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Thread: Cult of the Small-Sword

  1. #851
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    To revive this most interesting topic - here's my ca.1660-1680 small-sword, with a distinct pierced guard of a short-lived style, which I have seen described as Italian. Looking at the chiseled steel guard, the Italian or Spanish connection is not that far-fetched, as it is quite evocative of the Mediterranean cup-hilted rapiers, or tazas. Certain stylistic details of the hilt may point in the direction of England. The steel hilt is silvered, with much of the silver quite intact.
    I'm quite fond of this sword.
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    Last edited by Dmitry Z~G; 08-29-2010 at 02:00 PM.

  2. #852
    Carl Massaro posted (on pg 29) a picture of a lovely smallsword and I was curious if anyone knew more information about it such as approximate years and where it might have been made? Carl if you read this still any information would be most appreciated.


    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Massaro View Post
    Ok, here are the pics of my smallsword as I promised:









    This is the one that weighs about 14 ounces.

  3. #853
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    Bryan,

    I think this is an unusual small-sword in that the quillons are used with a butterfly shell without the usual filling in of the shells ends to bring it to an oval plate type design. The quillons in fact extend quite a ways beyond the shells with this application--normally the finials rest on the rim of the shell for extra support or extend only a bit over the edge. I wonder what the cutler or patron was thinking when this sword was mounted. I would place it around 1770.
    Last edited by T. Donoho; 09-21-2010 at 10:12 PM.
    Tom Donoho

  4. #854
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan W. View Post
    Carl Massaro posted (on pg 29) a picture of a lovely smallsword and I was curious if anyone knew more information about it such as approximate years and where it might have been made? Carl if you read this still any information would be most appreciated.
    This type of hilt is not uncommon to the last quarter of 18th-early 19th c., on the court swords, as well as the military presentation swords, particularly in England, which is where I suspect this sword is from. It's a beautiful hilt!
    Last edited by Dmitry Z~G; 09-22-2010 at 08:23 PM.

  5. #855
    I wanted to save/archive my new acquisition to the smallsword thread, just because I think it applies to my favorite sticky!

    http://www.swordforum.com/forums/sho...33#post1129833
    Peace, Love, SWORDS!

  6. #856
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    Hello everyone,

    finally I found my way to this thread (thanks to Tom D.).
    And I got a question regarding the so called Colichemarde blades. I'm not sure if it was answered earlier but a short answer would be greatly appreciated.
    Can someone enlighten me regarding the use of those blades? My area of interest are fencing and dueling weapons of the 19th century. I know that those blades were used in the 18th century but got out of fashion for some reason. But there seems to have been a revival in the following century. So I found a note in a dueling manual (around 1910) who forbade the use of such blades in a duel.
    Is it true that they were invented by a noble named "Königsmark" and that this bladeform should be more effective against heavier swords, or is this an urban legend? As a epee fencer I could imagine that the heavier "forte" might be a good idea.
    Thanks in advance guys.

    All the best

    William

    P.S.: a special greeting to Bjarne all the best from Germany.

  7. #857
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    Hi William!

    Glad to see you here.

    Yes, the colichemarde blade is attributed to the count, but not certain that he developed it. The design supposedly allowed for fast attack with the point, with a wide forte to allow for substantial parrying. I have handled several of these, and they truly are a nice design. Some say it fell out of favor around 1725, but that is not necessarily the case as this blade type is found in portraiture and mounted not rarely on small-sword hilts as late as 1775 and thereafter. Gen. Washington had a colichemarde on a later period small-sword. In Aylward's book, there is a neo-classical hilt with this type of blade c. 1790. It was said that military men in particular realized the benefit of such a balde design. I am not sure about it being banned on dueling swords of a later period. Hollow-ground blades were formed by rolling between wheels--I have handled needle-like blades that seemed quite tough, and I have handled wider blades that seemed rather cheap--I suppose that the tempering, even though it was not deep, could play a role in the sturdiness of a hollow-ground blade as well as the configuration of the "hollows.".
    Tom Donoho

  8. #858
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    Hi Tom,

    thanks for your answer. The design may have fallen out of fashion in the first quarter of the 19th century, but at least in the second half there were colichemarde blades produced in Klingenthal. This might explain the banning of those blades in the aforementioned book. By the way, I found the link again and here you go:

    http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt...gEN.pagination

    In order to support this great thread I want to post some pictures of my last aquisition.
    A dueling epee made in Klingenthal marked "Manufacture de Klingenthal Coulaux aine & Cie" with a pierced guard and fishskin grip.
    This weapon reminds me a little bit of a smallsword and is very light.

    All the best

    William
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    Last edited by William V.; 01-26-2011 at 10:48 AM. Reason: forgot the link

  9. #859
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    Small sword

    Quote Originally Posted by T. Donoho View Post
    Blade of above small-sword (3-cornered, 35" long).
    I have allways known These longer bladed swords..as court swords...i have a small sword & the blade is 24 inches long.

  10. #860
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    The length of the blade does not define a small-sword--it was not a sword that was small--it is an English term to describe a light civilian (although it was adopted by many officers) sword that was primarily used for thrusting (though many small-swords are fitted with blades suitable for shearing) taking advantage of the point and relative lightness and swiftness of the blade.
    Tom Donoho

  11. #861
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    MY small sword

    This is my small sword that i had for a few years.
    24 inch blade with brass fittings that have been silvered at one time
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  12. #862
    Very nice Ron. Can you show more pics of the blade?
    Peace, Love, SWORDS!

  13. #863
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    HI Morgan, i will take some tomorrow in daylight...if my camera stops messing me about...i keep getting a pink screen for some reason.

  14. #864
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    Pics of blade

    Hi morgan some more pics of small sword
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  15. #865

    Do you call this small swords?

    Hello all,

    Do these swords from around 1900 also real small swords?
    Or do they need to be older to respected as one...
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  16. #866
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Helwa View Post
    Hello all,

    Do these swords from around 1900 also real small swords?
    Or do they need to be older to respected as one...
    Is this a French diplomat's sword?

    Cheers

    Hotspur; The pattern goes back aways

  17. #867
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    Rob,

    They are known as court-swords and small-swords. 1660 to 1900 is a good ballpark date for court-swords and small-swords. They must be at least 100 years old to be considered an antique. They are still produced for wear at various court functions, academies and orders of chivalry and merit.
    Tom Donoho

  18. #868
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    If you have a 35 inch, triangular blade, IMO thats on the rare side. I have a very plain, well used smallsword and have looked at more than a few. Never have seen a full 35 inch blade. Have seen other blade shapes of that length, though.

  19. #869
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    Somewhere in this thread are photos of a gilt-bronze hilted English small-sword c. 1790 with a very nice hollow-ground blade of 35"--it has an urn pommel and plate guard with large teardrop quillon finials and a chain knuckle-guard. It is a long blade but being hollow-ground quite light in the hand. I have seen small-swords with blades from 26" to 35"--most I have seen have been around 30".
    Tom Donoho

  20. #870
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    Quote Originally Posted by T. Donoho View Post
    Somewhere in this thread are photos of a gilt-bronze hilted English small-sword c. 1790 with a very nice hollow-ground blade of 35"--it has an urn pommel and plate guard with large teardrop quillon finials and a chain knuckle-guard. It is a long blade but being hollow-ground quite light in the hand. I have seen small-swords with blades from 26" to 35"--most I have seen have been around 30".
    I saw that sword photo after reading this thread and was most impressed - modern epee blades are 35/36 inch(you can get shorter ones but they are usually used by very young fencers) Many quality epee blades are triangular forged as well - this shape give the best strength to weight ratio. I would like to aquire a genuine 35 inch smallsword blade( not the Colichemarde style) for making a replica dueling epee. Do you find that the Colichemarde style blades to be generally longer?

  21. #871
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    I've seen colichemardes run the gamut in length and even width.
    Tom Donoho

  22. #872
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    Hello all,

    I'll be honest I don't know much about small swords but I might be interested in joining your cult . The past few months I've found them to be more and more interesting. I have maybe a few dumb questions though. What is a small sword? I've read through a lot of this thread and I'm still not really sure. Or better yet what isn't a small sword? My idea of the small sword has always been the light thrusting swords like the one Carl Massaro posted and Bryan W. reposted above. But reading through this thread has shown me that many of the 19th and early 20th century "court swords" are considered small swords as well by collectors. Are the military style dress swords like a US M1860 staff sword or the 1796 pattern Heavy Cavalry Officers dress sword or the Japanese court swords (see the one that sold recently below) considered small swords proper? Also there are countless society and fraternal swords made in the same style as the military and court swords of the time, would they count as proper small swords? It seems there are so many regional variations and the weapon has changed so much over time it is very hard for someone like me to figure this out. Help!

    Thanks for reading
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    Chris Covington

  23. #873

    The alchemist's smallsword/1

    The alchemist's smallsword.
    I was lucky. I managed to buy interesting smallsword and I hope you will enjoy too.
    The hilt is cast from an alloy that is a white after cleaning (white brass?). There are the reliefs all around the hilt. I think the rococo style ???
    Why I say ALCHEMIST ?
    The shell guards are lined with relief of a snake eating its own tail.
    It is well known alchemical symbol, so-called "The ourobouros"(or Uroborus). The back arm of crossguard is in the form dragon head, the alchemical symbol too.
    Unfortunately the head was broken off and the repair was done with a steel collar.

    Other reliefs on the shell guards seem to me the older style - the baroque ???

    The blade is not same age as the hilt - it is triangular blade with small engravings. There were remains of the wet gilding about the engravings before cleaning. The strong cleaning was very necessary, unfortunately .
    Very good blade - solid, very firm. On the tang is a trade mark "D.W?". Made about 1820-1830 ???.

    The sword I really like and I will be glad for any further information and ideas on the origin and age.
    Happy new year 2012
    Viktor H.
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  24. #874

    The alchemist's smallsword/2

    Another 5 photos.
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  25. #875
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    Pactong

    White metal has been around for a long time, Pactong, as it was known was first seen in Europe as an import from China during the 18th C. where it caused much exitement among craftsmen and artisans at the time, many of whom who tried in vain to discover the secret of its manufacture. I'm not sure if anyone really knows the answer now.
    Items, such as candlesticks and other domestic objects were highly prized at the time, It must have been strong and durable, as it is occasionaly seen in flintlock pistol barrels.
    Mathew Boulton, a name familliar to many smallsword collectors is known to have worked with Pactong.
    I've not seen any sword hilts that I can think of, other than later ones made from Nickel alloys often known now as German Silver, which may be the same thing.
    Mel.
    Last edited by Mel H; 12-30-2011 at 09:33 AM. Reason: Forgot something

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