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Old 20th April 2017, 06:48 AM   #31
Jim McDougall
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Actually it is interesting to revisit this very old research, and try to find old notes.
I think here it is important to note a caveat to researchers. One thing I think many of us at this for a very long time (usually more years than we care to admit), it is not always the case that because something is written in a book, it is always correct. Most authors note this fact in the introductions, and readily accept that new evidence may render some of their comments and findings to be incorrect.

I have always had the highest respect for those with the courage and tenacity to publish, and have maintained the highest regard for the works of many now venerable authors of key references we all often use and cite as resources. Over the years however, we have often found cases of mistakes and other long held ideas now disproven.
In one case, while researching a topic and checking a reference in an article by a well known author, I asked about a particular observation which I needed to verify to support a theory. Apparently the statement was made by him as an assumption from an unsubstantiated source, which he openly admitted, and for which I admired his honesty. Though discouraged, it reinforced the importance of rechecking and cross checking material and sources.

Now turning to Wagner's reference ("Cut and Thrust Weapons", 1967, p.339) I found the quote in notes (I do not have the book at the moment).....
"...the tooth, cut in the back edge, helped the 'old hewers' to aggravate the wound when thrusting, especially when cutting with the back edge of the broadsword, where there was no room to put much strength into the cut".

This entry seems presumed, the suggestion to the tooth (notch) in aggravating the thrust wound as I have noted seems dangerous in that the blade would become snagged in that wound. However, the note about cutting with the back edge of the blade suggests a back stroke as might be used in the close quarters of melee, which may be what Wagner means by 'no room for strength to the cut'.
This seems to make some degree of sense, as these kinds of wounds, not necessarily debilitating may have been in the sense of the 'stramazone', a slashing across the face to cause distracting bleeding, used in dueling with rapiers.

I found that the references to the 'old hewers; referred to the "War of the Spanish Succession" (1701-14), where the Austrian army still was using many of the older swords from the Thirty Years War as well as forms from continuous war with Turkey. There seem to have a wide scope of forms, but clearly reaching the end of their working lives. These forces in 1701 were indeed led by Eugene of Savoy (d.1736).

In Wagner, there are actually five exemplars illustrated with the notch feature:
Plate 2, p.372, a cavalry broadsword of beginning of 18th c. Prince Eugene inscription.
Plate 3, an Austrian cuirassier broadsword early 18th c.
Plate 7, an Austrian heavy cavalry broadsword in use until c.1740
Plate 35, a Pandour officers sabre c.1747, Hungarian
Plate 39, an Austrian hussar sergeants sabre 1768

All of these are notched at back of blade near tip.

I recall having thought at one time that these notched had to do with the notorious Pandour units, however it seems only that one officers sabre had the notch. There are no other examples throughout the book which have any such notch, only these Austrian examples, which seem anomalies.

I have never (since research began c. 1994) found sound reference to other notched blades other than unsubstantiated comments from other collectors and dealers who had seen them on French examples in cases. I have seen a British sabre of c.1780 with this exact notch but have not the details to support . It would seem the other instances mentioned regarding the Prussian cases are similarly surmised.

In original research in the 90s, I wanted to confirm that the examples in Wagner actually had the notch and this was not artists license, so I contacted the museums he cited for the originals. While they sent me photos of the original swords, when asked, the officials typically claimed they 'had no idea what the notches were for'. This seemed surprising as these were primarily Czech museums, where Wagner had been a curator.
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Old 20th April 2017, 08:49 AM   #32
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These notches are at no way limited to Austian swords. There are Prussian cuirassier swords M 1732 with such a notch as well as Saxon cavalry swords M 1764. The foto shows the the tip of the Prussian sword.
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Old 20th April 2017, 04:38 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26
These notches are at no way limited to Austian swords. There are Prussian cuirassier swords M 1732 with such a notch as well as Saxon cavalry swords M 1764. The foto shows the the tip of the Prussian sword.
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Many thanks for posting this picture Corrado26! Any chance of seeing the whole sword including the tip?
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Old 20th April 2017, 06:48 PM   #34
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I hope the detail from Wagner might respond to your earlier question Victrix.
I agree, it would be great to see the photo of the sword with the tip.
That was why I wrote the those museums and got photos of the swords emphasizing the notched tip.

