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Thread: ID Wilkinson Lead cutter?

  1. #1
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    ID Wilkinson Lead cutter?

    Hello All Looking for info. as to period of use and service on this sword.
    Blade is etched "Lead Cutter No 4" "Wilkinson Pall Mall"
    It has a 34" blade which is just over 2 inches wide. weighs 4.5 lbs. with the scabbard
    Looks like an overgrown mid 19th century British cutlass.
    Thanks for any help Paul G.
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  2. #2
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    Re: ID Wilkinson Lead cutter?

    Originally posted by Paul G.
    Hello All Looking for info. as to period of use and service on this sword.
    Blade is etched "Lead Cutter No 4" "Wilkinson Pall Mall"
    It has a 34" blade which is just over 2 inches wide. weighs 4.5 lbs. with the scabbard
    Looks like an overgrown mid 19th century British cutlass.
    Thanks for any help Paul G.
    Hi Paul,

    The leadcutter is a practice sword which I understand was used to build up the strength in the sword arm. I don't have my copy of Robson with me, but I recall that it dates from the latter half of the 19th century. I've run across a few of these in the US on dealer sites. Some refer to them as a British naval cutlass. It does look like one!

    Andre

  3. #3
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    Hello Paul,

    There were four lead-cutting swords, ranging (not surprisingly) from the No.1 up to the No.4 (which was the heaviest of the four). They date from the mid- to late Victorian period, the No.1 being introduced around 1870. The assumption is that the No.4 was only likely to be used by the biggest and/or strongest swordsmen of the troop, since it requires a very strong arm and wrist to use it accurately.

    All the above is taken from Robson, who goes into a little more detail (pp 266-7 in the revised edition), but you get the gist!

    Cheers,

    John
    "If I can't be a good example to others, at least let me be a horrible warning".

  4. #4
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    Funny thing is, I was just thinking about these last night. I was trying to remember where I'd seen one, and I now recall it was here in a virtually identical query, though perhaps in a previous iteration of the forums.

    There is mention of lead-cutting in a public exhibition in Tony Wolf's article, A Grand Assault-at-Arms in the Journal of Manly Arts. Sheep-cutting as well--I wonder how that would go over today?

    I believe there are examples of these at the British Army Museum--they might be able to supply more detailed information on the practice.
    Sikandur~~Aim Small, Miss Small

  5. #5
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    wilkinson lead cutter

    Thanks Andre and John for the info on the lead cutter sword
    i am not familiar with the book by robson where the info is found. need to get a copy. could you tell me which troops would have
    used it ? i would guess it had no naval connection? At 4 plus pounds would have whipped you into shape in no time! Quite a
    sharp edge as well. would have made a serious combat weapon.
    Thanks again Paul

  6. #6
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    Originally posted by Scott Bubar
    Funny thing is, I was just thinking about these last night. I was trying to remember where I'd seen one, and I now recall it was here in a virtually identical query, though perhaps in a previous iteration of the forums.

    There is mention of lead-cutting in a public exhibition in Tony Wolf's article, A Grand Assault-at-Arms in the Journal of Manly Arts. Sheep-cutting as well--I wonder how that would go over today?

    I believe there are examples of these at the British Army Museum--they might be able to supply more detailed information on the practice.
    Hi scott. Thanks for the links. most interesting. funny thing, I
    am a butcher by trade. Hmmm Sheep. lead cutter. it does get
    boring using knives all the time. ill let you know Paul

  7. #7
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    Re: wilkinson lead cutter

    Originally posted by Paul G.
    Thanks Andre and John for the info on the lead cutter sword
    i am not familiar with the book by robson where the info is found. need to get a copy. could you tell me which troops would have
    used it ? i would guess it had no naval connection? At 4 plus pounds would have whipped you into shape in no time! Quite a
    sharp edge as well. would have made a serious combat weapon.
    Thanks again Paul
    Hello Paul,

    This was a training weapon used (I believe) exclusively by British cavalry troops, despite the similarity in guard shape to a naval cutlass. The practice was to cut lead bars of approx 1 - 1.5 inches in thickness to develop arm strength and precision in the cut.

    The "bible" of British sword books to which I referred is "Swords of the British Army" by Brian Robson. Available from the National Army Museum or you could try a 2nd-hand books web site like www.abebooks.com. Invaluable reference!

    Hope this helps.

    John
    "If I can't be a good example to others, at least let me be a horrible warning".

  8. #8
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    Re: Re: wilkinson lead cutter

    Originally posted by John Hart


    Hello Paul,

    This was a training weapon used (I believe) exclusively by British cavalry troops, despite the similarity in guard shape to a naval cutlass. The practice was to cut lead bars of approx 1 - 1.5 inches in thickness to develop arm strength and precision in the cut.

    The "bible" of British sword books to which I referred is "Swords of the British Army" by Brian Robson. Available from the National Army Museum or you could try a 2nd-hand books web site like www.abebooks.com. Invaluable reference!

    Hope this helps.

    John
    John Thanks for the info and link. will add that book to my reference library. Paul

  9. #9
    Here's a pic of a Lead-cutter , from Brian Robson's book 'Swords of the British Army'

    Mac
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  10. #10
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    Originally posted by Thomas McDonald
    Here's a pic of a Lead-cutter , from Brian Robson's book 'Swords of the British Army'

    Mac
    the picture says it all. thanks Mac

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