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Thread: Dirt tricks for epee duelists

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    Dirt tricks for epee duelists

    Here are a few vintage 1909 dirty tricks for epeeists fighting a duel and suddenly regretting they had that pork hock for breakfast.

    Thought you guys might enjoy it: http://fencingclassics.wordpress.com...-an-epee-duel/
    hippo likes this.

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    Senior Member crquack's Avatar
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    I like (1). Not sure about (2). Does the director have good enough eyes to see the point is blunt? Does he stop the duel to check after a bell guard hit?

    (3) was a greater Lesser Evil in a pre-antibiotic era. Still, good 'armless fun!
    (4) - I cannot see anyone advancing without acute awareness of the opposing point. Except in Hollywood.
    (5) - to step on the opponent's foot one has to get past his point. I would call it a risky strategy. Perhaps a preparation for (3)?

    BTW like your book...

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    Senior Member jjefferies's Avatar
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    Well the pictures certainly confuse things considerably. I've handled only a couple of what I thought of as dueling epees. And the pointy ends did not look like the hollow ground tips in your photos. The most pristine one, still had a mushroom shaped metal extrusion/bloom on the pointy end for shipping which would have been cut/broken off and filed down before use. But the tip itself looked very much like a needle. The text referred to needle like ends so perhaps that was just one of the many styles which were available. But Several of the blades in your photos appeared to my eye to be quite like heavier versions on our sport epees. Is that correct? Is there any bend in the blades? And how do the blade weights and balances compare to modern sport epee blades?

    Did enjoy the article greatly.
    J Jefferies

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    Senior Member Grasshopper's Avatar
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    I recognize the bigger fencer: that is Mr. Hugh Jazz
    FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WON'T YOU BUY MY TACTICAL WHEEL!!!????

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    Senior Member oosnoopy's Avatar
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    Good read.

    I wish I owned a real small sword or epee DU COMBAT.

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    Are you refering to the wepons in here? http://fencingclassics.wordpress.com...dueling-epees/

    There are a number of different points in dueling and sporting epees of the late 19th century. The French sporting epee (which really only caught on in the late 1870's and early 80's), with its characteristic large bell-guard, was typically a rebated weapon. There were typically 2 or 3 inches of steel, either round or irregularly surfaced, past the end of the central grove. The end would be flattened like a nail's head, like a steam foil is today. That tip would then be wrapped in cord, not willy-nilly, but according to a systematic pattern. There might be tape wrapped on top of that to form a smallish ball that's a tad bigger than a rubber point.

    (I'm working on an article about 19th-ct SPORTS weapons right now.)

    Dueling épées actually preceded the sporting épées by a number of years... the tri-angular hollow-ground or three-sided non-ground carrelet blades of course were around far longer. From what I can tell, the earlier dueling blades were ground on-demand... before the duel. The blade blank may have been a rebated blade or a chisel-tipped blank. Depending on the agreed-on blade length (non-standardized at that point in time), a fournisseur would grind the blades to a desired point... a needle point (very pointy and easily bent), an awl- or bolt-point (a tad less pointy but still on the 2 or 3" projecting past the end of the grove. Or a "reed" point that either could look like a ship's prow or a lancet point.

    Of course, these days it's almost impossible to say if the grinding wasn't done later. Any practice épée or dueling blank could've be converted into a dueling sharp yesterday, for all you know.

    I have about 30 épées from that period, 1/3 of them pointed and the others blanks or rebated. One of the few indications of telling a duelling weapon from a sporting weapon seems to be the size of the guard (coquille). Oddly, the smaller the guard is, the higher the probability was that it's a dueling weapon.

    But more on that in a week or so.

    Chris

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    I blame it all on the editors of the January 1909 La Vie en Grand Air...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amberger View Post
    Are you refering to the wepons in here? http://fencingclassics.wordpress.com...dueling-epees/

    There are a number of different points in dueling and sporting epees of the late 19th century. The French sporting epee (which really only caught on in the late 1870's and early 80's), with its characteristic large bell-guard, was typically a rebated weapon. There were typically 2 or 3 inches of steel, either round or irregularly surfaced, past the end of the central grove. The end would be flattened like a nail's head, like a steam foil is today. That tip would then be wrapped in cord, not willy-nilly, but according to a systematic pattern. There might be tape wrapped on top of that to form a smallish ball that's a tad bigger than a rubber point.

    (I'm working on an article about 19th-ct SPORTS weapons right now.)

    Dueling épées actually preceded the sporting épées by a number of years... the tri-angular hollow-ground or three-sided non-ground carrelet blades of course were around far longer. From what I can tell, the earlier dueling blades were ground on-demand... before the duel. The blade blank may have been a rebated blade or a chisel-tipped blank. Depending on the agreed-on blade length (non-standardized at that point in time), a fournisseur would grind the blades to a desired point... a needle point (very pointy and easily bent), an awl- or bolt-point (a tad less pointy but still on the 2 or 3" projecting past the end of the grove. Or a "reed" point that either could look like a ship's prow or a lancet point.

    Of course, these days it's almost impossible to say if the grinding wasn't done later. Any practice épée or dueling blank could've be converted into a dueling sharp yesterday, for all you know.

    I have about 30 épées from that period, 1/3 of them pointed and the others blanks or rebated. One of the few indications of telling a duelling weapon from a sporting weapon seems to be the size of the guard (coquille). Oddly, the smaller the guard is, the higher the probability was that it's a dueling weapon.

    But more on that in a week or so.

