Help with markings and research on Anglo-Indian Wilkinson sword!
I recently landed this at an auction and very keen to understand what the "I Arrow M" with what looks like a faint S underneath it - is it Indian Medical Services...?!
Also, how do I go about doing the research on Wilkinson, keen to know who bought it, constabulary etc.
Lastly, would be very grateful for any beginners tips on cleaning the blade as well as the scabbard! Both seem in good condition but might do with some light cleaning I guess...
This is of course the British colonial sword known as the "Paget Pattern' and these were supplied to the British Raj from about 1880s into 1900s.
The ISD represents India Stores Dept. .
These were supplied typically to various native cavalry regiments as requested, but these regiments chose the types of swords they preferred. Many were of the British M1853 cavalry swords, the M1821 and I have even seen tulwars of native form by MOLE, a supplier for Wilkinson.
I have one of these colonial sabers with this branched hilt by MOLE to the 21st cavalry.
The blades were of the M1786 light cavalry form despite the 1821 style hilt,
and these blades were favored by Indian forces. It is surprising that the M1796 type cavalry saber was still produced for India in the 1880s+
The 1821 Paget style swords were produced until 1918.
The arrow is a government acceptance mark but seems odd to be on a scabbard. Not sure what IMS would mean but could be medical I suppose.
Many industries for example railway companies etc had thier own security forces and used various types of swords.
LIGHT cleaning is key..............WD40 on metal, no need to take off any patina, just stabilize any active rust. The scabbard just use standard leather conditioner to moisten prevent cracking.
As Jim rightfully said, there is no need to do more than removing old oil/grease (if there is any), and stabilizing active rust.
For leather conservation, I actually recommend neatsfoot oil, as a lot of commercially available leather conditioners contains mineral oil that may be detrimental to the conservation of leather on the long term.
For the shagreen, I can't really help as I have absolutely no knowledge or experience related to its care, and I can only recommend that you be very careful and read extensively on the subject before attempting anything, as I do know it is very delicate.
Another: Shame the UK forced the Indians to use the 1908 in WW1 which was a terrible sword intended for raw recruits to use like a short lance, while the Indians knew how to use a proper sabre.
Thanks guys and esp Jim and Yvain for your valuable tips - that's massive help and I'll be very careful when I go about it! Thanks.
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