Object Title

Sword and scabbard

Sword and scabbard

Date

1870-1910

Object Number

IX.1486

Provenance

Found un-numbered in store in 1976. Presumed to have come to the Armouries as part of the study collection formed by Charles ffoulkes and opened at the Tower in 1938. Originally registered at the Imperial War Museum in 1925, reg. no. 14101, where it was described in an added note as 'Havildar or Indian Army Sgt Infantry'; apparently received by the IWM from the Wilkinson Sword Company with other swords.

Physical Description

Brass stirrup-shaped guard - the end, which expands to cover the end of grip (in place of a pommel), has a raised vesica-shaped reinforce around the tang-end, near which is a sword-knot slot; D-shaped langets; and a rear quillon with a discoid terninal. Black-painted, ribbed iron grip (paint somewhat worn). The buff-piece survives.
Curved single-edged blade with a hatchet point; and a broad fuller by the back, extending from the 18 mm (11/16 in) long ricasso to approx. 200 mm (8 in) of the tip.
Scabbard of black leather with brass mounts. The locket is reversed and the stitching runs up what would normally be the outside, to enable the sword to be worn in the Indian fashion, with the cutting edge to the rear. It will be decribed as if worn in the normal Eruopean manner, with the cutting edge to the front. The locket has an apron on the 'inside', on which is mounted an oval frog-stud. The locket is decorated with transverse incised (or impressed) lines, two pairs on the 'inner' face, approx. 7 mm (2.75 in) from the mouth, and a single line on the 'outer' face, near the base. The locket is secured to the body of the scabbard by two brass rivets through the lower portion of the apron and two similar towards the bottom of the front and back edges. The chape is of tapering form, having a flat bottom and the upper edge of inner and outer face slopes downwards from front to rear and has decorative cusps. Both faces are decorated by transverse incised (or impressed) lines, two pairs near the mouth and a single one near the base. On the leather, less than half way along from the chape, is what is probably the remains of a rectangular (possibly painted) label, apparently originally passing right round the scabbard, now showing as red (paint?) on the inside (frog-stud side) and a smaller fragment of white (paint?) on the outside (seam side).

Dimensions

Dimensions: Sword: Overall length: 855 mm (33.75 in), blade length: 735 mm (28 5/16 in), blade width, by hilt: 40 mm (1 9/16 in.), Scabbard: Length: 768 mm (30 1/4 in) Weight: Sword: 860 g, Scabbard: 495 g

Inscriptions and Marks

Sword:5On blade, on inside, on ricasso (under langet): stamped, broad arrow over I.5On blade, on outside, on ricasso (under langet): stamped, RBG in monogram, the B larger (possibly for Gebr³der Bell of Solingen - see 'Notes').5On blade, on outside, just bewond ricasso: in red paint, 14101 (an Imperial War Museum registration number).5On blade, on spine, near hilt: stamped, ROBT MOLE & SONS / BIRMINGHAM.Scabbard:5On locket: (on mouth rim) stamped, 'R P. 1O . 00' (Rawalpindi, October 1900 - see Notes).5On chape: on bottom, an illegible mark, possibly 8.

Associations

Bibliographic References

P.J. Lankester and G. Rimer, 'A 19th-century chest of arms', Royal Armouries Yearbook, III, 1998, pp. 77-108, at pp. 94-96 (identification, makers and date), 99, 101 (brief catalogue entry).

Notes

Apparently the same 'pattern' as IX.1485 (q.v. for other similar swords and dating etc.), except that the frog stud on latter is on 'normal' side of scabbard. The blade is apparently same as on British Mountain Artillery sword, pattern 1896.
IX.4054 is a scabbard which is apparently identical to the scabbard of the present sword. It has very slight remains of a label on the leather, similar to that on the present scabbard (described above).
The RBG mark may be that of the firm of Gebr³der Bell of Solingen (Lankester and Rimer 1999, 96 and refs there cited). For a list of other swords in the Royal Armouries bearing this mark, see IX.1297, under 'Notes'. The name of Robert Mole and Son was probably used over too long a period to further assist with then dating (see Lankester and Rimer 1999: 95).
The mark R.P. 10.00 on the scabbard probably indicates that the sword was issued at Rawalpindi in October 1900 (see letter of 28 May 1999 from David Harding, on inv. file, re similar marks on IX.7596 and others; observation by Keith Miller 15/03/01). The date of the object in this entry was accordingly changed from 'late 19th century' to late 19th century or about 1900' (PJL).