FINE RARE & EARLY 1830's SHEFFIELD MOTHER OF PEARL FEDERAL EAGLE LOCK BACK DIRK. RARE & EARLY 1830s SHEFFIELD FEDERAL EAGLE / UNION SHIELD / FIELD OF. STARS CROSS GUARD CROWN POMMEL MOTHER OF PEARL SCALES. FOLDING LOCK BACK DIRK INTENDED AS A SELF DEFENSE WEAPON FOR A. WELL TO DO PATRIOTIC AMERICAN GENTLEMAN CIRCA LATE 1830s.
This single-edged Dirk was made primarily as a self-defense weapon. Since there was no law and order in the Cities, it was "every man for himself". Gentlemen would typically carry a percussion revolver for self-protection that were prone to misfire; and thus, would usually carry a concealed knife as a backup weapon in their vest or pants pocket. These early folding dirk knives were completely hand forged, hand ground, hand fitted, hand polished, i. Completely handmade, using only simple hand tools; and were created to be used only as a weapon.They fall into the early category of edged weapons made for personal self-defense purposes; and thus, have the accompanying Mano-a-Mano romance and history associated with this early period of American history. They are the Gentleman's counterpart to the Bowie knife but are many times rarer than their fixed blade counterparts.
This Eagle cross guard pearl handled dirk is very similar to one featured in the Sheffield Exhibition Knife Book on pages 210 211. That lock back 1830s dirk is the same 5 size, the identical cross guard, the same pearl scales and a very similar but different version of the Crown pommel. This pommel pattern is similar to the one in the book that is also known on another W crown R marked dirk (1830-37). All of the American motifs (Liberty & Union riband, Federal Eagle, field of stars, olive branches, Liberty cap, Scales of Justice, et al) are en suite, and intended to appeal to an American Patriotic Gentleman of means.
This was a very expensive accouterment at the time, that only a wealthy gentleman could afford. Sheffield knives were completely hand forged, hand ground, hand fitted & hand polished by Master Craftsmen who toiled at the same job for decades, using only simple hand tools. Sheffield was the acknowledged Knife Capitol of the World then, and for several previous centuries.
Until America begin to impose tariffs on imported Sheffield knives in the early 1890's to encourage American cutlery makers, 95% of all knives in America were made in Sheffield. During this period, many of these Cutlery Craftsmen were immigrants from Sheffield and emigrated the U. And were hired by American firms. This Folding Dirk was made in Sheffield for the burgeoning American Market and intended for a well-to-do gentleman to use as a self-defense primary or backup weapon. During the early 19th century there was little law and order, and it was "every man for himself".
Men were often at risk of being waylaid by thugs, ner' do goods, thieves, robbers, and bandits; and typically carried a cap and ball percussion pistol for self-protection. These early folding dirk knives were made only as a self-defense weapon for personal protection, and were completely hand forged, hand ground and hand fitted, using only the simplest of hand tools. Gentlemen would typically carry a brace of single shot percussion pistols which were prone to misfiring. Thus, gentlemen would also typically carry a folding knife in their pocket or vest, and sometimes a less expensive fixed blade dirk or Bowie knife as a side arm on their belt as a backup self-defense weapon. The American revolver wasn't invented until 1836 by Samuel Colt.
