1882, it is reasonable to expect it would continue to buy blades from the new firm. This identification with WKC is further supported by the fact the blade etch design is identical to that on another Horstmann-marked M1872/80 in my collection which definitely is mounted with a WKC blade.

    My question is whether this shield/H is a WKC mark or is it a Horstmann mark which Horstmann applied to blades procured from whomever? If it is a WKC mark, was it used exclusively on blades provided to Horstmann or was it more broadly used?

  2. #2
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    Came across another Horstmann sword with the Shield/H mark. This one is a rather remarkable M1860 S&F-style sword with a number of unique features, most notably the use of Mother of pearl for the grips as opposed to the usual sharkskin, leather, or horn. The eagle on the obverse counterguard lacks the wreath around the eagle and the overall workmanship, casting, and chasing of the design is superior to that normally seen. The reverse counterguard is blank like the pre-1872 M1860s, but clearly this is a later example. The etch pattern on the blade is a style I have not seen before. What do you make of this sword?

    Name:  Horstmann MoP Grip 1.jpg
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    Any ideas what this might be? An extra fancy officer's sword? a military-style frternal or veterans' society sword? When was it made - I'd guess the 1880s. Is it a WKC product in whole or part?

  3. #3
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    An "H" for WKC just does not make sense as the letter markings typically represent company names. My references do not show an H for WKC or before its amalgamation.
    Did WKC make parts for Horstman and mark them with H, it is possible but I don't know. Comparing etching can be tricky as etching never remains exactly the same, some can look close but have different fine details which differentiates it from other makers while some differences can be attributed to another hand.
    "Germany" marking began in 1887 for export items.

  4. #4
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    Clearly this last sword is a Horstmann product since it is marked in the etching "Horstmann / Philadelphia". The "H" within a shield re-enforces the belief that this H marking also indicates a Horstmann product. The etching could have been done by WKC, or any other German supplier, if so stipulated by Horstmann in their order. Horstmann is well known for assembling their own products out of various bits and pieces that they had in stock or could cast or etch.

    Personally I believe the "H" within a shield is a Horstmann mark but it could have been applied by WKC, Eickhorn, etc. just like the Meyers N.Y. markings were applied by Eickhorn as part of the bidding process.

    George
    "You can't please everyone, so you have to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by George Wheeler View Post
    Clearly this last sword is a Horstmann product since it is marked in the etching "Horstmann / Philadelphia". The "H" within a shield re-enforces the belief that this H marking also indicates a Horstmann product. The etching could have been done by WKC, or any other German supplier, if so stipulated by Horstmann in their order. Horstmann is well known for assembling their own products out of various bits and pieces that they had in stock or could cast or etch.

    Personally I believe the "H" within a shield is a Horstmann mark but it could have been applied by WKC, Eickhorn, etc. just like the Meyers N.Y. markings were applied by Eickhorn as part of the bidding process.

    George
    I agree the Shield/H is a Horstmann mark. Almost all swords on which it appears are also marked with the Horstmann name, and I have never seen it on a sword with another maker's name. The sword at the top of this thread is the only one I have seen with this mark and the "GERMANY" country of origin mark. The issue is whether all Horstmann swords with the Shield/H mark were made using WKC blades. Tim thinks they were, I'm not so sure. He points out what appears to be a similar case of WKC using the walking bear/critter mark on blades produced for the MC Lilley Co.

    Any thoughts, incidentally, on the above M1860 S&F with MoP grip?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Schenk View Post
    I agree the Shield/H is a Horstmann mark. Almost all swords on which it appears are also marked with the Horstmann name, and I have never seen it on a sword with another maker's name. The sword at the top of this thread is the only one I have seen with this mark and the "GERMANY" country of origin mark. The issue is whether all Horstmann swords with the Shield/H mark were made using WKC blades. Tim thinks they were, I'm not so sure. He points out what appears to be a similar case of WKC using the walking bear/critter mark on blades produced for the MC Lilley Co.

    Any thoughts, incidentally, on the above M1860 S&F with MoP grip?
    My experience with Horstmann swords has been they were the epitome of "parts is parts" maker/assemblers/dealers. The S&F sword is neat and unique with these mother of pearl grips. I might worry that this is a "Frankenstein" cobbled together sword if it was not a Horstmann product. I have no problem at all thinking this sword came from the Horstmann workshop as a special order or something made by them to sell as a specialty presentation style sword. I like it.

    George
    "You can't please everyone, so you have to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

  7. #7
    deleted my post as it is like banging your head on a wall.
    Last edited by James Brown; 11-10-2019 at 12:22 AM.

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