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First American Smallsword Symposium

PostPosted: 30 Apr 2015 18:30
by MEversbergII
Last weekend I attended the first American Smallsword Symposium, a little bit up the road in Timonium, Maryland. It was a great event, and I managed to snap a few images between the on-goings. The pics I took were just with my phone, so they're not professional or anything.

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A most handsome gathering.


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Table of antique swords; some closeups to follow. Far left is a diplomat's dress sword (pointy but unedged in any way). To the right of that is a mourning sword, which proved to be my favorite of the lot. The foil next to it was quite nice, and I'm beginning to suspect I will need that guard on a future foil. The cuphilt sadly escaped me, so I've nothing on it. The middle most sword was interesting. Ostensibly a spadroon-like smallsword, it has no knucklebow (or a place where one may have mounted), yet had finger rings - just about the opposite of what I've seen. I don't remember if it had sharp edges. The matched swords to the right of the spadroon were also interesting - one was about 1.5-2" shorter than the other. The last two are pretty typical smallswords; one has a wood grip and the other wire wrapped. Between the two I preferred the leftmost for handling, though the rightmost was quite decorative.


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This table had a couple more interesting things. The top was what I suspect to be an Italian styled dueling sword. Below that is a fairly ordinary 19th century foil. The one below that is a sharp, with a concave shell. The bottom most is a straight up dueling epee with a blued guard and bright blade - definitely liked this one, may have to procure one some day.


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Closeup on the hilt of the mourning sword I liked, and that nifty foil (blade made by Solingen no less). Black lacquer of some kind all over. This was well pointed though the edges were not sharp. Slender and strongly triangular. Finger loops were actually usable, too. As you'd expect, it was quite light and well balanced - a real joy to hold. Definitely going to have to figure out how to acquire one at some point.


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Closeup of the tip.


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Reverse of that fancy foil. I did like this one but I had little time to handle it much.


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Quality steel, looks like!


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Hilt of the brass "smallsword". Almost like an epee du soldate, really. I liked it; unfortunately didn't get to handle it much, so I don't remember the quality of the edge. I know it looks like it could have been sharp, though.


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Sword in hand.


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The "matched" set of swords. My guess is that they're off-the-shelf parts and just happen to look the same, since the grips and blades are different lengths.


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Final two from table 1. These were quite decorated examples.


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Filigree on the wood handled one's forte.


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Decoration on the wire-wrapped smallsword's blade.


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Repeated on the other side. Strong triangle!


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Tip of the wire wrapped one.

Unfortunately I didn't get to table 2 until it was nearly time for the tournament to begin, so I only get a few quick shots.


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Hilt of the topmost sword from table 2. Didn't get any of the blade, sadly, but it was a sharp.


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Hilt of the second sword - a foil. I don't think I handled this one unfortunately.


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The second sword was evidently a prize piece for some lucky fellow.

I didn't get any of the last two swords from table 2, nor did I get any on the prize table. Time crunch and whatnot. I know there's a few up on Facebook, so if they're not posted up here by the time I find time this evening I'll get them up here, too. I liked the epee du combat - I recall it being fairly heavy, but balanced quite well. Firm is a good word, I think. The shell was blued and pierced with triangles.

All my remaining photos are of me looking awkward in an oversized fencing jacket (Absolute's measurements may be a bit off), usually with weapons. I got myself in a semi-lunge with that mourning sword I liked, which managed to look half decent.

Cheers!

M.

Re: First American Smallsword Symposium

PostPosted: 30 Apr 2015 20:28
by Sean M
I am glad that you folks had fun. Studying very recent martial arts does make it easier to play with original weapons. What is a mourning sword?

Re: First American Smallsword Symposium

PostPosted: 03 May 2015 00:28
by MEversbergII
Sean,

From what I understand, a "mourning sword" was the last leg of the smallsword. It was a functional weapon worn for funerary purposes, and during periods of mourning, but never really expected to be used for combat. I haven't gotten a chance to research further, though!

M.

Re: First American Smallsword Symposium

PostPosted: 03 May 2015 09:54
by Sean M
Thanks. Fashion is curious: a smallsword or duelling sword might not be much heavier or more awkward than the big knives, small pistols, and heavy canes which many 19th century Americans dragged around, but it acquired the wrong connotations so had to go.

Re: First American Smallsword Symposium

PostPosted: 04 May 2015 05:39
by MEversbergII
Quite possibly; I wonder where and why the switch came about?

Also, I uploaded the video from my phone of the tourney warmup: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOXaaByjl6A

Might have caught some of the actual tourney as well; only had so much phone memory (note above pics!).

M.