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Old 8th May 2021, 10:30 AM   #1
Cathey
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Default Strange Saw Backed Hanger

Hi Guys

I recently aquired this off sawback hanger. The grip is made of Ebony and it came with a well fitting nicely made scabbard. I thought it was a Pioneer sword but at this point I havn't been able to find anything like it. It is stamped 83M at the top of the blade on one side and the initials H I O 91 on the other. Any idea's

Cheers Cathey
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Old 8th May 2021, 01:23 PM   #2
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Hi Cathey,

Surprising that you also collect items so much 'younger' than those antique gems you often show us .
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Old 8th May 2021, 04:30 PM   #3
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Cathey, this is truly an anomaly, and you're spot on with the 'pioneer' attribution in my opinion. These 'saw back' weapons were key to these engineer units for utility in constructing field fortifications with trenches or defenses around artillery.

The cross hatching on the grip as well as the stepped pommel design remind me of the colonial cavalry sabers made by J Bourne & Sons under contract with Wilkinson for Indian military 1880s+. The one I have (pictured as were used by 13th Bengal Lancers), seems to have notable similarity.

Interestingly, the cross hatch ebony grip seems to have been a French affectation during about Napoleonic times for officers swords, so not sure what connection, if any, might be there.

The British saw back pioneer sword was introduced (officially) in 1856. It seems to have in some degree been intended for use by the artillery gunners for the utility purposes noted, and replacing the so called 'Spanish' style sword bayonet they were apparently using during Napoleonic period. That term is claimed to have been colloquial for its use in the Peninsular campaigns in Spain.
Burton (1884) noted that these 'saw backs' were pretty much useless as either tool or weapon, and as a bayonet was worse as the serrations would cause the weapon to be hopelessly lodged in the victim.
Still this feature seemed to prevail, and by WWI the Schmidt-Rubin saw back bayonet used by the German's was seen in that terrifying view, so much so that it was said that British soldiers capturing Germans with these 'barbarous' bayonets would shoot them on the spot. The Germans in response, began grinding down the backs of these.
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Old 9th May 2021, 06:37 AM   #4
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Default Strange Saw Back

Hi Fernando and Jim

Your correct this is not something I would usually pick up but it was part of a deal to get a rather nice Walloon and unusual colichemarde small sword. I think Jim might be on to something with the British India connection as Ebony grips were also popular there. It is nicely made but I am yet to find another one to compare it to.

Cheers Cathey
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Old 9th May 2021, 04:24 PM   #5
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Thank you Cathey.
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Old 9th May 2021, 05:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathey View Post
...It is nicely made but I am yet to find another one to compare it to.

Cheers Cathey

I have a similar one without a knuckle bow and a wooden thin pale leather covered scabbard with the end covered in a bronze chape. The oval guard and pommel cap are also bronze. It is marked with the double struck broad arrow as out of service. Blade is heavy, slightly curved an has a proper double row of nicely set saw teeth.



Tried posting it earlier, but it disappeared.
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Old 9th May 2021, 07:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall View Post
...It seems to have in some degree been intended for use by the artillery gunners for the utility purposes noted, and replacing the so called 'Spanish' style sword bayonet they were apparently using during Napoleonic period. That term is claimed to have been colloquial for its use in the Peninsular campaigns in Spain...
Jim, hopefuly the conversation over these 'tool weapons' doesn't lead us to an area beyond our forum scope, you know, 20th century WW militaria and the like.
Concerning the what you call Spanish style sword bayonet, while i find this a mistery, i can tell that Juan Luis Calvó, Barceló Rubi and Vicente Toledo only mention a model 1803 for sappers. One particularity with this model is that it had a hole in the point of the blade to allow for two hands/users to perform a better sawing.


.


.
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Old 9th May 2021, 11:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando View Post
Jim, hopefuly the conversation over these 'tool weapons' doesn't lead us to an area beyond our forum scope, you know, 20th century WW militaria and the like.
Concerning the what you call Spanish style sword bayonet, while i find this a mistery, i can tell that Juan Luis Calvó, Barceló Rubi and Vicente Toledo only mention a model 1803 for sappers. One particularity with this model is that it had a hole in the point of the blade to allow for two hands/users to perform a better sawing.

The style and circumstances of those 'Spanish' style bayonets is very vague in the references concerning these being used by artillery gunners in the British army, as you recall the dilemma with the briquets I was discussing a while back. Interesting that a feature like that hole was intended for use as a tool (saw) yet these were clearly intended as weapons.




