Category: victorian

victoriansword: 21 Foot Rule – Drawing th…


21 Foot Rule – Drawing the Sword for Self Defence – Sabre 

Drawing the weapon in a self defence scenario is far from a new problem. Here we consider what it would have been like to apply the principals studied today for law enforcement defence, but placed in a historical context and when carrying a sword.

This is not a scientific or conclusive piece of research, just a brief look into the subject. Many more videos will follow looking at different scenarios. weapons, holsters and belts etc.

NOTE – the fencer who was drawing the sabre did not always draw the cut through completely as he would for real. This was largely out of necessity for safety with an untipped blade. The object of the exercise was to find the distances at which one could defend oneself and not test cutting skill.

British Pattern 1827 Rifle Officer’s Sword for…

British Pattern 1827 Rifle Officer’s Sword for an Officer of the 4th Bombay Rifles

A very rare and desirable East India Company 4th Bombay Rifles officer’s sword, pre-dating the Persian campaign of 1860. The sword was made/retailed by Hart, who seem to have specialied in swords for Indian service. The blade features fantastic etching with battle honours for the 4th Bombay Rifles, including “Seringartam”, “Beni Boo Ali”, “Bourbon”, “Punjab” and “Mooltan”. In 1861 the regiment added “Persia” to their battle honours, so this sword must pre-date that – it also features the East India Company lion, so it presumably dates to before 1858. The sword has been service-sharpened and must have seen a fascinating bit of history. While it may not be possible to attribute it to one particular officer, there are literally only a handful of possible candidates in the India Army List who are likely to have carried this sword. The sword came with a period train ticket attached to it (pictured), which may possibly offer the hope of narrowing down the original owner. I only know of two other 4th Bengal Rifles swords and they are both in the private collections of people I know. The sword itself is in reasonably good condition, but shows clear signs of hard campaigning – most notably the wear to the grip, where there is some loss to the shagreen and grip wire. This likely dates to the period of the sword’s service and corresponds to the areas of the grip which get most worn when gripping it. The guard and scabbard are fairly dark from patina, but the blade is really very good, with the etching all clear and crisp and the service sharpening having been well executed. The sword sheaths perfectly in the scabbard and the blade is tight in the hilt.

British Lead Cutter No. 3 by Wilkinson Lead-c…

British Lead Cutter No. 3 by Wilkinson

Lead-cutting sword No.3 in its original scabbard. There were 4 sizes, No.1 the lightest and No.4 the heaviest. This number 3 and is a very large sword with a 33" long, 2" wide single edged, flat back blade. It has a blackened metal cutlass style hilt and a black jappaned iron grip. It has its original black leather scabbard with brass frog stud. Its rear seam has opened but could be re-stitched and it has no chape. The lead cutting sword was used by Cavalrymen to stregthen the wrist and forearm and the stronger he was the larger the sword he used. Nicely etched on the top of the blade, “LEAD CUTTER NO.3,” and “WILKINSON, PALL MALL, LONDON”.

Lancaster’s Patent Muzzle Loading Rifle

Lancaster’s Patent Muzzle Loading Rifle

British Pattern 1871 Elcho Bayonet 1871 patt…

British Pattern 1871 Elcho Bayonet

1871 pattern Elcho sawback bayonet by Kirschbaum Solingen for the Martini-Henry rifle – with diced grips, fullered sword back blade with swollen leaf-shaped point in original steel mounted leather scabbard with associated leather frog with strap and buckle to front and WD broad arrow marked to rear and other faint markings, the bayonet is unmarked apart from maker’s Knights helm mark. The Elcho bayonet was designed in 1870 by Lord Elcho The 10th Earl of Wemyss & March with a heavy blade for brush-cutting purposes. A small number were issued for trial purposes but was not wildly adopted due to its high cost of manufacture – it is one of the most sought-after of all British bayonets.

British Pattern 1882 Cavalry Trooper’s Sword

British Pattern 1882 Cavalry Trooper’s Sword

It’s a good example, being in good condition and with a bunch of markings, showing that it was issued to an outfit using the abreviation ‘SFF’ (I am not sure what this stands for – something Field or Frontier Force maybe?), the sword being first made in Birmingham by Mole in February 1884. It then seems to have been sent to the Royal Small Arms Factory in Enfield for repairs, before being re-issued. The blade has some very minor pitting (very shallow – pictured), which seems to have been cleaned in period judging by the patina (maybe this was the repair Enfield carried out?). The guard and scabbard are in great condition and the grips are very good indeed. Everything is solid and the sword sheaths well in the scabbard. I personally think that this is a better handling sword than the 1885 pattern which replaced it and the grip is a better shape (which improves edge-alignment issues in the cut).

British Pattern 1821 Light Cavalry Officer’s S…

British Pattern 1821 Light Cavalry Officer’s Sword

An attractive, named and dated light cavalry sword. The name ‘F. W. Hayward’ (dated 1856) has turned up no positive results for me. This is a nice big sword with broad 35 inch blade, which seems to have been a private purchase, perhaps by a Yeomanry member or an NCO in the regular Army. The leather (rather than shark skin) grip and general appearance of the sword is similar to a trooper’s issued weapon, but the lack of ears to the backstrap and the blade etching allude to an officer’s version of the 1821 pattern. There are many possible explanations for this and the lack of an VR cypher on the blade may mean that this is non-military and for personal defence or perhaps police, but my guess is that it’s a private purchase by someone in a local yeomanry regiment. In any case it is a nice sword and feels great in the hand. The condition is really good – the blade is bright and the fine etching clear. The leather of the grip is particularly good for the age and the whole hilt assembly is rock solid.

British Pattern 1832 2nd Life Guards Officer’s…

British Pattern 1832 2nd Life Guards Officer’s Sword

2nd Life Guards dress sword c.1832 with 40 ins fullered single edged blade and etched decoration, the ricasso etched Prosser, Charing Cross 1832, heavily embossed brass guard and swept bar hilt, wired, shagreen grips, embossed brass pommel.

British Pattern 1845 Infantry Officer’s Sword …

British Pattern 1845 Infantry Officer’s Sword

by Wilkinson, serial number for 1862, originally sold to G.W. Pochin, May 1862

George William Pochin was commissioned ensign in the 3rd (East Kent) Regiment of Foot (or The Buffs) 10 June 1862.

British Pattern 1895 Infantry Officer’s Sword …

British Pattern 1895 Infantry Officer’s Sword

An 1895 pattern infantry officer’s sword, by Manton. There is a large chance that this blade was made by Wilkinson and supplied to Manton, according to current theories about this proof slug. This is a good quality sword and has been well service sharpened. It has patina to all steel parts and the blade etching is quite faded, but it most of the etching is still visible. Some of the grip wire is missing, but the shagreen is in generally decent condition. The hilt and blade are tight. The attractive 1895 guard is in nice shape and the scabbard is present – though there is a little split in the steel near the bottom drag. A good quality sword that probably saw action – it was made in 1895/96 and probably sold to an officer service in India/NW Frontier.