Object Title

Sword - Land Transport Corps sword

Sword - Land Transport Corps sword

Date

1831-1870

Object Number

IX.414

Provenance

Probably Tower arsenal (no information in typed inventory).

Physical Description

General Type Description: Brass cruciform hilt of 'Roman' form with flattened, oval-sectioned pommel, swollen ribbed grip, and quillons with disc terminals decorated with incised concentric circles. Heavy, straight, single-edged blade of wedge section, with a short ricasso, tapering slightly and terminating in a double-edged spear point


Variations, losses, damage, etc: end of tang very untidy; some edge nicks to blade; extreme blade tip blunted.

Techniques

Forged, Cast

Materials

Dimensions

BladeLength568 mm
OverallLength710 mm
OverallWeight910 g

Inscriptions and Marks

maker's mark
crested helmet (the mark of Kirschbaum of Solingen).
On blade, on outside, on ricasso
stamped
Inspection mark
crown over '22' (damaged stamp, sometimes read as 32 - see Notes)
On blade, on inside, on ricasso
stamped

Bibliographic References

C. ffoulkes, Inventory and Survey of the Armouries of the Tower of London, 2 vols, London, 1916, vol. II, p. 299.

A.R. Dufty and A. Borg, European Swords and Daggers in the Tower of London, London, 1974, p. 30, Pl. 78c.

[B. Robson, Swords of the British Army..., 1st edn, London, 1975, p. 160, Pl. 170 - wrongly captioned as IX.414 but is in fact IX.1292 - see Notes]

B. Robson, Swords of the British Army..., revised [2nd] edn, London, 1996, pp. 240-1, Pl. 215 NOTE: Robson's plate is of IX.414 but the markings described are on IX.1292.

P J Lankester, ''Land Transort Corps swords' in the Royal Armouries: and interim summary', Royal Armouries Yearbook, 6, 2001, pp. 55-71, at pp. 56 (fig. 1), 58.

