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"When did sword scabbard become metal" Topic


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700 hits since 13 Sep 2017
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Comments or corrections?

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2017 2:57 a.m. PST

Looking at most 18th century soldiers the sword scabbard was usually black leather. But during the Napoleonic wars it was usually metal.
When did this change happen?

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2017 4:01 a.m. PST

It was a gradual process from the mid 18th Century onwards primarily amongst mounted troops. Swords and bayonets for those on foot tended to be carried in leather and remained so. Not all armies 'went metal' as such scabbards were criticised for blunting blades. Also, not all metallic scabbards were fully metal. Some remained leather but with metal sheathing and decoration on the outside. You will need to check the individual armies to see who did what.

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2017 11:05 a.m. PST

Back in College, I read Lewis Edward Nolan's (Balaklava) book on British cavalry. One of his big problems was the insistance of the higher ups in retaining the metal scabbard. As I recall, he may actually have been influential in forcing a change to wood or leather.

42flanker13 Sep 2017 11:58 p.m. PST

I believe in the wooden scabbard-or scabbard interior- was the practice in India, and adopted by cavalry in the HEIC Army. Nolan, having served in India, argued this practice should be adopted by British cavalry at home.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP14 Sep 2017 1:00 a.m. PST

But wouldn't the dulling problem be fixed simply by lining the inside of the scabbard with a thin layer of swade leather?

42flanker14 Sep 2017 11:53 a.m. PST

Wood might be cheaper more durable.

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