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18th c. Euro Belt Dagger

 
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LRB
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Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 260

Real Name: WICK ELLERBE

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 2:56 pm    Post subject: 18th c. Euro Belt Dagger Reply with quote

Inspired, but not directly copied, by #18.K in Neumanns "SWORDS and BLADES of the AMERICAN REVOLUTION". 1750-1790. 8"x 1 1/4" blade of 01 steel, with a through tang peened over an iron washer, hand filed elk leg bone grip with a bone file cut butt cap. Iron guard, sterling silver ferrule with a hand engraved flower on four sides. All very lightly aged. Hope you enjoy a look.






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colmoultrie
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Joined: 16 Oct 2010
Posts: 29

Real Name: Kevin Conn

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is a beautiful knife! As always, the artistry is first-rate.

Does that particular knife from Neumann have any independent provenance? I have no particular expertise, but I have heard that some of Neumann's dates are speculative. If someone were to use this knife in the Jacksonian era, I'd applaud it for the masterpiece of craftsmanship that it is, but for the 18th century, I wonder.

Could you please take the time to enlighten a novice? This may just be a case where a little knowledge on my part (very little), is enough to be dangerous and cause me to question the date where I should not.

Thanks!
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LRB
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Joined: 15 May 2007
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Real Name: WICK ELLERBE

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't really know what to tell you, except the grip is very much the same as many sword grips of the 18th c., other than the bone cap. The guard is in line with the period. The blade is more or less timeless. What is it that says a later time frame to you? I am truly interested. Bear in mind, this was a Euro acredited piece.
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John Curry
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Joined: 27 Jun 2012
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Real Name: John Curry

PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Friend colmoultrie, Keep in mind Neumann is the proven, highly regarded authority here. Unverified hearsay from your friends is pretty much simply that... Unverified hersay from your friends.
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colmoultrie
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Joined: 16 Oct 2010
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Real Name: Kevin Conn

PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Wick,

The Euro origin makes sense. I know Neumann is an expert, but I believe the book is 20-30 years old or more, and a lot of new research has been done in the meantime. Just like Madison Grant or Joe Kindig, the works are landmarks, but later research has uncovered problems in some dating.

The reason I asked was largely due to the double-edged blade, which seems to appear earlier and later, but was rather uncommon (to my limited understanding) in the 18th century, except for cut-down swords. This piece looks far too nice to be a cut-down sword!

The overall look says, "What a beautiful 'Arkansas Toothpick'!" to me, as large daggers and the Bowie came into fashion in the 19th century, but as I've said, I'm just a novice and mean no disrespect. I think your work is beautiful, and you provide a lot of great information to those of us on the 'net.
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John Curry
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Joined: 27 Jun 2012
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Real Name: John Curry

PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Large bladed knives and daggers were regularly employed throughout the Ohio and Cumberland Valleys well before the 19th century... BTW, where is all this contradictory "knife research" to be found anyway? Is there actually any DOCUMENTED proof to these earlier, in-depth books being somehow incorrect, or is it just fun to say? I keep hearing about it but no new published works, at least none I'm aware of. Just casual, armchair historian type hearsay. Did somebody maybe stick something up on a website or something?
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colmoultrie
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Joined: 16 Oct 2010
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Real Name: Kevin Conn

PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll give you one example off the top of my head, as I'm not at home, from Kindig. The Fries rifle by Andrew Verner is one that Kindig says is pre-revolutionary, but George Shumway did more research, and based on Verner's working dates, the rifle must date to the late 1780s or 1790s. As Fries's Rebellion was in the late 1790s, that date fits Fries's life as well.

You may not accept this example, as it's Kindig, Not Neumann, but it is a specific instance where later research updated an earlier historian's research.

This happens all the time in academic research: my own Bachelor's thesis demonstrated, in part, that Eric Hobsbawm's Marxist interpretation of the appeal of outlaws like Robin Hood and Jesse James was simply wrong. This is not at all a devaluation of these experts' work; new information changes our understanding.

Your own column in Muzzle Blasts brings forth new information. Some of it confirms, some challenges, other experts' conclusions. That's what makes it worthwhile, aside from the story.
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GreyWolf
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Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 88
Location: Southern Rockies
Real Name: Chuck Burrows

PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Despite common knowledge large bladed daggers (and even Bowie style blades) were in common usage far before the early 19th Century. Such blades styles go back to the early Egyptians (the King Tut Dagger), the Greeks and Romans, the Dark Ages - there are seax blades from the period that are spitting images of the later Bowie clip point style.

