Author: Victorian Swords

cuirassier: Charge of the 21st Lancers at the …


Charge of the 21st Lancers at the battle of Omdurman, 2 September 1898, drawn by Stanley Berkeley

You can read more about this decisive engagement during the Mahdist war here.



A heavily curved Naval Dirk,

  • OaL: 11.6 in/29.5 cm

English, ca. early 19th century, from Czerny’s International Auction House.

Britishmuzzleloaders in South Africa: PART T…

Britishmuzzleloaders in South Africa: PART TWO

In this video, we explore some of the details of the Organization, Formations and Manoeuvre and Tactics used by the Army in the 1870s.  This is in order to lend greater clarity to follow on discussions regarding the battles that will be featured.

Wootz Katar, Possibly 17th Century

Wootz Katar, Possibly 17th Century

Of robust size and high quality, this venerable Southern Indian katar is perhaps as old as the 1600s. Its blade is held in place by twin elephants, sacred animals, and entirely made of wootz and shows all the beautiful patterns and swirls you’d expect from that mysterious steel.

The hilt has been hand-carved extensively, not just to show floral elements but also zig-zag patterns and hundreds of holes and stars—perforations reminiscent of jali screens.

Despite its centuries of wear this is still a sturdy, historical and aesthetically pleasing piece. It is accompanied by a modern sheath.

British Cutlass or Lead Cutter, Mid-19th Centu…

British Cutlass or Lead Cutter, Mid-19th Century

An unidentified British naval cutlass, or perhaps a lead cutter. This sword has only one marking, a stamp on the ricasso which looks like a number 3. So technically it could be any nationality – however the form of the grip strongly suggests that it is British. The guard is narrower than most later Victorian cutlasses and coupled with the grip style this could indicate a pre-1845 experimental cutlass. However, the blade is unusually long for a cutlass at 31 inches. This may indicate it is a sword for Lead Cutting or other similar sword feats and indeed it has been edged and retains a fine edge, of not being exactly sharp anymore. However, the cutlass is not heavy like a typical Lead Cutter and is relatively light for the size. This is a pleasing sword in the hand and everything is solid. 



Francesco Beda ( 1840-1900)- Egyptian with his rifle.

peashooter85: Gbaya sickle sword, Central Afr…


Gbaya sickle sword, Central Africa, early 20th century.

from Karlsson and Wickman

lise-thethinker: victoriansword: byufan1875:…





British Naval Dirk, c.1800

Napoleonic period naval officers dirk, Read, Portsmouth, the ivory handle above the named and engraved scabbard, steel blade.  

WHere not some of them screw in ones. 

I’m not aware of any British naval dirks that would screw into their scabbards (nor of any Napoleonic era dirks or daggers). Some divers’ knives of the 20th century were made in that manner. Here is an example from the US circa WWII:


Wait, why would they be screwed in? Do normal scabbards not hold them tight enough in the water?

It is probably an easy way to secure the knife, especially if the diver is wearing bulky gloves and might lack the dexterity to fuss with a strap or other method of fastening. Without something holding it in place I think it would be easily lost.

Antique Sword Cleaning — Forde Military Antiqu…

Antique Sword Cleaning — Forde Military Antiques:


How many kinds of swords/blades/metals does this work on?

The article covers how to remove rust from steel and iron, how to clean gilt and brass, how to remove varnish, how to clean organic materials like fish skin and leather, and how to protect a steel blade after problems (like rust) have been addressed. 

Matthew Forde specializes in swords and other edged weapons from c.1700 through the early 20th Century, with a particular focus on British and Indian weapons. Many of his recommendations could apply beyond those places and times, although not always. For example, one would not want to treat a Bronze Age sword in the same way one would treat a 19th century military sword. And in some cases, as Matthew points out, it is best to let a professional handle conservation.

petermorwood: victoriansword: Omani Kattara, …



Omani Kattara, 19th Century

A good 19th century Omani sword kattara from Zanzibar. Broad straight DE blade 77 cm cut with a short shallow fuller, leather grip entirely covered with woven silver tape and wire, tall silver pommel, in its leather covered scabbard with decorative string work, fitted with silver chape and twin hanging bands chiselled with flowering foliage en suite (locket missing). Note: See Elgood 1994 pl.2.16 for a similar example; and ibid. p.2 et seq. for a discussion of the history of Omani possessions on the African coast and their significance to Omani arms production.

Interesting sword, also made with a curved blade.

It’s one of several swords, like the Cossack shashka…

…Balkan yataghan…

…and Burmese dha)…

…which usually have no hand-guard at all, leaving me wondering if their fighting styles were sporting enough to avoid the obvious disarming, or at least disfingering, attack.

Somehow I doubt it…

I believe that in the case of the kattara, a buckler would have been used to provide protection to the hands.