.


.

You're right, and I was immediately apprehensive about using the word 'tool' in describing these weapons, but even the sage Richard Burton described the use of these weapons for utility in these forces charged with functions involving fortifications.

Since the Spanish pattern was in the Napoleonic period it seemed like it met the required criteria to be discussed here. The British pattern discussed is c. 1856 so still OK.

An interesting note about saw back blades might be brought in here, and that many 'hunting hangers' had this feature in the 17th and 18th century supposedly for field dressing game. Hunting hangers were of course not combat oriented, however invariably they found use by officers in many cases.
I know that the Hounslow hangers made in England in the early 17th century were, though resembling hunting hangers, actually intended for use on ships. The serrated saw backs were used for sawing through fouled rigging etc. but the hangers themselves were regarded as 'cutlasses' which were actually naval weapons used in combat.

Since these were last known in use in the Revolutionary war period, their mention is moot as far as the time period allotted but that these weapons in form were used for hunting as well as utility. It seems there are so many cases where weapons and tools transcend purpose and use.

Axes often have a poll on the back of the head , often used as a hammer, but of course deadly as a blunt force weapon as well.

I just looked back at my earlier post and realized I mentioned a bayonet from WWI in the context of my comments in analogy, sorry.

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Old 10th May 2021, 06:04 AM   #9
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Default Saw Backed Hanger - pictures and futher details

Saw Back Short Sword (Hanger, Machete ?)
Nationality: British India maybe?
Date: Circa 1880 ?
Maker/Retailer: n/a
Overall Length: In Scabbard 28 3/16” 71.5 cm, Sword Only 27 ½” 69.9 cm
Blade length: 22 ½” 57.2 cm (Saw back 16” 40.5 cm)
Blade widest point: 1 ½” 3.8 cm
Hilt widest point: 5” 12.7 cm
Inside grip length: 4” 10.1 cm
Weight: In Scabbard 0.971 grams Sword Only 0.905 grams
Marks, etc.: It is stamped 83M at the top of the blade on one side and the initials H I O 91 on the other.

Description:
Hanger with steel D Shaped Guard and stepped pommel. The grip is ebony with fine cross hatched decoration. The blade is broad, heavy and saw backed, stamped 83M at the top of the blade on one side and the initials H I O 91 on the other. The Black Leather scabbard has steel mounts.

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Old 10th May 2021, 11:32 AM   #10
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Hi,
The blade profile and the design of the chape and throat on the scabbard are too similar to the P1856 pioneer sword to be coincidence I would think.
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 10th May 2021, 12:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick View Post
Hi,
The blade profile and the design of the chape and throat on the scabbard are too similar to the P1856 pioneer sword to be coincidence I would think.
Regards,
Norman.
Fully agreed, Norman !
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Old 10th May 2021, 02:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall View Post
... It seems there are so many cases where weapons and tools transcend purpose and use...
In the case of the model 1803 the Spaniards had it as a 'machete zapadores' (sappers machete); Calvó even calls it a 'machete sierra' (saw machete). Definitely a weapon with a tool utility.


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Old 10th May 2021, 04:30 PM   #13
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Ahah! So the 1803 is called a sappers machete, or as Calvo puts it, saw machete. Thing brings up machetes, which even into modern times (I will not give examples as that will be 20th century and outside 'scope') which have easily fallen into weapon category. The espada ancha of New Spain frontiers is in many ways related to machetes , and often used as one.
Viva Danny Trejo!
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Old 10th May 2021, 05:15 PM   #14
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Default Semantics ? ....

Jim, a machete is a big wide knife (cuchillo grande con la hoja ancha), whether an ancient or a modern, even a future version. Basically a tool for cutting branches and our way through the bush. It is a weapon because it cuts, as a kitchen kinfe also cuts; not wanting to be vulgar.
Curiously the Portuguese call it 'catana' (from the Jap katana); i ignore the connection. But that's how they sell it at the ironmonger.
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Old 10th May 2021, 05:51 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando View Post
Jim, a machete is a big wide knife (cuchillo grande con la hoja ancha), whether an ancient or a modern, even a future version. Basically a tool for cutting branches and our way through the bush. It is a weapon because it cuts, as a kitchen kinfe also cuts; not wanting to be vulgar.
Curiously the Portuguese call it 'catana' (from the Jap katana); i ignore the connection. But that's how they sell it at the ironmonger.

