British Pattern 1870 'lead cutting' Cutlass and Scabbard

Unit Royal Navy
Accession Number REL23038
Collection type Technology
Object type Edged Weapon or Club
Place made United Kingdom: England
Date made 1901
Conflict Period 1900-1909

British Pattern 1870 'lead cutting' cutlass and scabbard. The hilt has a sheet steel guard and ribbed iron grip painted black. The slightly curved blade is single edged with a false edge on obverse side for the last 305 mm ending in a spear point. The ricasso is stamped on the left MOLE BIRMn and a broad arrow over a proof mark over X on the right. The black leather scabbard has a brass chape and frog stud (no locket). It is stamped on the reverse with a broad arrow, a proof mark and '01.

History / Summary

The 'lead cutting' sword remains the most unusual of all the British military regulation patterns. These swords are generally characterised by flexible blades with broad widths and with cutlass type hilts. They are in the List of Changes of 1 September 1870 and described as a "Sword, Lead Cutting" and a "Mould for casting lead", both for use in the gymnasia. The sword was possibly used in some way to strengthen the wrist by cutting pieces of lead produced in the mould?

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