The British sword I mentioned has only in the description that the tip was notched, and apparently deliberately, not from damage. However this reference was in my notes and the source not cited (I cant believe I did that!) so useless for supportive evidence. I just know I saw it, and the sword was entirely out of East European context c. 1780.

There must be some account or reference in the military history corpus of these Austrian and Prussian cavalry in which this curious anomaly is noted. Occasionally such dimension and detail is noted in mention of the troopers field notching their blades perhaps.
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Old 20th April 2017, 11:04 PM   #35
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Yes, thank you very much Jim for raising the issue of notches on blades to my attention. If I come across information regarding this I will share it with you. We might not necessarily be able to solve the conundrum, but at least we'll be able to view the evidence and draw our own conclusions.
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Old 21st April 2017, 07:14 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrix
Many thanks for posting this picture Corrado26! Any chance of seeing the whole sword including the tip?

I'll try to get such fotos -be patient please
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Old 21st April 2017, 07:54 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrix
Yes, thank you very much Jim for raising the issue of notches on blades to my attention. If I come across information regarding this I will share it with you. We might not necessarily be able to solve the conundrum, but at least we'll be able to view the evidence and draw our own conclusions.

We have come a long way here Victrix! (remember this one has been 'on my books' for over 20 years! but honestly I have not lost sleep over it)
Even if we do not solve this, it is good to have the data at hand compiled for review, and we can at least find reasonable plausibility for the matter.
I very much appreciate discussing this with you and Corrado!
Lets stay at it !
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Old 21st April 2017, 10:03 PM   #38
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Found Anton Dolleczek's book Monographie der k.u.k. österr.-ung. blanken und Handfeuer-Waffen (1970) today by chance and looked at the swords from early 18thC. None of them have notches. Maybe these notches were not as common as Wagner's book seems to suggest (unintentionally), and added as a feature by some individual troopers at the time?
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Old 22nd April 2017, 12:05 AM   #39
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Great find!!! This is an extremely hard to find reference (at least it was), but I have seen these plates before. Indeed this is a typology of these arms, but the notches not shown. Remember that it is my impression these were a field addition, not a regulation feature.
The examples depicted in Wagner were certainly anomalies, remember only five of all shown have these, and these were all weapons which had been in service collected in the museums noted. I thought perhaps these might have been artistic license, so I wrote to the museums cited by Wagner as I mentioned earlier. In each case, photographs of the actual weapons depicted in the drawings indeed had the notch! However, none of the officials had given this any notice, and had no idea what these were for.

Nice job in finding this reference!!! I always wanted one of those Austrian disc hilt M1769 since working on a history of the British M1796.
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Old 22nd April 2017, 08:24 AM   #40
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Here come two fotos of a Prussian husar sabre with a very faint notch at the back of its blade - maybe it is nothing else than a light damage....
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Old 22nd April 2017, 03:37 PM   #41
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Here are the fotos of a Prussian dragoon sword 1732 with a notch at the tip of its blade. Remarkable is the Prussian eagle mark on the blade what proofss that this blade is no Austrian lute but made and accepted in Prussia.
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Old 22nd April 2017, 05:44 PM   #42
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Beautifully done Corrado!!! You have done exactly what I was trying to do with letters to East European museums back in 1996, but the results then were pretty dismal. ....here you have shown that the Prussians indeed DID apply the notch.
Those double notches are like others seen, and are definitely NOT damage, they are deliberately placed.
Thank you so much!!!
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Old 22nd April 2017, 06:50 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26
Here are the fotos of a Prussian dragoon sword 1732 with a notch at the tip of its blade. Remarkable is the Prussian eagle mark on the blade what proofss that this blade is no Austrian lute but made and accepted in Prussia.
corrado26
Yes well done Corrado26, you have just proved that the notches on blades are not limited to Austro-Hungarian swords but was a practice elsewhere too. Quod Erat Demonstrandum. Now we can quote you on that. Interestingly, the notched blade practice seems to have occurred mostly at the beginning of the 18thC.
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Old 22nd April 2017, 07:34 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Great find!!! This is an extremely hard to find reference (at least it was), but I have seen these plates before. Indeed this is a typology of these arms, but the notches not shown. Remember that it is my impression these were a field addition, not a regulation feature.
The examples depicted in Wagner were certainly anomalies, remember only five of all shown have these, and these were all weapons which had been in service collected in the museums noted. I thought perhaps these might have been artistic license, so I wrote to the museums cited by Wagner as I mentioned earlier. In each case, photographs of the actual weapons depicted in the drawings indeed had the notch! However, none of the officials had given this any notice, and had no idea what these were for.

