COLLECTION: Mechanical Arts & Arms

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Smallsword

ca. 1740
Origin: America, Massachusetts, Boston
Overall Length: 83.8cm (33in.)
Silver; steel/iron, leather and wood.
Museum Purchase, Timothy Martin in honor of Eric N. Shrubsole and The Friends of Colonial Williamsburg Collections Fund
Acc. No. 2014-12,1
A silver-hilted small sword with a rapidly tapering blade of hollow triangular section, the silver hilt with a double-shell guard and ovoid pommel and a grip wrapped with silver wire. The silver tip is missing from the brown leather over wood scabbard, and its throat was never mounted.
Label:Silver-hilted small swords were worn by British gentlemen from the 1660s to the end of the eighteenth century. They were essentially fashion accessories that proclaimed wealth and status, more than being defensive weapons. Many such swords were imported into the colonies, but some were made here. This example marked by Thomas Edwards is the only published sword credited to his workshop, but stylistically it is identical to those by other early New England silversmiths. It has its original “hollow” triangular blade and is engraved with the unidentified owner’s initials “NB” on the guard.


Mark(s):Marked "TE" within a rectangular cartouch on the midpoint of the knucklebow and the edge of the counterguard.
Inscription(s):The guard engraved with owner's initials "NB" in block letters.