And while Wick's version is a copy of a Euro made product such knives were also made here in the New World (the Colonies and the pre-1800 USA). There is solid documentation for custom cutlers in places such as New York City and Philadelphia despite common re-enactor knowledge to the contrary (no they were not making knives by the thousands like the common trade knives or even hundreds but custom cutlers were here and can be documented so there must have been a enough of a market for such locally made goods to support them). There were also the Spanish territories in both the SE and the SW where large knives both with and without guards were popular (the Belduque is one of the latter). While it is true that scalpers/butchers far out numbered other knives in certain areas at certain times and on many if not most trade lists, but they were not the only types/known used, even in the "English" areas. As always it's a matter of who, when, what, and where..........and history is not just made up of the common.........and while the common may be appropriate for certain situations, IMO becoming dogmatic about is not a good thing, especially when our knowledge base is continually expanding

Here are just a few examples of custom made knives from the pre-1800 USA. They are from Norm Flayderman's book The Bowie Knife, the pre-bowie chapter.






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John Curry
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Joined: 27 Jun 2012
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Real Name: John Curry

PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Friend Colmoultrie, I quite agree with you on the rifle issue. Up until somewhat recently, we were calling rifles which were in reality, originating from well into the 19th century - "Revolutionary War and Pre-Revolutionary War pieces"! I was heart-broken to discover a beautiful, Berks County rifle that I loved which had been duly designated many years ago by Dr. Kindig as an early, F&I era, Wolfgang Haga piece... in fact, dating from somewhere around the war of 1812! We disproved this error however with ADDITIONAL PIECES and even more importantly, with CONCLUSIVE, VALID, DATED DOCUMENTATION... not just merely somebody's incredibly brialliant "conjecture" or "thoughts" on the matter... One's opinions, M. Colmoultrie, proove absolutely nothing.

Regarding the unwarranted attacks on the validity of Nuemman, Grant, Minnic, etc.; we're given only the UN-documented, UN-dated, speculation of a few small time, recreational historians... Nothing more than a "well, ya know what... I believe it was mor'n likely this-a-way." And the really weird thing about it is; fairly intelligent guys are happily willing to accept these back-yard, guessing games in lieu of the actual, expert documentation!?! Go figure...

Neumann's cover page displays a long bladed dagger with a rather handsome, forged iron hilt which he conservatively estimates to have been made between the years of 1770 and 1790. The blade is eerily similar to Wick's newest piece... Now. PROOVE to me (don't just ask me to take your word for it or Joe Blow's word for it), PROOVE to me with additional documentation and original, hard and fast dates, that Mr. Grant is wrong.
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colmoultrie
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Joined: 16 Oct 2010
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Real Name: Kevin Conn

PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Grey Wolf, for the pictures. they are very nice. All but one are single-edge blades (I believe the center one in your last picture is a double edge) and it was the double edge that raised my questions. As I said in my first question, I'm a novice when it comes to blades - thus the question. It helps me to broaden my view, and I now believe that double-edged blades were out there, albeit not necessarily commonly.

Friend John Curry, you've thrown around the word "slander" and "prove" to me a number of times. I do not slander any of the writers when I contend that sometimes after a book is published new research comes to light that uncovers previous mistakes or causes reevaluation of dating. I can give you another instance - rifles again - this time from Neumann. In his The History of Weapons of the American Revolution, p144, he dates a Bucks County Rifle, likely a Verner, as 1775-1790. The 1790 date is more like the beginning date than the end. Now you may notice that both of my error citations concern Bucks County rifles. that's because when I got into this hobby, I wanted a Revolutionary era rifle, so I did my research. I looked up rifles I liked in Moore, Kindig, Dillin, Hartzler & Whisker, and Neumann. Based on those experts, I ordered a beautiful Bucks County rifle from Allen Martin. I love the rifle, but it's post-Revolution, based on later research.

I got my copies of Grant from interlibrary loan, so I cannot cite specific instances to you there, but I remember a number of rather vague date ranges and educated guesses, based on the best information available at the time.

I do not know with whom your argument is, when you talk of slander and "unwarranted attacks," but using those terms in reference to my question is rather insulting. I have given you documentation in the area where I have done some study, and cheerfully admitted my novice status in the area of blades - giving rise to my original question. If you have an issue with unnamed "recreational historians," save your attacks for them specifically, please.

