French M1845 Infantry Sabre d'Officier Général. Final Result Apr 27, 2014 14:28:48 GMT
Post by Uhlan on Apr 27, 2014 14:28:48 GMT
I bought this sword from a private seller. His picture was not very good, so I thought to buy a standard M 1845 Infantry Officier Superieure. The M 1845 comes in two flavours: the sabre for Adjudants with a quill point blade, like here:
And the triple fullered and straight sword for Officers:
Both had the same hilts:
I had fancied the Officers sword for years, but somehow it never really happened. Untill I saw this one:
Nice and not too beat up, Seconde Empire to booth.
How I know this is Seconde Empire?
The original versions had leather scabbards with brass hangers and chapes.
In 1855 it was ordained that the leather scabbards for Officers were out and the two ringed steel scabbard came in. This being France, the leather scabbards for the Adjudants remained in use untill about 1882, when a new model M 1882 Infantry sword was introduced with steel scabbard and the now standard 1 carrying ring, but still some Adjudants would not give in and it is said that right through WWII some still carried the good old M1845 with its leather scabbard.
Here is the M 1882:
Looking at this, I cannot blame them.
Some smartasses even, as a sort of compromise, had their M 1845 hilts planted on top of the M 1882 blade!
Back to my M 1845.
So I bought it and when I got it in my hands, what a pleasant surprise it was. First reaction: WTF?
Second reaction: digg into ,, Les Sabres, by Jean Lhoste, a copy of which Dave Kelly was so kind to supply me with. And there I found it: ,, Sabre d'Officier Général".
To the unsuspecting eye, also thanks to the crappy image I got from the seller, It looks like the M 1845 Officers sword.
The same straight, three fullered blade and the hilt, at first glance, looked also like it. So, what was the difference?
The standard M 1845 hilt:
The Sabre d'Officier Général:
The latter has a double decker hilt ( my ,,speak'') and as a consequense is wider, more half basket, a bowl:
I had never seen this version before, so I was very pleased.
Here is the USA version. The hilt is exactly the same, except for the US cypher of course:
I decided to clean the sword and scabbard and bring it back to its former glory. There was some staining here and there, nothing substancial and I wanted to replate the hilt.
So I did away with the peen.....
Another surprise. On top of the bone grip sits the Phrygian cap were the grip fits into. It has this thick ring or flange. You can see it at the before last picture. On top is the peen.
So, I filed a little and gave the hilt a little wack, to get the peen lose. What happened was that the top of the Phrygian cap came off, the piece above the thick flange. I could now look into the Phrygian cap and I saw the tang was screwed to the inside of the cap with a brass nut, onto a plateau. This was something new! Never seen, nor heard of this construction before in the context of antique sabres and swords, most certainly not French ones.
The tang has a fine thread of about 12mm and it starts well over 10mm under the peen. The nut is made of brass, is flat and square and is about 2-2,5mm thick. I hope to have the gilding done next week and then be able to have somebody make pictures. I do not have a camera yet.
Now for some details of the sword:
Maker of the blade: Manufacture Imperiale de St. Etienne.
Strange, since St. Etienne did and still does, bajonets and fire arms. Not swords.
The poincons: B in shield and B in circle.
Looking at the stats for St. Etienne, I get two possible time frames:
B: Commandant Briand= 1856 - 1862.
Or: Colonel Boigeol = 1866 - 1873.
Caveat: Here I make the asumption that everything leaving St. Etienne was marked with the same poincons as the fire arms.
The tang is marked R A. It is (fire) blued and the tip (peen) is quite soft.
The scabbard carries the same poincons.
The hilt was done by Diquel Paris.
The blade is the Officers standard 86 cm long and is at the shoulders 7mm thick.
The weight is 400 grams.
The hilt components weigh 465 grams.
So the sword weighs the grand total of 865 grams.
The scabbard weighs 447 grams.
This is a highly fencible and light sword, stiff, although with some flex to the blade. Just right, I think, for a light, fast cutter and a mean stabber.
When I got the sword, I noticed that the blade was only in a factory polish. Grind marks all over. Chatellerault or Klingenthal did much better, or Mr. Diquel left it just as is. The blade was almost cutting sharp though.
I polished the blade. Now it is much better, as it should have been. No more grind marks and with sharp lines and 99% of the spotting is gone. The hilt I polished and I took some little dents out that annoyed me. A few others I left, for old times sake. The scabbard had some very small dents, hard to spot, but was quite dark. I took the wirebrush to it, followed by the fine bronze brush and Mothers as a final step. It is now shiny and the small amount of pitting is mostly gone. When I am done the sword will be at 90% of its former glory, while still retaining its antique aura.