Fernando thank you for the elucidation I am now well versed in understanding what a machete is and how it is used, and that it indeed does cut much as a kitchen knife. But then is a kitchen knife a weapon? Another twist in determining the rules of discussion
Just kidding, but you see what I mean

'Ironmonger' !! cool term, great name for a heavy metal band!
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Old 10th May 2021, 05:53 PM   #16
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...just to illustrate, here is a recent 'ethnic' machete of mine from a European manufacturer in Ghana which is obviously intended as a weapon, made by the British Machete Co.


'Kitchen' knives are the most commonly carried and used weapon in the UK. actual antique and ethnic fighting knives are rarely if ever used as kitchen knives are much more readily and cheaply available and work just as well.
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Old 10th May 2021, 06:41 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall View Post
... But then is a kitchen knife a weapon? Another twist in determining the rules of discussion
Just kidding, but you see what I mean ...
.
Yes Jim, in legal terms, and not only, a kitchen knife is an utility but, if you are found carrying it in the streets, it is a weapon.
Same goes for the machete; just subtract kitchen and add jungle!
How's that for an approach ? .
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Old 10th May 2021, 06:58 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by kronckew View Post
...just to illustrate, here is a recent 'ethnic' machete of mine from a European manufacturer in Ghana which is obviously intended as a weapon, made by the British Machete Co. ...
Wayne, what is 'obvious' is that, if the item you are posting is as 'recent' as you assume, you will risk having its image wacked .
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Old 10th May 2021, 11:20 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by fernando View Post
.
Yes Jim, in legal terms, and not only, a kitchen knife is an utility but, if you are found carrying it in the streets, it is a weapon.
Same goes for the machete; just subtract kitchen and add jungle!
How's that for an approach ? .


Most forensic Fernando, so the context determines which category an item is classified.
In analogy, I recall years ago a guy calling me to identify what resulted being a very valuable Caucasian shashka..........when I told him what it was...he gasped, yelled at his young son using it to whack weeds........and screamed at him to get that back in here!!!

Back in the 50s and 60s I could not even say how many cases of bayonets being used as garden tools....we used to buy them at surplus stores for a quarter.
I guess the qualifying denominator is , what was the item's original intended purpose, or in fact, its primary purpose. Obviously a kitchen knife does not qualify as a weapon, though, like many items,, it might become a 'weapon of opportunity'.
In police situations today, just as in colonial times in many spheres, a machete is considered a weapon.
I would imagine the best measure in all this is simply common sense.

Interesting perspectives though.
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Old 11th May 2021, 07:38 AM   #20
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Wayne, what is 'obvious' is that, if the item you are posting is as 'recent' as you assume, you will risk having its image wacked .

Recent date of acquisition by me, Not of MFG. I've found mention of it in a late 19c newspaper advert, sans brass guard tho. BMC Ltd. appears to be out of business. It's African and ethnic in any case
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Old 11th May 2021, 08:14 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando View Post
.
Yes Jim, in legal terms, and not only, a kitchen knife is an utility but, if you are found carrying it in the streets, it is a weapon.
Same goes for the machete; just subtract kitchen and add jungle!
How's that for an approach ? .

In the UK there are no defensive weapons, only offensive ones. A tool used for it's intended purpose in the home or at work (or for recreational use, like hunting, fishing, camping) is legal, tho if bladed you must drive directly, do not stop for petrol or coffee to the intended activity, or else a policeman may arrest you and let a judge decide. Walking about town (or even on your own patch of 'jungle') with a machete would get you a visit by the Po-Po if you scare one of the sheeple. Knives, swords, axes, pole arms are OK on your own property or residence, but taking them off it without an acceptable (to the police) reason might be an offence. If during a home invasion, or burglary, you can pick up a handy item to defend yourself if attacked, using it to injure a criminal attempting to flee can get you arrested & again, the Judge or Prosecutor will have to decide if you had sufficient grounds to use a weapon. meanwhile you may be a guest of Her Majesty and rack up an amazing legal bill for court costs and lawyers. If you injure a fleeing felon off your property and injure him/her trying to restrain him/her you will be arrested for assault, offensive weapons possession and use. The felon can sue you for punitive damages and loss of earnings.
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Old 11th May 2021, 12:35 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall View Post
...Most forensic Fernando, so the context determines which category an item is classified...
In way, yes; no cop is going to knock at your door, claiming that you have a few 'weapons' in the kitchen ... not in my neck of the woods, nor anywhere else, i presume.

