A Spectacular French Small Sword
A SPECTACULAR FRENCH SMALL-SWORD MOST LIKELY MADE FOR A WEALTHY GENTLEMAN OR MEMBER OF FRENCH ROYALTY, CIRCA. SECOND HALF OF THE 18TH CENTURY.
With blade of hollow triangular section etched with gilt scrollwork against a blued ground towards the forte, the gilt forte etched with "Manufacture de Klingenthal", "Coulaux", "Freres", a trophy of arms and decorative panels, steel hilt chiselled in low and high relief with scrollwork and vignettes of panoply's-of-arms all against a gilt punched ground including double symmetrical shell-guard with scenes comprising of panoply's-of-arms on the outer side, and on the inner side with decoration continuing to the quillon-block, knuckle-guard, short rear-quillon and spherical pommel. Original grip bound with silver wire with Turk's heads, in original snakeskin-covered scabbard with chiseled and gilt iron mounts en suite with the hilt. The overall condition is excellent. Minor loses to the snakeskin on the scabbard. The blade exhibits a few areas of rust pitting. This type of small sword was very popular in the late 17th -18th centuries and this example exemplifies the high level of craftsmanship and quality.
Measures: 36.75" overall with the scabbard.
SOME HISTORY: Klingenthal is in the east of France near Strasbourg (Alsace).
At the beginning of the 18th century, king Louis XV decided to create a state-controlled sword manufacturing company in order to limit the imports of Solingen blades to France. In 1733, the Manufacture d'Armes Blanches d' Alsace commenced operation with the help of 25 skilled workers from Solingen, Germany. The Alsace province, in East of France, was chosen for the availability of iron mines and forges.
In 1768, accommodation for the Director and his staff (artillery officers) was built in a place called Klingenthal (Klingen=blades, thal= valley), the factory became Manufacture de Klingenthal . Under this name, thousands of blades were produced until the end of the 19th century.