Nice job in finding this reference!!! I always wanted one of those Austrian disc hilt M1769 since working on a history of the British M1796.
Yes Jim, Dolleczek's book in German was mostly text with some plates with illustrations at the back (also including Austro-Hungarian firearms and equipment). I'm surprised that there is not more literature dedicated to Austro-Hungarian sabres pre-1815, as these are very interesting and varied swords in themselves. I have struggled to find a copy of Hussar Weapons of the 15-17thC (2010) by Tibor S Kovacs which I understand is no longer available even in Budapest. The Austrian M1769 sabre is nice, but I personally wouldn't mind having an Austrian panzerstecher in my collection.
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Old 23rd April 2017, 06:58 PM   #45
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Hi guys,
Was it already mentioned here that this kind of blade notch also appears in French swords, as in a Hussard model 1756 (per Jean Bink), for one... and also in a 1796 British Cavalry sword (per Jeff Demetrick) ... and in a Hussard P1808 (as in Wilkinson - Latham) as well ?.
Looks like this was an 'international' fashion, with ones copying others, regardless of the sword style, whether with one or two notches, with no precise dimensions, surely an intervention of individual iniative. Would it be hard to admit that, as most (all?) current sword enthusiasts keep wondering what these notches were for, also some period owners had these cuts done without knowing their purpose, other than one showing the tough owner's look fashion ... like in other cases that history tells us, you know, notches in revolvers butts ... and not only ?


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Old 23rd April 2017, 07:55 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Hi guys,
Was it already mentioned here that this kind of blade notch also appears in French swords, as in a Hussard model 1756 (per Jean Bink), for one... and also in a 1796 British Cavalry sword (per Jeff Demetrick) ... and in a Hussard P1808 (as in Wilkinson - Latham) as well ?.
Looks like this was an 'international' fashion, with ones copying others, regardless of the sword style, whether with one or two notches, with no precise dimensions, surely an intervention of individual iniative. Would it be hard to admit that, as most (all?) current sword enthusiasts keep wondering what these notches were for, also some period owners had these cuts done without knowing their purpose, other than one showing the tough owner's look fashion ... like in other cases that history tells us, you know, notches in revolvers butts ... and not only ?
Thank you, Fernando. That seems to expand the time period for these sword notches to include all of the 18thC! I saw some hunting knives with notches used for gutting game. I hope the troopers didn't use the notches on their blades to gut their opponents! It appears unlikely, as the grip would have been different and I can only see those notches on modern hunting knives...

But perhaps you are right in that it could have been some kind of show of bravado.
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Old 23rd April 2017, 09:11 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrix
Yes Jim, Dolleczek's book in German was mostly text with some plates with illustrations at the back (also including Austro-Hungarian firearms and equipment). I'm surprised that there is not more literature dedicated to Austro-Hungarian sabres pre-1815, as these are very interesting and varied swords in themselves. I have struggled to find a copy of Hussar Weapons of the 15-17thC (2010) by Tibor S Kovacs which I understand is no longer available even in Budapest. The Austrian M1769 sabre is nice, but I personally wouldn't mind having an Austrian panzerstecher in my collection.
Austrian M1769 sword, and not sabre, I mean obviously!
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Old 16th October 2021, 07:01 PM   #48
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Hey guys, sorry to resurrect a long-dead thread, but I have recently acquired a Hungarian "Madonna saber" which from what I can find was made somewhere between 1760-1811. It is a beautiful example as pictured.

