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Thread: Cant figure this British made sword out

  1. #1
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    Cant figure this British made sword out

    This was advertised as a "British Flank Officer's Sword". I liked the simplicity of the lines which reminded me of the 1796 family of blades. It has no etching or markings other than 'Fs Deakin' on the spline. Blade, leather and brass are in fairly good shape. It is tight though guard is slightly bent. I haven't seen one like it before, and have no reason to view it as either an officers sword or (through lack of other markings or inspection stamps) one that was purchased by the Ordnance. Does anyone have an idea?
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  2. #2
    I have one very much like yours apart form mine has langets which I believe is a 1796 Yeomanry Cavalry Officers sabre.
    My sabre is made by Woolley & Sargent yours was made by Francis Deakin Birmingham 1811-1839
    I believe the Canadian Militia carried a sword very much like yours so possibly a British made sabre for the Canadian Army or Militia.

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    Last edited by Michael.H; 10-12-2021 at 05:54 AM.

  3. #3
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    Thank you Michael for the quick reply. I agree that absent the langets, the two swords are very similar. Yours is in superb condition, and has the wire wrap that is now missing from mine.
    The possibility of Canadian use is an interesting angle. Militia or Yeoman Cavalry use also fits with the absence of Ordnance marking.
    Again, I am very appreciative of your time.
    Best, Charlie

  4. #4
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    These bird head pommel swords were sold extensively in U S in first half of 19th century by British and Solingen. I have an eaglehead by Francis Deakin so it is evident he sought out American market. It is possible this sword was for US market. They come in both infantry and cavalry lengths.
    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
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    From Oldswords
    England Birmingham Deakin, Francis 1811 1839 Suffolk St
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    England Birmingham Woolley & Deakin 1800 1803 Edmund St
    England Birmingham Woolley, Deakin & Dutton 1808 1812 Edmund St
    England Birmingham Woolley, Deakin & Plimley 1808 1812 Deritend Mill
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  6. #6
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    Glen, thanks for the references. I'm not sure, having puzzled over them a bit, how to interpret them accurately. I think I get the Names and street locations. But are they arranged chronologically? Are those dates given associated with the street location in Birmingham? If so, several overlap, and the Francis Deakin business would be the more recent of the four that are noted.
    Is that correct?
    Best, Charlie

  7. #7
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    The Canadian used brass hilted weapons I've seen are hangers with the narrow fuller near the blade spine. Many are not marked but I did see one with Mole stamped on the spine.
    The pommels tend to have a point facing downwards.
    Being quite slim they would have been more easily shipped overseas in quantity.
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  8. #8
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    Thank you Will. I'm beginning to get used to seeing multiple versions of these swords that were apparently made in several places for export to several places. The one that you show is both like mine in the generalities but differs in some detail. It has a more narrow fuller, though also one that is located towards the rear of the blade, adjacent to the spline. The point of the pommel is narrower than mine and with a more downward facing angle. The view of the scabbard is interesting, as my sword did not come with one.
    Best, Charlie

  9. #9
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    Charlie here is the whole thing. The scabbard is leather over a wooden core. Finally the photo downloaded, internet here is crappy so i'm going with Starlink.
    i found an identical one less scabbard in the Picton area at an estate sale at a farm house. Hidden away swords tend to be found nearer to waterways as that's how they travelled back then and where they lived close to.
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    Last edited by Will Mathieson; 10-14-2021 at 10:07 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Sorrentino View Post
    Glen, thanks for the references. I'm not sure, having puzzled over them a bit, how to interpret them accurately. I think I get the Names and street locations. But are they arranged chronologically? Are those dates given associated with the street location in Birmingham? If so, several overlap, and the Francis Deakin business would be the more recent of the four that are noted.
    Is that correct?
    Best, Charlie
    England Birmingham Deakin, Francis 1811 1839 Suffolk St

    That is your man. The others familial association with Woolley, which actually goes back to the 18th century. Included as background only. Your sabre is of the later date.

    Cheers
    GC

  11. #11
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    Just for the record, here is one like Will's in my collection out of St. John, New Brunswick. Not as pretty, but in case there is ever a greater link to this particular style being exported to Canada that comes to light ...

    Matt

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  12. #12
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    Matt, Thank you for the comparison. This one seems to have a hilt very much like mine, including what looks like a similar pommel point. The sword that Will shows, as he notes has a pommel point that is a bit narrower and more down turned. Yours has the more narrow fuller as does Will's blade and unlike mine. My blade looks a bit longer as well. Does yours have a maker name on the spline? I think, that just with these examples, it is clear that there were several close variations that were sent to Canada and probably the US as well. Does anyone have a date range in mind?
    Best, Charlie

  13. #13
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    This may be just conjecture, Woolley & Co made 1788p cavalry swords with a pommel plate that formed a downward point. It is interesting that Woolley and Deakin merged and i've owned 1821p swords marked Woolley Deakin.
    As I previously mentioned I've seen one marked Mole. Collectors tend to view these as 1812 era hangers. There may "possibly" be existing documentation of the ordering of these hangers and swords. I believe Canada has better records from 1855 onwards that do list Colt pistols, 1853p swords etc.