    Chris
    You are the first proponent of historical fencing that I didn't immediately want to punch in the face.
    Bonehead

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    Senior Member jjefferies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bonehead View Post
    You are the first proponent of historical fencing that I didn't immediately want to punch in the face.
    I don't see Mr. Amberger, at least here, as a proponent of "historical fencing" but as a historian. And I enjoyed his "Secret History of the Sword" as well. Particularly the lead in letter from Sir Edward Sackville.

    But something another fencing friend noted and possibly applies and that there is rather little crossover between sport fencers and the other communities that are interested in swords/fencing/martial arts. Not sure why that is but it is pretty clear demarcation.
    J Jefferies

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    Quote Originally Posted by jjefferies View Post
    I don't see Mr. Amberger, at least here, as a proponent of "historical fencing" but as a historian. And I enjoyed his "Secret History of the Sword" as well. Particularly the lead in letter from Sir Edward Sackville.

    But something another fencing friend noted and possibly applies and that there is rather little crossover between sport fencers and the other communities that are interested in swords/fencing/martial arts. Not sure why that is but it is pretty clear demarcation.
    Maybe that's why I don't want to punch him in the face.
    Bonehead

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bonehead View Post
    You are the first proponent of historical fencing that I didn't immediately want to punch in the face.
    Thanks. But I'm not really a "proponent" of historical fencing. Just a middling fencer who likes scrap metal and old books.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amberger View Post
    Thanks. But I'm not really a "proponent" of historical fencing. Just a middling fencer who likes scrap metal and old books.
    I like you.
    Bonehead

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    Quote Originally Posted by jjefferies View Post
    I don't see Mr. Amberger, at least here, as a proponent of "historical fencing" but as a historian. And I enjoyed his "Secret History of the Sword" as well. Particularly the lead in letter from Sir Edward Sackville.

    But something another fencing friend noted and possibly applies and that there is rather little crossover between sport fencers and the other communities that are interested in swords/fencing/martial arts. Not sure why that is but it is pretty clear demarcation.
    I find that demarcation strange. Historical fencing holds some interest for me, but I'm sticking with the modern version for a while, as I still have much to learn.

    Amberger: I have yet to read "Secret History of the Sword", but it will be on it's way to my house very soon. Thanks for the article.
    The world never seems so clear as it does through the mesh of a fencing mask.
    Every touch teaches. Each loss a lesson.

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    Senior Member oosnoopy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amberger View Post
    Are you refering to the wepons in here? http://fencingclassics.wordpress.com...dueling-epees/

    There are a number of different points in dueling and sporting epees of the late 19th century. The French sporting epee (which really only caught on in the late 1870's and early 80's), with its characteristic large bell-guard, was typically a rebated weapon. There were typically 2 or 3 inches of steel, either round or irregularly surfaced, past the end of the central grove. The end would be flattened like a nail's head, like a steam foil is today. That tip would then be wrapped in cord, not willy-nilly, but according to a systematic pattern. There might be tape wrapped on top of that to form a smallish ball that's a tad bigger than a rubber point.

    (I'm working on an article about 19th-ct SPORTS weapons right now.)

    Dueling épées actually preceded the sporting épées by a number of years... the tri-angular hollow-ground or three-sided non-ground carrelet blades of course were around far longer. From what I can tell, the earlier dueling blades were ground on-demand... before the duel. The blade blank may have been a rebated blade or a chisel-tipped blank. Depending on the agreed-on blade length (non-standardized at that point in time), a fournisseur would grind the blades to a desired point... a needle point (very pointy and easily bent), an awl- or bolt-point (a tad less pointy but still on the 2 or 3" projecting past the end of the grove. Or a "reed" point that either could look like a ship's prow or a lancet point.

    Of course, these days it's almost impossible to say if the grinding wasn't done later. Any practice épée or dueling blank could've be converted into a dueling sharp yesterday, for all you know.

    I have about 30 épées from that period, 1/3 of them pointed and the others blanks or rebated. One of the few indications of telling a duelling weapon from a sporting weapon seems to be the size of the guard (coquille). Oddly, the smaller the guard is, the higher the probability was that it's a dueling weapon.

    But more on that in a week or so.

    Chris
    Chris,

    Where do you get most of your historical weapons from? What's the average amount you pay for one?

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    That all depends. I've gotten some great pieces from junk stores and arms shows. (The March one in Baltimore is my favorite—although I'll be missing it this year because of a Schläger seminar I'm giving in Houston that weekend.)

    But the bulk's been bought via ebay, and not just the US version, but the German, French, and UK versions. Unfortunately, the European sites are following UK law low, according to which curved-bladed swords can no longer be sold, and most sellers now apply this even to old foils. I haven't seen a 19th-ct. épée on ebay.fr in years...

    Regarding price, it also depends, mostly on kind of weapon it is and how bad you want it. Old foils and sabers I've paid as little as $15 for, and as much as $700. Schlägers maybe from $150 to $1,500, depending on a variety of factors. Smallswords $350 to $1,500. Minimums have gone up considerably and the competition is now much tougher.

    I'd say for a historical sword, calculate anywhere from $350 to $1,500 for a weapon of "okay" quality.

    There are other decent websites, some of them in Europe, such as egun.de. There's usually an issue w/ payment, however, as some vendors fear being labeled an "arms dealer" if they ship to the US (really!) or don't accept credit cards/Paypal.

    And of course, there's now dozens of militaria and edged weapons sites. Frequently priced way too high for my taste.

    Chris

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