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Circa 1891-1893 French Made Chilean Cavalry Sword

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W.S's loves54 of 92WWII Edged Weapons CollectionPrussian Model 1852 Cavalry Sword
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    Posted 5 years ago

    Chrisnp
    (310 items)

    I usually don’t collect South American military. The seller identified this as French because of the script engraving on the spine “Manufacture d’armes de Châtellerault JH”. Since Châtellerault is a French state-owned arsenal, the identification was reasonable. When the sword arrived, I noticed the star in shield mark of Chile at the base of the blade. I would later learn that “JH” was Jacob Holtze, who I believe was the exporter. Oh well, I didn’t pay much and it’s an impressive sword! I decided to keep it anyway.

    The age I’ve given for the sword is was based on a web search of the small marks on the other side of the blade from the Chilean mark: C in a diamond for M.P. Chouard, the First Inspector beginning in 1891; B in a circle is for Mr. Brenier, Premier Inspector until 1893; and C in a circle for Mr. Camps, Director of Manufacture during this time. It appears that these three were involved with at least most of the production run.

    Identical swords can be found online except with black composition grips in the same shape as mine. I believe the professionally done wood grip on mine was a replacement at some point in its service. The 33 ¼ inch blade has just the slightest of curve to it, in an era where curved cavalry swords were falling out of favor in preference to straight ones.

    At the time of the sword’s manufacture, Chile had just fought a civil war to depose a president attempting to assume dictatorial powers. After that the parliament (dominated by wealthy land owners) were in charge. The 1920s were a period of civil unrest with military coups and soldiers firing on striking minors. It’s easy to imagine this sword playing a role in whichever leader was asserting his authority at the moment.

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    Comments

    1. fortapache fortapache, 5 years ago
      That is a very good looking and practical sword. You are right it is an impressive sword.
      My Italian sword could use a hand grip.
    2. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 5 years ago
      How many Western World military swords have you encountered that were sharpened to a true cutting edge? The average person thinks swords were made for slicing as well as thrusting, and in all the ones I've had over the yrs., never saw 1 with a factory slicing edge.
    3. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 5 years ago
      Axe sharp, a few. A lot of the real killing instruments have an edge that's now like a dull axe, but would have been axe sharp. Of course the dress swords are purposely dull. European style swords are generally not kitchen knife sharp, Their cutting edge being a wedge of about 40 degrees. By comparison a kitchen knife edge is about 10 degrees. It's still possible to make a slicing cut with a European sword, especially if you have momentum, but the swords intended for battle were also hacking weapons capable of splitting a skull or severing bone.

      On the other hand, Asian blades are frequently slicing blades. Sir Richard Burton wrote (please forgive the 19th century language): "The 'Tulwar' or half curved sabre of Hindustan, cuts as though it were four times as broad and only one fourth the thickness of the straight blade. But the 'drawing cut' has the additional advantage of deepening the wound and cutting into the bone. Hence men of inferior strength and stature used their blades in a manner that not a little astonished and disgusted our soldiers in the Sind and Sikh campaigns."

      I will be showing a couple tulwars after I get through with my European blades.
    4. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 5 years ago
      For some reason, I have never had the slightest interest in Middle or Far Eastern swords. Guess it was enough of variety & information on Amer. & European ( or lack of information back when) to overwhelm me.
    5. fortapache fortapache, 5 years ago
      Blunderbuss I am not big on the weapons of the middle east/far east either. Partly I think because so many are tourist pieces. The drive by posters like to post them upside down and ask what they are worth.Perhaps because the quality is not quite the same. I would far prefer a 1850 bowie over a kukri from the same time.
      But again I would be happy to see some authentic Tulwars.
    6. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 5 years ago
      Now that you mention it, the tourist junk is a real turnoff even if easy to spot to anybody with any knowledge of antique weapons.
      A Tul-wa?
    7. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 5 years ago
      I hate to sound like a liberal college professor, but I think the attraction to European/Western swords is at least partly because of the Euro-centric education most of us get. We know that history so when a tangible piece of that history is in our hands, we connect with it better. I confess, my interest in Tulwars (Swords blunder! Swords!) has to do with British colonialism in India, and my interest in Kukris has more to do with the unique relationship of the Gurkhas with the British Army.

      An exception to the foreign culture rule seems to be the Katana - I think because the Samurai have been romanticized in western literature and film.
    8. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 5 years ago
      Thanks for the love officialfuel, Militarist, blunder, vetraio50, fortapache and aghcollect

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