  14. #14
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    Hi all.
    Friends, I apologize for getting into someone else's topic, but I have a cavalry saber with the same hilt, which, as I thought, was a saber of the American militia of the 1808 model, in the likeness of the saber of the Starr contract.
    Please tell me what kind of saber I have - a British one or a saber made in America in the likeness of British sabers.
    Sincerely, Vladimir.
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  15. #15
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    Is your hilt steel or brass? (It's not clear in the photo.) If steel, it is quite similar to the Starr M1808 cavalry saber but not the same. Note the number and width of the ribs on the grip and and the size and shaoe of the ferrule. The Starr sabers were also stamped "N. STARR" in raised letters in a sunken cartouche on the obverse side of the blade. The other side is stamped “U.S.” or "V". I suspect your saber is one of the many British or Solingen clones of the UK p1796 light cavalry saber although it could be an American made product as well.

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  16. #16
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    Richard, thanks for the answer.
    The handle of the saber is brass, not iron, and there are no brands or identification marks on it, so I am confused about the pattern of a saber.
    I thought that since in America after gaining independence there was no regular army or cavalry, but a militia, each state could make its own sabers for its troops, and the famous sabers of that time were taken as a model.
    Now I want to restore the leather on the hilt of this saber, but I will not disassemble the hilt.
    Sincerely, Vladimir.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Sorrentino View Post
    Matt, Thank you for the comparison. This one seems to have a hilt very much like mine, including what looks like a similar pommel point. The sword that Will shows, as he notes has a pommel point that is a bit narrower and more down turned. Yours has the more narrow fuller as does Will's blade and unlike mine. My blade looks a bit longer as well. Does yours have a maker name on the spline? I think, that just with these examples, it is clear that there were several close variations that were sent to Canada and probably the US as well. Does anyone have a date range in mind?
    Best, Charlie
    Hi there Charlie,

    Unfortunately for the sake of your comparison, the pommel on mine is peaked, like Will's. It just didn't show up very well on the image...sorry about that. This image is clearer.

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    However, I also have this one in my collection. It is an officer's 1796 pattern, brass made by J. J. Runkel...well, okay, not "made" by him, but at least sold by him.

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    I realize that this one has the langets, where yours does not.

    I wonder if it is possible that we are seeing a step by step evolution here from the the 1788 pattern to the fully developed 1796 pattern in 1796. With the 1788 pattern having (generally) a D guard, very fine langet and a narrow and wide fuller (though not exclusively) -> to a D guard still, no langet, but narrow fuller (like mine and Will's) -> to an established P guard (still no langets and narrow fuller) as in Vladimir and Richard's -> to yours with a P guard, wider fuller, but still no langets -> to the fully developed 1796 pattern.

    Granted, this thought could be completely shot down by examples that are known to be produced later. I have a Virginia Artillery sabre that dates to 1808/10, P guard, no langets. So there I go shooting myself down...but just a thought about possible development stages since we have all these different examples on this thread.

    Matt

  18. #18
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    Matt I tend to view American swords differently since until the 1st quarter of the 1800's they didn't have the capability to produce sword blade steel (my dating may be off somewhat), at least not nearly as good as European blades.
    American swords in the 1700's are usually made with European blades and locally made hilts which gave us an amazing variety of Revolutionary swords. They did not have to abide by pattern restrictions so anything was possible. I don't think we see a straight progression of pattern here.
    Runkell blades were sold to British and hilted there so remained as British patterns.
    The 1788p British swords did not have any connection to the 1796 patterns as they were adopted from the 1769 Pallash Austrian cavalry swords by Brigade Major John Gaspard Le Marchant. I would think any similarity to the 1788p was by chance.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Will Mathieson View Post
    Charlie here is the whole thing. The scabbard is leather over a wooden core. Finally the photo downloaded, internet here is crappy so i'm going with Starlink.
    i found an identical one less scabbard in the Picton area at an estate sale at a farm house. Hidden away swords tend to be found nearer to waterways as that's how they travelled back then and where they lived close to.
    Some War of 1812 combat was in the Picton area.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Mathieson View Post
    Matt I tend to view American swords differently since until the 1st quarter of the 1800's they didn't have the capability to produce sword blade steel (my dating may be off somewhat), at least not nearly as good as European blades.
    American swords in the 1700's are usually made with European blades and locally made hilts which gave us an amazing variety of Revolutionary swords. They did not have to abide by pattern restrictions so anything was possible. I don't think we see a straight progression of pattern here.
    Runkell blades were sold to British and hilted there so remained as British patterns.
    The 1788p British swords did not have any connection to the 1796 patterns as they were adopted from the 1769 Pallash Austrian cavalry swords by Brigade Major John Gaspard Le Marchant. I would think any similarity to the 1788p was by chance.
    Good point Will. I knew that Le Marchant had designed them based off of an earlier Austrian pattern, but I had never looked up that pattern to compare until now. It seems it was more the blade style that he adopted rather than the hilt style - would that be correct?

  21. #21
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    The hilt of the 1769/75 is almost identical to the 1796 HC sword.
    http://www.swordforum.com/vb4/showth...tish-HC-p-1796

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