Question of the Day

Question of the Day: So…what’d you get?

Happy Boxing Day folks.

The mass wrapping-paper carnage has ended at my house, and the dust has settled. The kiddos spent the day knee deep in Legos and the like, and I spent a little time playing around with a couple of antique tools that my in-laws bought me.

There is not much to say about the wooden level, except that it has wonderful patina and works just fine. The hand-drill is completely functional, and I will be keeping my eye out for extra bits when my wife and I are trolling the antique malls in the area.

The third item is a bit of an enigma. My in-laws were told it was a WWI bayonet. There is a damaged lug on the brass pommel, but no ring on the hilt. It is also really short, and does not have a shape that one thinks of in a thrusting weapon. It also looks like someone went 12 rounds on it with a Dremel tool. It has grinder marks everywhere.

After spending some time tonight on the Google, I think I have solved the mystery. It is my belief that it is a French Model 1866 Chassepot bayonet, but one that has been modified (poorly) into a knife.

Model 1866 Chassepot Bayonet (image via arms2armor.com)

 

This last photo comes from Arms2Armor.com. They describe the Chassepot thusly:

This is the most widely copied of all the sword bayonets. Many countries – including the United States, Egypt, Belgium, and Argentina – have manufactured or used very similar bayonets. The French model was designed to fit on the French Model 1866 Chassepot Rifled Infantry Musket (the musket was revolutionary in itself). It was manufactured from 1866 to about 1874 and was replaced by the French Model 1874 “Gras” Bayonet.
This bayonet is brass-hilted with a spring steel latching arrangement on the right side. The crossguard is iron (steel) and has a screw-type tightening arrangement on the muzzle-ring. The lower quillon is a hooked “blade-breaker” type.
The blade is steel, single-edged, fullered (both sides), with a re-curved or “yataghan-shape.” The blades are usually marked on the back-edge (opposite the cutting edge) with the arsenal, month, and year of manufacture; this is done in engraved cursive fashion and will appear something like, “Mre d’ Armes de Chatellerault Janvier 1866” or perhaps “Mre d’ Armes de St. Etienne 8bre [October] 1868”. Contrary to novice speculation, these inscriptions are not the name of a lieutenant or major, nor is it a presentation date.
Additionally, these were not used during the American Civil War.
Arsenals encountered may be such as Chatellerault, Mutzig, St. Etienne, Paris-Oudry, Tulle, and perhaps Steyr (not confirmed on the 1866).

There are numerous variations of this bayonet and they were produced in the many-many thousands. The scabbards are usually blued sheet-rolled steel with a ball finial.

These bayonets replaced the French Model 1842 Sword Bayonet and – in turn – were replaced by the French Model 1874 “Gras” Bayonet (and corresponding infantry rifle).

These bayonets are very similar to the Argentine 1879, Bavarian 1869, British 1856, Danish Model 1867, Turkish 1874, and various American saber bayonets.

The pins line up, the grooved-brass handle matches, and the metal inset to the handle looks spot-on. It looks like the muzzle-ring was ground off, as was the quillion, and the blade shortened considerably. But I am pretty sure I have figured out what it is, even if any makers marks have been destroyed.

I know that the value has been completely destroyed by the modifications. That said, it is still a cool piece, and leaves me with as many questions as I have been able to answer thus far. A fun Christmas Day mystery to explore.

So, that leads me to my Question of the Day: Did any of you find any steel in your stockings this morning?

Discussion

4 responses to ‘Question of the Day: So…what’d you get?

  1. I collect Camillus brand Boy Scout knives, and my lovely fiancee found one of the commemorative Norman Rockwell knives that they released in the early aughts, the “Tomorrow’s Leader” one. Very cool! These knives have are notorious for having cracks in the handle near the middle pin, but this one was still intact and with the original box and paperwork. Very cool!

    She also got me a book of Nessmuk’s letters (I love me some Nessmuk, as you are all aware lol) and my brother got me a buffer, which will be getting used in my knifemaking projects.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *