Original Rare British Martini-Henry Experimental Elcho Pioneer Sawback Sword Bayonet by W.R. Kirschbaum
Original Item: Only One Available. These are exceedingly rare, especially with the original steel mounted leather scabbard! Introduced by LORD ELCHO in 1871 as the "1870 Experimental Elcho Sword Bayonet," this was intended to be the perfect Pioneer Sawback bayonet for use with the Martini Henry .450/.577 Rifle. In addition to the sawback the blade widened dramatically giving the blade great leverage for chopping when used in combat. Lord Elcho, the 9th Earl of Wemyss & March, Francis Wemyss Charteris Douglas, intended this to be a great tool of war, and it was well received by many.
Just 100 pieces were manufactured in Germany as a trial for the British Army. Sadly the expense was found to be excessive and the project was abandoned. Unfortunately the idea of a “Pioneer” bayonet used as a tool was not something the British Military believed in, and felt that the bayonet should be a defensive weapon.
Our example bears the manufacturer's logo of a Knight's Head on the blade ricasso, for W.R. Kirschbaum of Solingen. This is actually a somewhat rare maker in itself, as the company only existed from 1870 to 1883, when Wilhelm Reinhard Kirschbaum died. His heirs elected to Amalgamate with Gebrüder Weyersberg, forming the Legendary Weyersberg Kirschbaum &Co. For more information please see J. Anthony Carter’s work GERMAN KNIFE AND SWORD MAKERS.
This find bayonet features a 19 1/2 inch long blade, which widens to over 1 1/2 inch width just 4 1/2 inches from the point. The Bayonet measures 25 inches in overall length, a rather impressive size for any bayonet. The hard black leather grip plates are checkered and secured by four rivets entering from the left side. The rear rivet secures the 2 3/4" leaf spring steel bayonet catch spring entering from the right hand side of the grip. The cross guard and pommel are steel, as standard for the time.
The bayonet comes complete with steel mounted black leather scabbard, the leather showing 150 years of life showing finish deterioration but still very solid with excellent original stitching. The Scabbard top mount has a vertical "Goal Post" fitting to work with its horizontal frog strap, which is not present.
An exceptionally RARE bayonet from the Trial quantity of 100 pieces in excellent collector's condition, ready to display!
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