This Patterson model revolver and was very expensive at the time, and revolvers were not in general use in American until the Colt Baby Dragoon pocket model was introduced in 1848; followed shortly by the popular Model 1849. Almost all cutlery in American at this time was imported from Sheffield, United Kingdom. This rare Sheffield early 19th Century Folding lock back Dirk weapon is unmarked with no hot stamping on the ricasso as is most often found on Sheffield knives. Unmarked Sheffield made knives are uncommon, with about 95% of all Sheffield knives being marked.Other unmarked knives were purposefully left unmarked and destined for export to America where retailers would either cold stamp (or sometimes etch) their Retail mark on the ricasso, and / or add patriotic slogans; mostly before and during the U. Other unmarked knives were made for English domestic use and were not marked. Other examples were produced by one of the many Cutler firms from acquired blade blanks and other parts during the many acquisitions, mergers, and buyouts during the 1830 1865 period. This Dirk is overall is 8 7/8" long open, with a single edged 3 7/8" long spear shaped dirk blade. The blade back and adjoining locking lever are level and have the same patina. The Master pin is original, seated properly in the German silver collar, and has natural aging. The blade has been very lightly and properly sharpened, with very little evidence of use. When you run you finger over the sharpened edge, there are no nicks to the blade, and the blade retains its full tip. At some time, the blade has been lightly cleaned of the scattered light natural occurring aging on both sides and a couple of small areas of pitting, mostly on the non-display side. This is expected for a knife that is 180+ years old; yet much of the orginal Crocus of Iron signature Sheffield polish remains and is easily visibly when the blade is turned in the light.
Some Folding lock back dirk weapons saw decades of use, and were carried in the Mexican American War, the Civil War by Military Officers, and by Sporting Gents, Gamblers and Gentlemen of means. The early, very desirable, and top of the line select Mother-of-Pearl scales are in very fine condition. All handle material shrinks over time, including Mother of Pearl.
This is especially true of early, 1830s knives. Natural aging is what typically causes cracks and chips to the pearl over time; along with the stress of the pins, causing naturally occurring age cracks or chips. Only a Master Cutler had the skill to set the pins in the delicate Mother of Pearl. One wrong hammer strike could crack or shatter the pearl when setting the pins: thus, ruining the Pearl cutters work. This dirk has 7 different German silver pins, the back spring pin, the Master blade pin, the pivot pin, the end pin, and the 3 scale pins.Large oysters were gathered by free divers created before the oceans became polluted. Besides the allure and luster of Mother of Pearl scales, this is one reason why early, 1830s pearl knives are so rare. The liners are brass, as are typical. The 1/8 thick Exhibition quality Mother of Pearl scales are in excellent+ condition with no cracks or chips. The escutcheon is inlaid into the Pearl with a parser (or bow fiddle) is attached with 2 tiny pins and is unengraved. The select Pearl has naturally occurring patterns that were specifically selected for their Exhibition quality. The soft Pearl has accumulated surface scratches from pocket wear and could be buffed to remove this slight dull appearance and restore the luster and iridescence of the pearl but has not been cleaned or polished. This pearl took 180 years to attain this untouched patina and has never been touched. It is easy to understand that if this knife were dropped even one time, the pearl scales would crack and shatter.
This demonstrates the piece has been well cared for overall for nearly 2 centuries. Not all Sheffield Folding Dirks were a lock back design such as this one, which are rarer, more desirable, and were more expensive to manufacture. The lock back feature is designed for safety; to prevent the blade from closing on the fingers while gripping the hilt during self-defense.
Lock back dirks with the 2 piece back springs required special tempering of the shorter back spring & special hand fitting of the delicate locking mechanism. The 2 piece back springs on lock back dirks were only about 2/3 the length of one piece back spring dirks; thus, adding to the weakness of the Main spring. The lower 2/3 of the spring acts as the only spring for the Master blade.The top 1/3 portion of the "back spring" is actually the lever & locking mechanism of the Master blade end to the lever that is not tempered to have any spring tension. The pin adjacent to the Union shield going through the top 1/3 of the "back spring" acts as a pivot pin for the top 1/3 of the "back spring" that is really just a rotating locking lever. Thus, even when new, these dirks with "2/3 length" back springs never had anywhere near the snap compared to the one piece back springs that are much longer, hand tempered differently, more reliable, and have a much stronger snap. It should also be noted that an 1830's dirk is 10 times rarer than an 1840's or 1850's folding lock back dirk. Most were carried daily and lived a long, hard life and saw a decade or two of daily use before the later 1840's or 1850's lock back dirks were manufactured. Folding Dirks were used as a primary or back up weapon before the more reliable cartridge revolvers became into use in the mid to late 1860's, and were carried as a concealed self-defense weapon even after carrying firearms was outlawed, well past the turn of the 20th century. This accounts for many of these old folders with delicate 2-piece, 2/3 length Master blade springs, levers and ricasso ends show wear and dont operate as they did when new. Many are sprung, worn, or have no snap at all. All Antique knives have their own characteristics and idiosyncrasies. As expected, this dirk has some wear, but does have a good back spring and snap. The blade locks properly and has a slight wiggle side to side of about 1/16 and forward and backward of about 1/8. This slight movement is caused by natural wear to the blade end and locking lever over time, along with naturally occurring slight weakening of the 2/3 length spring.
