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Thread: 1822 infantry patent hilt - numbered Wilkinson

  1. #1
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    1822 infantry patent hilt - numbered Wilkinson

    Hi all,

    Following on from my previous post about absentee bidding, this is my prize.

    Adding to my patent hilt collection; my first infantry officer version and a Wilkinson numbered for 1860.

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    I wish it was in better condition but the rust isn't as bad as I thought. There may be some pitting but although the blade is discoloured the etching is all there.

    More images tomorrow. This may be a candidate for Evaporust.
    Last edited by james.elstob; 11-28-2019 at 11:31 AM.

  2. #2
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    The blade can be brought back to white metal. There is zero original finish on this blade but should come up nicely.
    Did you get the Wilkinson proof page, hopefully a name was recorded?

  3. #3
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    Hi Will,

    I have the proof slip and there are initials and a crest on the blade.

    H D R
    A bird atop a trumpet

    Proof slip, H D Rook.

    Just trying to marry it up in the army lists, there is a very strong candidate in the army lists but he is Rooke (with an e) and was commissioned 3 months before the sword was finished.

    Photos to follow later.

  4. #4
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    If it's the same guy (and he's the only candidate I could find) he commanded the 1st Batt. of the King's Shropshire Light Infantry in 1885-89.

    Henry Douglas Rooke
    Ensign 53rd, December, 1859. Musketry-Instructor, 1865-66. Served with 1st Battalion in Egyptian War, 1882, and in the expedition to the Soudan, 1885. Commanded 1st Battalion, August, 1885, to 1889.

  5. #5
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    Thanks Mark, yes I suspect its him despite the different spelling and the sword being later than his commission.

    There are no militia officers in the 1861 lists named Rook or Rooke.

    I suppose as its pre 1861 it could be a company officer who doesn't feature in the British Army lists especially considering its a solid hilt.

    I'll check the indian army list next. If I can find an 1860/61 version somewhere
    Last edited by james.elstob; 11-28-2019 at 11:44 AM.

  6. #6
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    No H D Rook in the 1860/61 Indian Army List I'm afraid. There is a Harry Alfred Rooke (Season of Appointment 1858), but to be honest I researched this sword prior to the auction and came up with Henry Douglas Rooke as well, so I am sure he is your man James.

  7. #7
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    Hi Jordan,

    I agree there are no likely Indian cadidates.

    It's a shame that the 53rd weren't more than bit part players in both Egypt and Soudan. Although this sword may well have been in camp under attack from the Fuzzy Wuzzies.

    To quote a famous British soldier - "They don't like it up em!!"

  8. #8
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    Check your inbox James, just sent you his Service Record

  9. #9
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    Thanks Jordan,

    He certainly got about a bit, from what I can decipher. I'll scrutinise it in depth later.

  10. #10
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    An interesting blade, looking at the way the fuller fades away at the ricasso.

  11. #11
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    A thing of beauty!

    And just for the joy of seeing them together again, here's my patent hilt collection.

    Ray skin, pressed leather and 3 composite material grip slabs of very different appearance.

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    Last edited by james.elstob; 11-29-2019 at 03:57 PM.

  12. #12
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    This from Rooke's army records. Does this say "Brit. America"?

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    This is followed by West Indies, 3 stints in Bermuda, Egypt, Malta, Suakin, Lower Egypt, Malta.

  13. #13
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    B.N. America, British North America.
    James your naval sword with Toledo blade, have you posted this sword before, if so can you supply a link to it? I am partial to Toledo blades though only have one, a Wilkinson Coldstream Guards circ 1855.

  14. #14
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    I did, but it seems the post fell down the side of the sofa and went unnoticed.

    http://www.swordforum.com/vb4/showth...ent-solid-hilt

  15. #15
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    I believe Rooke features in a photo album held by the Shropshire Archives. I don't suppose anyone here is registered with the archives there?

  16. #16
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    I'm ready to declare my first experience with Evaporust a resounding success!

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  17. #17
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    Hi James,
    That looks fantastic and a different sword than the first pics! How did you go about it?
    Kind Regards
    Ian

  18. #18
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    Hi Ian,

    I can't believe how successful it was.

    I used a 40mm pvc waste pipe, capped at one end. Tied it upright in my garden. Filled it with Evaporust and dropped the sword in until the hilt rested on the top.

    I let the Evaporust overspill to ensure it was right up to the hilt.

    I left it the recommended 12 hours but there was little difference. After 18 hours I could see it working, the thick areas of rust had active red patches as if the surface of the old rust was being eaten away.

    After 24 hours I tried brushing with an old tooth brush and some rust clumps came away but there were still stubborn thick bits.

    I left it for 48 hours in total and when the blade came out it was matt black as if covered in soot. The etching was very feint and at first I thought it had been erroded away. I then went at it pretty vigorously with a brass brush and got most of the soot off.

    The surface was then a horid dull gray so I gave it a buff with a hand drill and buffing wheel.

    Then a bit of autosol and a wooden skewer working in some of the pitting.

    Now I need to see what I can do with the hilt to bring it up to the same standard
    Last edited by james.elstob; 01-01-2020 at 06:35 AM.

  19. #19
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    Hi James

    Thanks for taking the time to reply. I had wondered how you managed to get the ‘shine’ back as I had assumed the result would be a dull colour. It looks really good, but it must have been a worrying couple of days!

    Kind Regards

    Ian

  20. #20
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    Ammonia mixed with water and a small nylon brush will clean up the grip nicely. Rinse with water as it won't hurt the sword and removes any remaining ammonia, it's been wet many times before. This would only take about 3 min or less.
    I would think that Brasso would bring up the brass guard , no gilt remaining to worry about. I'd finish it with Renaissance Wax on the hilt and blade.
    The brass guard can be straightened but you'll want previous experience doing this since failures do occur. A jeweller should be able to straighten the guard. Never use any type of hammer as it requires a slow steady controlled force to prevent cracking and breakage.
    Last edited by Will Mathieson; 01-01-2020 at 08:53 AM.

  21. #21
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    Hi Will,

    Some ammonia brought out what was remaining of the gilt (on the left) and some autosol cleaned up the rest (right)

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    When you say a jeweller could straighten up the hilt do you have experience with this? I am very tempted to bite the bullet and try it myself with some g clamps and jigs.

  22. #22
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    Practice on a beater first. The brass can be brittle and crack more than what it is when returning it to shape. The bars can be tricky and you don't want the VR cartouche to separate.
    I have a very small hydraulic device I block up and it moves very slowly and you have total control over the movement. Don't try to get it all the way back, the finial looks tricky and may require heat which does anneal the brass. Go very slowly and check for cracking. I don't like clamps because the screw thread does not give you good control and tends to twist and not stay straight.

  23. #23
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    Great job!

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