Sword ID help please

Discussion in 'Sword Discussion' started by RayseM, Mar 3, 2021.

  1. RayseM

    RayseM Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 18, 2010
    My wife has had this in the family. Her grandfathers and great grandfathers were sea captains - they and their families - to the far East and more locally, the West Indies. We have lots of trinkets and treasures. This one? Tourist trinket or treasure? Thanks for any info.

    Blade length just under 30" X 1-1/4". No scabbard.

    Sword.jpg

    Sword-hilt-detail.jpg


    No markings that I can find other than this leafy detail. I could buff the blade with some 3M pads to clean off some of the rough and reveal more detail but I'm guessing I should wait on any attempt to clean.

    Sword-Inscription.jpg


    Sword-detail-I.jpg

    That's all for now. Thanks for your help.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
    FOG2 and Mecha like this.
  2. Triton

    Triton Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 8, 2000
    @horseclover should be along shortly and I'll bet he can give you some ideas
     
    RayseM likes this.
  3. RayseM

    RayseM Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 18, 2010
  4. Triton

    Triton Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 8, 2000
    You can, but it's just as likely to be answered here as there. It's roughly the same participants that will know anything about it. Glenn really will be along at some point. They tell me patience is a virtue. In my own untutored opinion it looks to be a fairly common place saber with what I suspect is a replacement bone or ivory grip. We will see if Glenn or some other more knowledgeable person in this area can come along and shed some light.
     
  5. horseclover

    horseclover Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 21, 2000
    Sorry to be tardy. I'm guessing that there is no spread eagle with shield and an e pluribus unum banner, or you would have mentioned it (or the etching is just that worn).

    British manufacture typically for the US market in the 1820s/1830s. Likely (most likely) says Warranted at the base of the blade. Is there anything on the spine at the base? The blade seems original to the blade but the grip may have been replaced (even back then) and carved in the current stylings. That seems just a little coarse for the type of work but then again, maybe not.

    I would not start right off with scrubbies but give Evapo-Rust a try. Either create a pvc tube or just dampen/soak a towel and wrap the blade. Or, just repeated brushing. Check after soaking for an hour or so, don't just let it go overnight and follow the directions but on the side of caution. If left too long, a blade will get a deep gray etch.The rust doesn't look that bad and I even see some bluing remaining.

    I use a variety of less abrasive polishes. I like Noxon and Nevr-Dull but also have some Flitz and Simichrome. Even without the Evapo-Rust, I have used Noxon. Noxon has some Oxalic acid and if you shake well, lather on and let it set until dry, you can rub off a lot of grime and surface rust. The bluing will literally disappear in solvents and major abrasives.

    Without old journals linking the sword to one of the ancestors, the provenance is anyone's guess. A nice sword for display. The guard could be carefully straightened with some heat and a jig in a vise or other techniques.

    Something similar imported by a fellow in New York City. He went to England in his teens to apprentice and then came back beginning an import and hardware business in the mid 1820s. His sword (and gun) imports lasted into the 1850s. This sword below would not have been marked so before the 1826 era.

    718h.jpg 718.jpg 718d.jpg

    Many blades were used up in England over a period of decades and sometimes you'll come across swords you might swear they were closer to 1800 until seeing the tell tale retailer marks or other defining characteristics.

    Another Spies that could pass for the Napoleonic years. Imo, sold in the 1830s. Old surplus blades with some of the latest bling.

    919a.jpg 919e.jpg

    I think you do have a treasure there worth hanging onto.

    Cheers
    GC
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2021
    Mecha likes this.
  6. Triton

    Triton Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 8, 2000
    Thanks Glenn, I thought for sure that the grip was a replacement, but after seeing your pictures I am not so sure. It's certainly more crude than your pictures but not exponentially so. What's it made of?
     
  7. horseclover

    horseclover Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 21, 2000
    Most likely bone but the visual can be tricky. I'd like to see both sides up close. The major source for British and European ivory in the early 1800s was mammoth tusks from Russia.

    mowivory.jpg

    Distinguishing between elephant and mastadon is the angle of the Schreger lines.
    https://www.fws.gov/lab/ivory_natural.php

    One can sometimes spot the lines easily but more so with magnification. Mammoth can fool you in pictures because sometimes they are sections close to the bark. Black speck and short lines do not mean its not ivory. Polished bone can fool you but generally have what shows as "furring", especially on the wear side.