The blade unlocks properly and has a good snap. Because of this wear pattern, the blade closes into the hilt, and the tip stops about 3/16 above the edge of the hilt. The blade can easily be pushed into the hilt the last 1/8 with the blade fully closed having a 1/16 gap between the tip and hilt.This blade snap is very good considering the extreme age and actual use over decades. This is of no consequence to the overall presentation of the dirk, and could be remedied by an experience knife mechanic, but in my opinion, the knife is excellent condition overall, and should be left in as found condition. Many amateur restorers can ruin a good knife. The German silver mounts are hollow stamped, and lead filled. The liners are brass and as is typical of these cross guards, each of the Eagle wings are reinforced with a separate piece of brass. One of these small brass pieces on the. Back non display side quillon. Is missing with the lead filling showing. This makes no difference to the integrity of the wing but is mentioned to demonstrate genuine wear and this small piece is hard to notice unless you are looking for it. There are also small areas of the high points of the thin German silver mounts such as the high parts of the crown pommel that have pocket wear with the lead showing. The lead and German silver coloration are similar, so these small spots are hard to notice unless you look for them. The high points of the Eagles body appear to be partially pushed in with wear to the top field of stars. Note the images are several times larger than the actual item to show detail.
This fancy 1830's Folding Dirk is heavy for its size at 3.2 ounces or 92 grams; yet is a deadly self-defense weapon. This Early Sheffield Folding Lock back Dirk knife would be the centerpiece of most dirk collections and would make a handsome display piece in any knife, dirk, dagger, Folder, Bowie, edged weapon, Mexican American War, Civil War, gambling, Old West, Western Americana or Military Officer's accouterments collection; as well as an excellent Investment. Bill Williamson, the Well Known "Grandfather" of Bowie knife collecting, wrote that 95% of all early Sheffield knives were imported into America. In the United States of the 1830's, almost 100% of Folding Lock back self-defense weapons were imported from Sheffield.Given this American heritage and legacy, these folding dirks are 50 to 100 times rarer and more desirable than their fixed blade counterparts; but not 50 to 100 times the price. Considering their extreme rarity, an original, fancy, Eagle cross guard Pearl handled lock back dirk self-defense weapon is underpriced in the Market; if you can fine one for sale. This handsome Mother of Pearl investment piece is a top of the line for the discerning, connoisseur collector and is in lightly used and carried, and remains in excellent condition. Exceptions include holidays, power outages, and evacuations.
Claims such as doesn't match description or photos, doesn't seem authentic, Doesn't fit, Wrong item sent, Missing parts or pieces, Doesn't work or defective, Arrived damaged. Due to a myriad of International and U. Listing and template services provided by inkFrog. The item "FINE RARE & EARLY 1830's SHEFFIELD MOTHER OF PEARL FEDERAL EAGLE LOCK BACK DIRK" is in sale since Sunday, October 11, 2020.
This item is in the category "Collectibles\Knives, Swords & Blades\Collectible Folding Knives\Vintage Folding Knives\Factory Manufactured". The seller is "1knifeguy1" and is located in Fairfield, California.
This item can be shipped to United States.