COLLECTION: Mechanical Arts & Arms

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American "Brown Bess" type bayonet

ca. 1775-1780
Origin: America
Socket: 4 5/16" Blade: 16 3/16" x 1 1/8" Overall: 21 5/16"
Iron/steel & brass
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1982-20
Label:It is generally accepted by arms students that enough bayonets were obtainable in the American colonies before the Revolution that there was no need to have them made locally. Therefore, it wasn't until war broke out that American smiths began manufacturing bayonets.

With a preponderance of British muskets on hand, many of the earliest American bayonets imitated those made for these muskets. While this example is similar in size to a British "Land Pattern" musket bayonet, it falls far short in quality and structural integrity. Instead of being properly welded together, the individual components of this slight weapon are simply brazed to each other. Had it ever seen heavy use in battle, there is little doubt it would have easily been bent or broken.