I offer for sale, a really good example of a British, Georgian era, Pattern 1796 Light Cavalry Sabre, almost certainly made by premier Cutler – Thomas Gill. The blade measures 32 ½ inches (83 cms) in length and 1 6/8th inches (4.5 cms) across at the shoulder is a solid fit into the hilt, no movement whatsoever and the blade retains a lot of it’s original polish and no tarnishing. It has a keen cutting edge also. The blades has the typical widening as it approaches the blade tip. Approximately 6 ½ inches in front of the blade shoulder is seen a simple engraved cross line, denoting where the Point of Balance of the blade it located (see photo).
Just forwards of the ricasso, on the outside of the blade are engraved the following words in a flourish “Gill’s Warranted” and Thomas Gill stood by the battle-worthiness of his blades. Here is a quick insight into his methods of production and quality control testing:
Towards the end of the 18th century, Thomas Gill, a Birmingham sword manufacturer, was especially noted for the rigour of his testing for his products which included striking a wrought-iron bar or tube, in addition to bending tests, and it is significant to note that in tests, his pieces consistently outperformed the best Solingen products. This man had blades from his factory marked "Warranted never to fail" or simply "Warranted" , and he stood by his word.
Gill apparently was a strong advocate of quenching not into water or brine, but rather into heated liquid- either oil or even molten lead. A forerunner of today's salt baths? He was also a strong advocate of combining the quenching with the tempering. Industrial espionage being rife even 200 years ago, he left no secret recipes, so holding times, temperatures, etc.
Thomas Gill traded from a property on Jennons Row and Masshouse Lane, Bartholomew Chapel, Birmingham, between c.1774 until his death in 1801. Gill’s widow carried on the business after his death, followed by their son – John Gill, who marked his blades with his name.
The hilt components are solidly constructed, and are unmarked or decorated. The grip covering is missing and there are a few inactive woodworm holes in the wooden grip, but the grip wire is in place.
The sabre comes with it’s original, unmarked, Steel scabbard, which bears minimal tarnishing and has the typical banded suspension ring mounts, often seen on Thomas Gill scabbards. Both blade and scabbard are a good fit and the scabbard is basically undamaged, but just missing one of it’s original throat screws (which has been replaced with a non-domed countersunk screw.
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