A French HC Superior Officer sword M1855. Aug 1, 2020 17:04:47 GMT
Post by Uhlan on Aug 1, 2020 17:04:47 GMT
Coat of Arms of Napoleon III.
A French HC Superior Officer sword M1855.
With its horn semi pistol grip and elaborate detail on the branches and grip plateau this variation on the M1854 HC theme is a beauty.
Of course it misses out on what was left of the heft the AN XIII / M1816 when it was reincarnated as the 1854, but still, with its triple fullers and stiff 92 cm long blade it is a double edged sword to be reckoned with.
I bet many a 16th - 17th century gent would have sold the wife's mother (for sure!) to have the chance to own one of these excellent Manufacture de Châtellerault blades.
The blade was produced under Maitre Jules Creuzé. (1851 - 1866.)
As the knuckle bow is not stamped with the Director stamp and the inspection stamp under the beak of the guard is also absent, the hilt was probably made by a private entrepeneur.
One thing I do not particularly care for is the start of the fullers. Sometime after 1855 often these were made pointy.
I much prefer the previous fuller start on the older blades. Why this was done I do not know, but probably it made for easier and so more cost effective production. Shame, but like the man says: Take it or leave it.
I had been swimming around this bait for about a year, but every time I wanted to bite there was another sabre that popped up. About 2 weeks ago the French seller :: www.militaria-medailles.fr/ :: decided he had had enough and with the Kung Flu driving down business probably another incentive, he discounted generously and threw in free shipping to boot. CHOMP!
It must be said here that the service I received from Mr. Lehuard was more than excellent. The package was literally bomb proof and he even added some nice surprises. Though I am not into plugging, in this case the least I can do in return for all his effort is to mention his site here. And no, I am not getting paid or something.
I just am very pleasantly impressed with how well Mr. Luhuard took care of my business. And with his merchandise.
It is a companion piece of the Superior Officer of the Infantry M1855 sword I already had. (see notes)
Both swords were made according to a very high standard of manufacture, as one would expect for a product made for the higher brass and it shows. None of the hanky panky some Solingen entrepeneurs could lay on their unsuspecting Officer clients is to be found.
In the image above you can see that the scabbard went through some changes. Originally it was just iron sheet with two First Empire style ring mounts. Then, probably sometime after 1871, when plating nickel could be done on an industrial scale, the owner thought it a good idea to plate the scabbard.
Later again, after the introduction of the all new one ring saddle rig, the second, lower, mount was removed.
Faint traces of where it once sat are clearly visible on top of the nickel plate on one side of the scabbard.
What all this tinkering means is that the Officer owner of the sword had a long career as Superior Officer.
Luckily the scabbard liners are still in good condition and what is also a nice touch, the mouth piece is screwed to the scabbard and not pinned. This makes replacement of the liners and internal cleaning of the scabbard, if necessary, possible.
Just a general clean up was enough.
This is one of those, sadly too infrequent, cases where family and/or previous owners for once had cared enough to NOT let Grandpas sword rot away in the garden shed.
There was some residue of polishing compound in the detailing of the hilt which is in general easy to remove with some clean water or alcohol and a soft tooth brush, as long as one takes care the horn of the grip is not wetted.
The blade and the scabbard were in almost pristine condition and with a light polish both regained some of their former splendour.
Easy as pie. As the red nor the grey mat will work for 100% in the narrow fullers, as they are too stiff to reach deep and scrub the bottom and believe me, I tried, I went with a mix of oil, Mothers and 000 steel wool and this combination worked perfectly. If there's slurry on the bottom of the fuller remaining while you are rubbing with the steel wool, you know you will have to make adjustments. This way you are in control of the procedure all the way. I finished with 0000.
A good coating with Ren Wax protects sword and scabbard for several years to come.
Blade type: triple fuller, oval sectioned.
LOA :: 109.5 cm.
LS :: 107.5 cm.
BL :: 92.0 cm.
BW :: 30.0 mm.
BT :: 8.5 mm.
WOA :: 1492.0 gram.
WS :: 984.0 gram.
POB :: 9.5 cm.
Poinçons :: B (probably Bish), A (?) and a stamp right next to the blade etch which could be the stamp of Creuzé.
Since there are no stamps on the hilt I assume the sword was a private order.
Blade etch: Manufacture Imperiale de Châtellerault, J. Creuzé Entrepeneur.
This type of address means it adheres to the regulations of 1855. Only after January 1856 the model name and date of fabrication must be mentioned. So the blade of the sword in review here was made in 1855. ( See l'Hoste: Les Armes Blanches, page 246.)
Iconography: Much laurel and oak leaves on branches, knuckle bow and the fat flange of the pommel cap.
On the short back strap are the Napoleon III wings, flanking a small escutcheon, done in the typical neo Baroque style of the period, where traces of a coat of arms are still visible.
The large grip plateau is decorated with the abridged version of the French Lily and this element in larger format sits on the top of the beak too. The peen is covered with a cap. Here the decoration is either filed off or just ground down over the years due to prolonged hand contact. I think the latter.
The top of the pommel cap forms an ideal support for the left hand. This in turn could be seen as evidence the Officer was quite active. Not your typical desk jockey. I kinda like that idea.
I am very pleased with this new addition to my small collection.
This stiff and easy to sharpen blade would make an awesome transitional rapier or side sword cum Epee Forte too.
The M1854 back sword blade is probably a bit too heavy for such a build.
A problem, as it is with all nice things, is that it is rather rare as, compared to standard troopers and Officer swords, not very many were made and so it does not appear much on the market. The 1889 IOD has a similar blade but that one is so extravagantly floppy (at least mine are) you would be better off with a wet towel.
So, if you are into DIY and you see a blade like this M1855 for a reasonable price, I think you should jump.
Needless to say that if you would ever encounter one of these swords, as is, in the market place, you should seriously consider buying it. Though not of the calibre of the super duper presentation swords and sabres, after all this was meant to be a working piece, these M1855 series swords are very good value as they are the reflexion of the highest standard of production of the period. And what's more: They handle like a dream.
Cheers and thanks for watching.
This Napoleon III period stunning beauty doesn't have anything to do with swords.
I just could not resist her.
Now I want to marry her and make 10.000 gorillion kids.
Darn hippie painters.
See: l'Hoste ,,Les Sabres'' page 445, image 924.
Manufacture de Châtellerault :: users.skynet.be/euro-swords/chatellerault.htm
Link to the M1855 Infantry :: sbg-sword-forum.forums.net/thread/39871/french-m1845-infantry-dofficier-result