Quote:
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... I guess the qualifying denominator is , what was the item's original intended purpose, or in fact, its primary purpose. Obviously a kitchen knife does not qualify as a weapon, though, like many items,, it might become a 'weapon of opportunity'...
The way i view it, the consideration of whether a (any) implement, is of this or that intended purpose, is more a case for a judge in court. Prior to that, weapons classification falls within a pre-determined written law. And of course such law depends on the country we are talking about. Over by me, and for perusal, while a firearm produced before 1890 is considered obsolete and not subject to legal manifest, a white arm is never considered obsolete, its possession being ilegal; unless submitted to legalization ... but that is another business.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall View Post
... In police situations today, just as in colonial times in many spheres, a machete is considered a weapon.
I would imagine the best measure in all this is simply common sense...
Of course; you wouldn't use a machete to cut potatoes for your stew .


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall View Post
... perspectives though.
I like to see you well versed, Jim my friend .
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Old 11th May 2021, 12:40 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew View Post
... It's African and ethnic in any case ...
African & ethnic is in the Ethno forum next door, Wayne; this is the Euro forum .
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Old 11th May 2021, 02:35 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by fernando View Post
...
Of course; you wouldn't use a machete to cut potatoes for your stew .
...

You could with my machetes.
You also could with the Nepali 'machete' - the Khukuri.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DHGlhFJH0g
That is, as far as I know, A British made issue Gurkha regimental knife from the 19c.


Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando View Post
African & ethnic is in the Ethno forum next door, Wayne; this is the Euro forum .

I know, which is why I didn't discuss it here, just illustrating a weaponised one for those here who never visit the other place on the other side of the building.


A comment on my example in post no. 6, it's a rehilted 1830 British 'Pioneer' sword blade. "This is a rare to find 1830 Pattern British Pioneers Sawback Short Sword (blade). These weapons do not appear to have had any official designation and are the forerunner of the 1856 pattern Pioneer’s side arm".

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Old 11th May 2021, 04:36 PM   #25
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Wayne, you have PM.
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Old 11th May 2021, 06:56 PM   #26
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In hopes of finding our original topic, and looking more at the connection between the sawback of this interesting example hanger and other sawback weapons (Spanish and Prussian), we return to the British India potential.

The British M1856 pioneer sidearm as previously described was in use from that time and beyond the turn of the century, and may have parallels to this design.
It is known that Wilkinson was producing these as late as 1895, and I carefully note that these were in use later as seen in issue dates in early years of next century.

In 1870, a sword bayonet with bulbous blade and serrated saw back was proposed by Lord Elcho, a Scottish conservative noble and politician.
There was a number of these for experimental use produced by Kirshbaum, and a degree of issue, with the designation M1871 applied.
However, it was declared by the military that the new bayonets were too expensive, and they did not believe in the idea of a bayonet used as a tool and that the use for combat should be to the existing forms .

Here I would note that the existing pioneer sidearm, the likely comparison to this example, was issued to the 'pioneer' troops who were attached to infantry companies , were charged with utility duties and not necessarily combatants, though obviously could be if required.

The 'pioneer' sidearms with saw back as noted, were being made by Wilkinson, and Mole, who worked as sub contractor for them. The J. Bourne Co. was also a sub contractor for Wilkinson, and in particular swords going to India, as the one I posted earlier, show the similar feature of the stepped pommel.

It is noted in various references, the response to the saw tooth back, were as far as use in the sawing etc. very effective, so the pioneer sword clearly remained in use for so long. However, as far as the bayonet, which Burton vaguely referred to (1884), it seems deemed as useless with the saw back feature, as he derisively noted much in line with the military views earlier.
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Old 11th May 2021, 07:47 PM   #27
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The British M1856 pioneer sidearm as previously described was in use from that time and beyond the turn of the century, and may have parallels to this design. It is known that Wilkinson was producing these as late as 1895, and I carefully note that these were in use later as seen in issue dates in early years of next century.

Hi Jim,
I have a P1856 dated by Wilkinson to 1 '00 i.e. Jan 1900 the time of manufacture. It is further marked as issued to a Regiment in May 1900 and reissued to another Regiment in Nov 1902, both times to the Infantry.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 11th May 2021, 07:52 PM   #28
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Hi Jim,
Photo of said Wilkinson stamp.
My Regards,
Norman.
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