Notes

This is the master entry ‘notes’ for Land Transport Swords, with general information on the Pattern. The following was written before publication of Lankester 2001 where some further details and illustrations will be found (see Publications). The evidence presnted there somewhat strengthened the Land Transport Corps identification but some questins remain unanswered. Subsequently, Peter White drew the author's attention to swords of the same pattern which were ordered from the firm of P D Luneschloss of Solingen in 1849 by the Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein in their rebellion against Denmark, stocks of which were taken over by the Danish army when the rebellion failled and designated the infantry model 1854. White suggested that the British LTC swords might be the result of further orders being anticipated in Solingen, not sold and subsequentlysold to Britain. See P White, ' 'Land Transport Corps' swords', 'Royal Armouries Yearbook', 7, 2002, p. 147.
later order For this pattern generally (designated for internal use as Royal Armouries misc. type LTC), see Robson 1996, pp. 240-1, Pl. 215 (1st edn, 1975, p. 160, Pl. 170). The scabbard was of black leather with solid brass locket and chape with frog stud (see, for example, IX.8142. The sword's design design is based on the French Infantry sword, pattern 1831 ('cabbage-cutter'). It is tentatively identified by Robson (following C. ffoulkes and E.C. Hopkinson, 'Sword, Lance and Bayonet', 2nd edn., London 1967, p.81 and Pl.III, No.34), as for the Land Transport Corps, c.1856, but this requires further investigation. (The Land Transport Corps only existed under that name for a period of a little under two years in 1855-56). Robson (1996) says 'I have found no documentary evidence for the carriage of this sword by the Land Transport Corps, nor have I seen any so marked. The attribution must therefore be treated with some caution'.
Robson (1996) refers to the markings V/CPA which he says are on the hilt of the present sword whereas the markings he gives are in fact on the hilt IX.1292 (similar markings occur on IX.1226 and IX.8110). IX.1292 was illustrated by Robson in his first edition (1975) with the same caption describing the (this time correct) markings, but the plate was captioned as IX.414 in error. Robson interprets the markings V/CPA as for the Cinque Ports Volunteer Artillery, 'a unit dispanded in 1814 and re-raised in 1859' (caption to plate 215); this and further information is given in the entry for IX.1226.
Robson (1996) says this pattern of sword was made with two types of blade: one with parallel sides (as in the present example and most if not all the other examples in the Royal Armouries) and one with a broad leaf-shaped blade. No examples of the latter form have so far been noted in the Royal Armouries by PJL at the time of writing (July 2001). Robson (1996) cites no examples of the leaf-shped blade but states in a letter to PJL of 14/09/01 that he has seen two examples.
There are quite a number of these swords in the Royal Armouries (over 200 have been identified at July 2001) and there were formerly apparently many more, including some that were mounted in the railings round the light-wells in top floor of the White Tower (shown in several photos of the White Tower in the RA photo library) which were filled in in 1916). The most likely provenances for this group of swords are either that they formed part of the Tower arsenal material which became the responsibility of the Tower Armouries or that they were among the obsolote material at military bases which became the responsility of the Tower Armouries in 1926 (Report (by Charles ffoulkes) on the state of the Armouries, Tower of London, during the year 1926 (typescript), p. 1) some of which was returned from that year onwards. ffoulkes and Hopkinson 1938 refer to there being large numbers of these swords in the Tower. If all or substantial quantities of them had only arrived there within the previous 12 years this might have been mentioned. On balance the Tower arsenal provenance seems the more likely for this group, though it should be born in mind that the Board of Ordnance ceased to exist in 1855 (PJL, July 2001).
Other examples: Instead of trying to list here the numbers of all the other examples of this pattern in the Royal Armouries, an attempt has been made to ensure that computer entries for all the examples so far noted have 'Land Transport Corps' in their Short Description field (a few entries may not have yet had this added). These entries can be found by searching on 'Land And Transport And (Class=IX)'.
It is likely that all the blades for swords of this pattern were made in Germany and the complete swords may have been assembled abroad. The helmet mark, which occurs on the vast majority of examples (sometimes only a very small part of the mark is visible), was used by the successive firms which incorporated the name Kirschbaum, and were based at Solingen-Ohligs, Solingen, and Solingen Wald, between 1858 and 1930 (see J. Walter, 'The sword and bayonet makers of Imperial Germany', London, 1973, nos 087-089, 177). Without a further mark giving the precise company name it is not possible to further limit the date with certainty. If the swords of the present pattern have been correctly dated by ffoulkes to between 1855 and 1857, the blades will have been made by C.R. (Carl Reinhard) Kirschbaum who traded between 1848-1858 and, according to Walter, used the stamp: C.R. KIRSCHBAUM/SOLINGEN. However, in 1858 the firm became Kirschbaum & Bremsey and, according to Walter, they used the helmet mark alone until about until about 1872 when the mark W.R. KIRSCHBAUM was adopted, although the firm did not formally adopt that name until 1872. This would suggest that blades on swords of the present pattern bearing the helmet mark date from 1858 or later by which time the Land Transport Corps had ceased to exist under that name.
The following inspection marks have been so far (July 2004) noticed on this pattern: crown over 4 (one only: IX.5599); crown over 10; crown over 16 (large); crown over 16 (small); crown over 19; crown over 22 (large); crown over 22 (small); broad arrow over WD (usually accompanied by crown over 10). The different sizes of mark have only been entered in those catalogued by PJL in or after about July 2001.
The difference in size between the small and large versions of the crown over 16 mark are obvious; but the difference between the two versions of the crown over 22 mark is much less so, being a slight difference in the size of the numbers. Only one example has so far been found of the version with the slightly larger 22 (X.1703) at the time of writing (September 2001). The smaller version (as on the present example) has usually, if not always, been struck with a damaged stamp, and part of the diagonal stroke of the first digit has been lost. As a result the first digit can resemble an upside down 3 and the mark has, consequently, sometimes been read as 32. Close study reveals that the angle of the bottom horizontal of the first 2 is not always at the same angle, presumably due to the weakness of this section as a result of the damage to the adjacent diagonal stroke. These marks have been described as crown over 22 with a cross reference to this note, though some of those not seen by me personally may turn out to be the larger, undamaged version (PJL).
The typed inventory noted that the same mark is found on 'the bayonets X.136 etc.' [etc. not defined]. The bayonet has two marks on the blade: the Kirschbaum helmet and the crowned 22 which is struck with the same damaged punch as was used on some of the Land Transport Corps swords (see above) (for further details see Lankester 2001: pp. 65-6, figs 8G and 9). PJL.