British 1895 Pattern Infantry Officer's Sword
Single-fullered straight blade with spear point, the blade 0.95 inches wide at the shoulder and 32¾ inches in length, the sword 38¾ inches overall. Steel hilt with pierced decoration including crown and royal cypher of Queen Victoria. Steel ferrule, steel chequered backstrap with integral pommel, black shagreen grip bound with wire, brown leather washer. Red and gold parade sword knot with silver acorn, steel scabbard.
The blade is etched at the ricasso on one side with the retailer’s mark ‘SAMUEL BROTHERs OUTFITTERS 65 & 67 LUDGATE HILL LONDON E.C.’ below the royal coat of arms. At the ricasso on one side an etched six-pointed star surrounds the inset brass proof slug, which reads ‘PROVED P’. The blade is etched on both sides with foliate motifs and the crown & mirrored cypher of Queen Victoria.
Only in existence for two years, the 1895 Pattern infantry officer’s sword can be identified by its hilt design. Its inside edge is flat and the pierced holes in the decoration are somewhat larger than on its successor the 1897 pattern, on which the inner edge of the guard was turned down to reduce fray on the uniform and the pierced holes were reduced in size to offer more protection. Being so briefly in service it is much scarcer than the 1897 Pattern which served through both World Wars and is still used today, and some swords originally made as 1895 Patterns were rehilted as directed by the Army Order that announced the change. All 1895 Patterns would have been paired with a steel scabbard, which was at that time universal: the brown leather field scabbard was introduced in 1899 with the Sam Browne belt and the steel scabbard became for parade only.
Founded circa 1830, Samuel Brothers operated out of premises at 65 & 67 Ludgate Hill from 1878 to 1918, when they expanded to additional premises in Oxford Street. They were a firm of military tailors and outfitters, and like other such tailors would not have manufactured swords themselves but ordered them from cutlers who would then etch a custom panel for that retailer on the blade. These would then typically be sold together with a new officer’s uniform. Samuel Brothers closed in 1965.
The blade has no edge damage, crisp etching and only a few tiny spots of patination. The hilt is likewise very clean with a few patches of light patination. The shagreen of the grip is all present with very little handling wear, a few scales lost near the thumb rest. The grip wires are all present, slight movement to the loop nearest the ferrule. The scabbard is free of dents, with some spots of light patination on the rings and some light patination near the chape.