An unusual sword in the Royal Armouries

Publisher

Not set Type Serial component part

Place of publication

Not given

Date of publication

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Volumes

Arms and Armour, Journal of the Royal Armouries Vol. 1 No. 1 (2004)

Note

The Royal Armouries' collection contains an unusual sword (IX.455) of British manufacture. The blade is marked 'Coales', probably Robert Coales of Birmingham who was trading as a sword cutler by 1767 and died in 1804. In the latter part of his life he was mainly or solely engaged in a bank which he founded and from which he retired in 1800. Certain features of the Royal Armouries sword suggest a date in the period 1760-1780. A second blade by Coales, on a sword in the National Army Museum, is also discussed. The intended function of the Royal Armouries sword is uncertain: it seems too short for mounted use and too heavy for infantry use. Links with cutlasses and machetes are explored. An appendix demonstrates the use of X-radiography for examining marks on blade tangs