Period documents for various sword patterns?

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Period documents for various sword patterns?

Postby MEversbergII » 03 Jun 2016 16:10

So on one of the HEMA FB groups someone posted a scan of a short book that talks about the US 1873 Trowel Bayonet. Most of it is opinions from various officers and NCOS of units that would be issued them, and a few comments even mention the tests they put the trowels through (for digging).

This reminded me of something I meant to ask a while ago: Does anyone know the wereabouts of various period documents about various military sword patterns? That is, official correspondence, engineering documents, opinion pieces from the field, etc? I know some exist, but I've never heard anyone talk about the primary sources themselves. Surely, somewhere, there's a technical document or standards document on the P1908, or 1895, or suchlike.

M.
When I was a fighting-man, the kettle-drums they beat,
The people scattered gold-dust before my horses feet;
But now I am a great king, the people hound my track
With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.

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Re: Period documents for various sword patterns?

Postby JustJulian » 03 Jun 2016 18:21

MEversbergII wrote: Does anyone know the wereabouts of various period documents about various military sword patterns? That is, official correspondence, engineering documents, opinion pieces from the field, etc? I know some exist, but I've never heard anyone talk about the primary sources themselves. Surely, somewhere, there's a technical document or standards document on the P1908, or 1895, or suchlike.

M.



I Will be staying within my own arcs of knowledge on this matter.

Personal accounts and opinion pieces from the field can often be found in publishing's in the form of war diaries. These original documents, however, are often extremely valuable and are kept in archives by museums and even military units themselves (not unlike the position I currently hold with mine).

Matt Easton has shown a couple videos of a couple books he has written the forward for called,"Swordsman of the British Empire" and, "More Swordsman of the British Empire by D.A Kinsley. They are essentially a collection of portions of war diaries that underscores the personal accounts where swords were physically used. With books like these, the research has all been done for you, and all you have to do is buy the book :)

Now, some speculation

I've often noticed that modern sword makers that produce replicas fall a bit short in terms of specs compared to true antiques. This could be because of copy write, the actual engineering schematics are closely kept by companies like Wilkinson and W.K&C, or that a lot of the schematics were simply lost.
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Re: Period documents for various sword patterns?

Postby MattS » 07 Jun 2016 11:33

The D. A. Kinsley books are great, they keep getting revised but the latest one (I think) is called ‘British Sword Fighters 1600-1918’. I personally prefer the PDF version because it’s a lot easier to search for keywords than having to read the whole book, but that depends if you just want to read it for interest or if you have specific things you need to keep dipping in and out for. You can get that (and the paperback and hardback versions) from Lulu: http://www.lulu.com/shop/d-a-kinsley/br ... 71832.html

Speaking in the context of Victorian era British accounts (since that's what I research personally): You will also find primary sources in a lot of autobiographies, letters, articles in newspapers, books about certain conflicts and even some in journals of record (like the Annual Register for instance). Google books can be very handy, because again it has a search facility to easily look for names or keywords and being Google you can use their normal (and powerful) search terms to narrow down the results.

As an example I am researching a sword which belonged to an interesting, and fairly historically significant, Royal Artillery officer. Early in his career he was involved in the Younghusband Mission to Tibet, and I have found a journalist’s book which mentions a battle he was in and his actions there, the National Library has a number of his letters, there were a number of articles and events in the London Gazette and I’ve also been able to get a first edition of his autobiography.

I know that Matt has been working on some research reading the microfiche records of old newspapers and reading the letters section, which acted a little like a forum does now and people would ‘debate’ their views on things such as sword design.

JustJulian wrote:I've often noticed that modern sword makers that produce replicas fall a bit short in terms of specs compared to true antiques. This could be because of copy write, the actual engineering schematics are closely kept by companies like Wilkinson and W.K&C, or that a lot of the schematics were simply lost.


I think that's the case on both counts.On experience of collecting and handling antique swords, whilst a lot of them may look identical and a say a Wilkinson 1845 sabre will look pretty much identical to one sold through an outfitters they will most certainly handle completely differently. From the variance you have between makers I suspect the actual spec from the military was very broad!

You should probably also have a look at 'SWORDS OF THE BRITISH ARMY. The Regulation Patterns 1788 to 1914' by Brian Robson, which covers the different styles the army used.
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Re: Period documents for various sword patterns?

Postby MEversbergII » 07 Jun 2016 14:34

I've been meaning to get Swordsmen of the British Empire since about the time Matt E. suggested it, but I keep forgetting! Unfortunately I just tossed out a good chunk of cash on stuff from Kult of Athena so it'll have to wait till my funds recouperate.

M.
When I was a fighting-man, the kettle-drums they beat,
The people scattered gold-dust before my horses feet;
But now I am a great king, the people hound my track
With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.

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Re: Period documents for various sword patterns?

Postby MattS » 07 Jun 2016 14:40

That's the other good feature of the ebook, it's dirt cheap :D
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Re: Period documents for various sword patterns?

Postby JustJulian » 07 Jun 2016 19:42

MEversbergII wrote:I've been meaning to get Swordsmen of the British Empire since about the time Matt E. suggested it, but I keep forgetting! Unfortunately I just tossed out a good chunk of cash on stuff from Kult of Athena so it'll have to wait till my funds recouperate.

M.



Money spent at Kult of Athena is money well spent :)
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Re: Period documents for various sword patterns?

Postby MEversbergII » 08 Jun 2016 06:18

JustJulian wrote:
Money spent at Kult of Athena is money well spent :)


Normally, yeah, hah! I've actually decided to add a few non-swords to the collection. The Windlass German Warhammer, a $10 "medival" knife (you know the ones with the twisty handle that comes back on itself), a cheap "utility axe", a dismounted spearhead that'll be my first attempt at mounting one, and this nasty looking "infantry flail" that has no basis in history but looks like it could be a cool wall hanger / pumpkin smasher.

Oddly, I've not many swords in my collection...and basically no good ones yet! Trying to put an eye towards hoarding funds for a few antique military sabres (there's a few I want before prices get unobtainable like they did with Gunto). Beyond that, I guess Valiant is my only "affordable AND quality" target for the moment. I've long lusted after their Kriegschwert and Bristol. Sadly KoA no longer supplies them.

MattS wrote:That's the other good feature of the ebook, it's dirt cheap :D


Yup! Unfortunately I so greatly prefer print books that I basically never buy an ebook unless the print one is unavailable. I'll get it shortly, though. Not much time lately to read anything.

M.
When I was a fighting-man, the kettle-drums they beat,
The people scattered gold-dust before my horses feet;
But now I am a great king, the people hound my track
With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.

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Re: Period documents for various sword patterns?

Postby JustJulian » 08 Jun 2016 15:01

Sounds to me like you already have the beginnings of one badass looking armoury!!
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