Category: 18th century

18th Century Cooking — Lamb in a Blanket

from Townsends

18th Century Cooking – Camp Oven Cornbread

from Townsends

Why the Ottoman Pala is the Ultimate Slashing Sword

Today we’re going to be looking at a variant of the venerable ottoman kilij. this is a turkish pala, from around 1780. The pala was a specific subclass of kilij, and is an infantry weapon designed for performing draw cuts. 

This video is an updated version of my 2017 video, with a few corrections and expansions as well as better video and image quality. 

This example features a blade made out of turkish ribbon twist steel, a style of multi bar pattern welding renowned for its technical difficulty and attractive starburst patterning. It features a scarf welded iron tang.

The crossguard is made of a copper alloy, and features langets extending down towards the hilt, and into the blade. These help secure it in its scabbard. The grip is made of horn. 

The history of the turkish sabre, or kilij, extends back into the 15th century, when the distinctive yalmani style of kilij formed. The term Yelman refers to the flared tip and false edge seen on these swords. Earlier examples would have a sharpened false edge, but this one does not. 

One very unique feature to this infantry pala is the T shaped spine. This spine shape provides stiffness and allows for an extremely fine edge geometry. It does, however, prevent you from cutting “normally” with a large majority of the blade, as the spine causes resistance in a chop. This forces you to perform draw cuts with this blade, or to cut with the distal portion, known as the foible.

The blade also features a unique curvature, being straight in the forte, before having a slight recurve and a strong secondary curve, before transitioning into the foible. 

The foible of this blade is very thin, being 1.5mm at it’s thickest, and relatively broad. This makes it rather flexible, and also makes it less efficient at thrusting.

This example weighs 673 grams, and is 79cm overall with a 66cm long blade. It balances around 17cm from the guard, and feels very light and maneuverable.

This is owing to the light weight, and the curved blade which makes edge alignment feel more natural. 

This is a very formidable and functional sword. The acute edge is well suited to slicing through textiles, and the light weight and maneuverability make it fast to swing and recover with. Despite being such a functional weapon, the blade is still truly beautiful, featuring a bold and tight pattern.

Out 10 September in the USA. Based on the quality of his past work, this is a must-read book for me. 

Marketing blurb:

From the bestselling author of Return of a King, the story of how the East India Company took over large swaths of Asia, and the devastating results of the corporation running a country.

In August 1765, the East India Company defeated the young Mughal emperor and set up, in his place, a government run by English traders who collected taxes through means of a private army.

The creation of this new government marked the moment that the East India Company ceased to be a conventional company and became something much more unusual: an international corporation transformed into an aggressive colonial power. Over the course of the next 47 years, the company’s reach grew until almost all of India south of Delhi was effectively ruled from a boardroom in the city of London.

The Anarchy tells one of history’s most remarkable stories: how the Mughal Empire-which dominated world trade and manufacturing and possessed almost unlimited resources-fell apart and was replaced by a multinational corporation based thousands of miles overseas, and answerable to shareholders, most of whom had never even seen India and no idea about the country whose wealth was providing their dividends. Using previously untapped sources, Dalrymple tells the story of the East India Company as it has never been told before and provides a portrait of the devastating results from the abuse of corporate power.

Officer’s Sword with Flamberge Blade, Late 18th Century

Flamberge blade of typical wavy flame form having partial fuller, engraved with 1433 and animal, perhaps a seal and the initials SS, perhaps the blade maker, this on a 18th century style two bar iron hilt with carved ivory grip, blade length 80 cm sword length 94 cm


Indian Jade and Silver Hilt Khanjar, 17th or 18th Century

With slightly curved double-edged blade of finely watered wootz steel with a double-filler over each side forming a narrow medial ridge to the reinforced point, hilt comprising silver quillon-block with pointed langets and downcurved quillons each with stylised makara-head terminal, and faceted grip of light greyish green jade rising up to a beaked rounded pommel, in its wooden scabbard covered in fishskin (minor damage) with silver locket and chape embossed and chased with a repeated design of foliage. 17.2 cm blade.


Indian Tulwar with Complex Hilt, 18th or 19th Century

The single-edged watered steel blade of curved form, impressed mark near forte, the steel hilt with button quillons, open triangular outer-guard pierced with two gold-damascened ducks at the base and rising to a stylised duck’s head finial, curved tapering knuckle-guard with duck head finial, compressed spherical pommel with bud-shaped finial on a petalled mount, decorated in gold overlay with floral sprays and bands containing flower heads, undulating vines and chevron designs. 95 cm long.


Indian Tulwar, 18th-19th Century

An 18th or 19th century Indian tulwar sword with silver koftgari decoration to the hilt. Curved blade of good quality construction, 29 inches (74cm) long, with ‘eyelash’ engraving.


Pahari Sword, Deccan, 18th Century

Here we have an interesting and rare variant of the indo-afghan Pahari sword. Also known as a Cobra sword. Cleaned 76cm tapering blade with a slightly swollen tip. Sharp edges and flexible. This example has an 18th century khanda hilt. Most examples are classified as 19th century and have an Afghan pulwar hilt with extensive koftgari decoration on both blade and hilt. The undecorated examples I came across are larger and often have a tulwar or khanda hilt.

Who did the laundry in the 18th century?

from Townsends