There is scarce information on these swords. There are a few similarities as mention above in Wagner which I identified on page 407. I also own "Ungarischer Sabel und Husaren-Pallasch" which solidifies it as a Hungarian saber. Goes on to say that these were almost all foreign-made, mine being a Pottenstein example. I wanted to know what other resources are available for further research on these swords and specifically on Pottenstein as a maker. I've not been able to find anything on Pottenstein specifically and very limited information on Madonna sabers as a whole.

The sword handles beautifully, far more impressive in construction than my 1796. Le Marchant obviously derived his sabers from these.

Its stats are as follows:
Sword in scabbard weight: 3 lb 10.5 oz/1660g
Sword weight: 1 lb 12 oz/ 794g
37 3/4'" long
33" blade
8" POB from the hilt

I only own a 1796LC officers which is obviously a well-constructed light blade, but it seems to be somewhere between that sword and my 1811 Blucher which is a beast.

Thanks for the look!
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Old 16th October 2021, 10:21 PM   #49
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This is Pottenstein in lower Austria. See: https://www.biographien.ac.at/oebl/o..._1762_1837.xml
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Old 16th October 2021, 10:59 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Victrix View Post
This is Pottenstein in lower Austria. See: https://www.biographien.ac.at/oebl/o..._1762_1837.xml
This Pottenstein manufacturer is regarding 19th century, this blade style was only in production until 1811 with many of the others much earlier.
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Old 17th October 2021, 12:17 AM   #51
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I am curious about the reference to Wagner.
My copy "Cut & Thrust Weapons" (Prague, 1967) shows virtually this exact saber among Austrian swords as Hungarian mid 18th c. and with Pottenstein as place of manufacture.
Here I would note that Pottenstein seems to be a judicial district, and electoral region in Bavaria. It is often confusing as swords often, if not typically have the arms of Hungary, but clearly this was Austro-Hungary, the Holy Roman Empire.
While it seems possible there were blade makers at Pottenstein, it seems more likely this was where the saber was 'outfitted'.

It is interesting that this example is silver metal, the book example is brass.

The use of the Madonna falls into place with many of the religious and neo-classic themes popular in Hungary and East European regions.
What is most curious in the Madonna depiction is that the figure is standing on the face of the 'man in the moon' which is a common depiction in the cosmology of many European blades. The image of this moon also shows the line along the back of the head which represents a rostrum, as depicted in the moons used in Spain for espaderos del rey.

In references on Hungarian arms I have read it is noted that there was a predeliction for symbolic representation on arms in this period. In Poland there was a use of representations of important rulers, and those particular swords were termed in accord with the figure on the blade. For example 'zygmuntowka' (King Sigismund); 'batorowka' (King Stephen Bathory).
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Old 17th October 2021, 12:54 AM   #52
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There is scarce information on Pottenstein, I notice a wide difference in the signatures I've found. It does seem to be a district in Austria that exported a variety of swords to Vienna.

I can post the single page of information from the book I posted, it is not all that different than what is in Wagner.
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Old 17th October 2021, 10:55 AM   #53
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In the 18thC Austria manufactured sword blades mainly in Pottenstein and Weiz. Melchior Steiner started production of sword blades in Pottenstein (lower Austria) in 1765. He successfully competed with foreign imports on price and quality. On his death in 1786, his nephew Melchior Ritter von Steiner took over the arms factory which did well and became the market leader in Austria. The factory was converted into a metal and machinery goods manufacturer in 1828.

I read somewhere that gild/brass decorations on uniforms and arms in Austria-Hungary was reserved for the Crown. Silver plated hussar sabres were used by private palace and castle guards (including ceremonial duties). The Austro-Hungarian empire contained some large estates.

Below text is from Das industrielle Erbe Niederösterreichs: Geschichte, Technik, Architektur (2006) by Gerhard A Stadler.
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Old 17th October 2021, 01:43 PM   #54
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Great info Victrix! Clearly have done your research since your first post. My only question would be the Pottenstein blades marked prior to 1760, such as the one on the first page.

Do you know where you read about the reservation of the gilding for palace guard/royalty?

Cheers
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Old 17th October 2021, 02:03 PM   #55
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Great info Victrix! Clearly have done your research since your first post. My only question would be the Pottenstein blades marked prior to 1760, such as the one on the first page.