Wick, I thank you for the pictures of a lovely piece and your polite answer to my question.
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John Curry
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Real Name: John Curry

PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Friend Colmoultrie, slander was a poor choice of words. Although I did not use those terms you mentioned in reference to your question so much as I did to your insinuation that the works of Grant, Nuemann and Minnick were wrong; I still and all, do appologize. You're quite right. I have recently been dealing with some rather narrow minded, aggressive historians who rather expect everyone to bow down to their limited, self-declared viewpoints. In the course of my very unpleasant conversations with them (and much to my dismay), I seem to have become nearly as unreasonable and intolerant as they.

But, to more pleasant topics. As you noticed, Madison Grant is quite intentionally vague and generalistic in his dating, specifically because he never intended to attach something so difficult to pin down as a hard and fast date for a handmade knife. He only gives us good, legitimate, time frames in which these one-of-a-kind, hand crafted items were in all probability manufactured. Unlike gunmakers' ledgers, account books, wills, etc.; we have no dates for such artifacts. In the realm of hand forged, hand made knives; experts like Grant, Nuemann and Minnick have all done excellent jobs in (as you say) giving us rather rough, vague but nonetheless reliable dates on these impossible-to-date antiques. Of course a person can have opinions as to these dates, one way or another. But, for someone to come up behind these men and simply declare that their assumptions are wrong is to me, the height of vanity... And now I don't mean to imply that you are one of those vain, self-ordained, knife gurus. No, no. Actually quite the opposite. You appear to me as one of the unfortunate newcomers to this hobby who have been subjected to their seemingly brilliant rulings from on high and taken it as gospel.

Once again however, I would respectfully request that if it is your wish to refer to Grant's and Neumann's dates as being inaccurate, that you should be willing to proove your assumption with well referenced, period facts and cold, hard dates - not hearsay. And not merely say that because somebody was wrong in regard to their dating on some other sort of antique, somewhere along the line... or maybe that some guy on the internet that sounded like he knew what he was talkiing about said something; that that means Grant and Nuemann had to have been wrong... What you need if proof! Do you see what I'm saying?

Like I mentioned earlier; when it comes to firearms... I could not agree with you any more. You are absolutely correct! As a matter of fact, I have been in the exact same boat as you were with your falling in love with what you thought was an early long gun and then finding out several years later it was a product of the 19th century! Been there - done that. But we're talking guns here friend Colmoultrie... GUNS, not knives. Early, hand forged knives are a much more difficult nut to crack. Dates are infinitely more elusive, and while we all have our own individual thoughts and opinions on the subject; no one can, or much less has, the right to just arbitrairily declare that those experts whose books we still look at, study and so admire yet today were wrong.
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John Curry
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Real Name: John Curry

PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Friend Colmoultrie, I'm afraid you've got me doing what I've told you NOT to do - that is taking someone's word for something... and then just running with it. You've managed to get me to believe that I somehow accused you of "slander" and by golly, then you got me to turn right around and appoligize for it!!! My own fault I suppose... I just assumed you knew what you were talking about without actually going back to check. However, after re-reading this entire string, I have to say you're mistaken. I don't see where I've ever used the word "slander" anywhere in this conversation. (See how just blindly buying in to what somebody tells you can get you into trouble?) If indeed, I am in error, could you please maybe point out to me where I've missed this?
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Jackie Brown
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Joined: 16 May 2007
Posts: 180
Location: Walnut, Mississippi
Real Name: Jackie Brown

PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:39 pm    Post subject: 18th c. Euro Belt Dagger Reply with quote

Hey John Curry! Howya been bud?
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John Curry
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Real Name: John Curry

PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Purty danged good Jackie Brown... how 'bout yerself? Will ya be up at Friendship this September?
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Jackie Brown
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Joined: 16 May 2007
Posts: 180
Location: Walnut, Mississippi
Real Name: Jackie Brown

PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:08 pm    Post subject: 18th c. Euro Belt Dagger Reply with quote

John, It's Good to hear from you . I'm doing well! Semi retired. I hope to visit Friendship in Sept. Don't know yet. Got 3 daughters in high school, one in pre-kindergarten and a wife in med school. Traveling is kinda "iffy". Take care and maybe see you then.
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