    Mammoth ivory, one of mine.

    DSC00352.JPG

    Polished bone, one of mine

    Babe_002_75.jpg Babe_003_75.jpg

    Just two quick examples. Ivory has a real depth in appearance and I have had myself guessing at times.

    Cheers
    GC
     
    Mecha likes this.
  8. horseclover

    horseclover Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 21, 2000
    An in process of cleaning that first eagle. All that grime came off just with time and a soft toothbrush and a little wiping with Windex after. You can see traces of the original silver wash. More importantly, you can see a brown streak on the inside of the grip. That is a next quick visual for mammoth.

    [​IMG]

    The Ames Sword Co. sourced both mammoth and quickly went to elephant even before Ivoryton in CT was going. In this group of old militia swords, there are two early mammoth grips on our left and the sword on our far right elephant. The rest bone.

    [​IMG]

    There are exceptions to the post 1812 war mastadon but most of the post war imports were bone.

    Cheers
    GC
     
    Mecha likes this.
  9. RayseM

    RayseM Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 18, 2010
    Thank you ever so much for this information and your time to explain. Will treat this sword with respect and start in on gentle cleaning. Seems, as I understand you, that cleaning thoroughly is OK with this type of relic but that I should avoid polishing the blade and handle. Is that right?

    I'm as intrigued about the handle as I am about the rest of the piece. Were these military issue swords then? Battle swords or just worn by the gents in attendance at the cotillion?

    Thanks you again. Much appreciated.
     
  10. horseclover

    horseclover Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 21, 2000
    Just try to refrain from heavy abrasives on the blade. You'd be surprised at how much even just wiping down the blade with light oil on a soft cloth will remove rust and crud. We want to soften and loosen the active rust, not sand it off. In extreme cases on some blades, heavier measures can save time. Some use fine steel or bronze wool with light oil but that can remove any remaining bluing. Others tout aluminum foil and light oil. There are lots of tricks but you can experiment for yourself on the undecorated part of the blade.

    The grip, you can go to town with a spritz of surface cleaner and a toothbrush. Just don't soak it in anything. The rest, even if you use a polishing compound, the brass will go back to less bright, so that is ok. I like Noxon. What we are after is removing grime. Some call that patina. I call it dirt.
    In the end, this is your object.

    Cheers
    GC
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2021
  11. RayseM

    RayseM Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 18, 2010
    OK - Thanks and noted. Upon closer inspection I see a 3 and an upside down V on the spine near the hilt. Also the floral decorations runs along at least 1/2 the length of the blade. Gentle cleaning will likely reveal more.
     
    Mecha likes this.
  12. RayseM

    RayseM Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 18, 2010
    Until I can clean it more - these photos after a 1st wash. Don't have any of the mentioned products other than oxalic acid.

    So here a few details:

    The numbers on the spine ~

    Sword-Spine-#s.jpg

    The decoration on the blade ~

    Another-sword-blade-detail.jpg


    Handle details, right and left ~

    Sword-Handle-detail-I.jpg

    Sword-Handle-detail-II.jpg
     
    Mecha likes this.
  13. horseclover

    horseclover Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 21, 2000
    Yes, that is bone. That seems to be original to the sword. The spine number might be a rack, or weapon number and that might be a connection to a naval service but naval swords of those years were generally straight bladed (British and American). I see hints that there was once thin gilt and that as well kind of dates it to about the 1830s for the middle class. Generalized as an artillery officer's sword.

    You can see part of the nature of these hollow grips that have wood plugs at each end of the grip.

    Cheers
    GC
     
  14. RayseM

    RayseM Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 18, 2010
    Thanks very much.
     
  15. Mecha

    Mecha Titanium Bladesmith Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    Crag the Brewer and RayseM like this.
  16. Danke42

    Danke42

    Feb 10, 2015
    It's probably more likely an "A" or a caret than an upside down "V".
     
  17. RayseM

    RayseM Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 18, 2010
    Likely, hard to tell, in any event there's a mark ;) I love the idea of a 19th century 3V blade, @Mecha :D
     
    Mecha likes this.
  18. Londinium Armoury

    Londinium Armoury

    648
    Jun 2, 2020
    Looks like a US light cavalry sabre to me.
     

Share This Page