Do you know where you read about the reservation of the gilding for palace guard/royalty?

Cheers
There would be no Pottenstein blades marked as such prior to 1765 as the previous factory was based in Sollenau (see text).

The gilding would be reserved for Army officers, not private estate guards. Not sure where I got that from, so unconfirmed. Hussar regiments were recognized from uniform colours and it’s possible some used gilding and others used silver (so also unconfirmed).
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Old 17th October 2021, 02:25 PM   #56
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Check the first page there’s one pictured there marked 1749.

Have you seen any other with silver hardware? It’s not plated, my guess from its polishing characteristics is that it is low grade silver. I haven’t been able to find another example that is not brass.

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Old 17th October 2021, 03:09 PM   #57
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Melchior Steiner started production of sword blades in Pottenstein (lower Austria) in 1765.
A production start at Pottenstein in 1765 is IMHO impossible because Melchior Steiner was baptised not before novembre 21. 1762. But as there are sabres with the Pottenstein signature of the year 1749, the information given with 1765 must be wrong.
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Old 17th October 2021, 04:38 PM   #58
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Maybe it’s the Bavarian Pottenstein

Note that there is a senior and a junior Melchior Steiner (see the text). The factory was started by the uncle and continued with the nephew (knighted) according to the sources. It’s possible that there was some blade production in Pottenstein at a smaller level before the factory, but I’m not aware of this. The location seems to have been very good. It’s rare to find dated blades so it might be an artesenal example. Also not sure how exact the dating is as it was a long time ago now.
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Old 17th October 2021, 04:56 PM   #59
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A production start at Pottenstein in 1765 is IMHO impossible because Melchior Steiner was baptised not before novembre 21. 1762. But as there are sabres with the Pottenstein signature of the year 1749, the information given with 1765 must be wrong.
Possible as his source says that it began with his uncle or father. What’s the earliest sample anyone has seen of a Pottenstein blade?

Are you able to tell me any more about my sample? Or where you’ve found information? The two books I listed are the only I’ve found thus far.

The Pottenstein blades seem far rarer than either the Fringian or Solingen examples. Treasures
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Old 17th October 2021, 06:54 PM   #60
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This is outstanding information Victrix! and thank you for sharing the reference data. I had found that Pottenstein was mostly an administrative term for the town and castle which was in Bavaria, or an electorate (the geo political complexity of these areas and in the Holy Roman Empire is maddening!)
Regardless, it does make sense that there was some sort of arsenal and manufacturing activity there.
I believe it was not until 1811 that the region fell into Bavarian designation.

It is interesting that these Austrian swords typically had Hungarian arms on the blades, presumably because of the suzerainty of the Holy Roman rule (Austro-Hungary).

In studying the swords of these regions, it is often noted in references on Polish swords and East European, as per Ostrowski (1979) that Hungary, if there was any blade production at all, was minimal, and records there show orders for blades from Styria and Italy mostly.

In Wagner, (p.350) the detail on a saber listed as that of a Pandour officer , by swordsmith Mairschoffer I , Passau, anno 1747.
The illustration shows the blade as 'Hungarian' and having a 'notch' near the point.
The illustration here from Konipsky & Moudry (1991) is the same.

My example of this type saber has the Hungarian arms but is not marked as to maker, and does have the same notch.
I personally do not think these notches have a utilitarian purpose, but perhaps something more symbolic. In the time researching these notches, there have been no satisfactory explanations to this curious feature on many Austrian swords.

Wagner states it was to worsen wounds, however, despite sounding viable, the truth of the matter is from what I found, this may cause the weapon to become lodged, thus disarming the user. Also, how would this apply to such a notch on the blade back of a saber? a cutting weapon.

Is such 'symbolic' notching feasible? With the Landsknechts, I had read (passim) that they wore clothing that was deliberately torn and tattered to represent 'battled' garments of their predecessors in combat. Notches were placed in firearms as a kind of tally at times (though no evidence supports western gunfighters doing this in reality) .


I did find evidence of a few cases of this 'notching' with French hussars of the period through contacts in France, but this information does not have confirmation.
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