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Original British Revolutionary War Military Belt, Bag & Boarding Axe Tomahawk * For Sale
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Original British Revolutionary War Military Belt, Bag & Boarding Axe Tomahawk *:
This is an original tomahawk made 1760-75 in unused condition. Not a reproduction. Please do your research using historical facts referenced below before purchasing, or I am happy to answer questions. They make great gifts for collectors and historians.
Small axes like this were carried by 18th century colonial American farmers, militia, trappers, and Native Americans as tools and weapons. In the 1750's newly formed British Light Infantry units in colonial America were issued belt axes, carried below the bayonet scabbard on cross belts, replacing a sword, or in their packs. American patriots often carried them, having discovered their usefulness for fighting in wilderness areas during the French and Indian (Seven Years 1756-63) and Revolutionary Wars (1775-83).
With the founding of the British East India Company in 1600, India made tools of all kinds during the 17th and 18th centuries. The British marketed India made iron tools in colonial America until 1775. At the start of the Revolutionary War, the American colonial states stopped British sales of tomahawks and axes. But India had axes in inventory unsold and unused. After the Revolutionary War, America's fledgling foundries began making their own axes to meet domestic demand.
I located and imported a very small cache of antique military tomahawks with handles in an old warehouse for centuries (see last photo showing axes as found). They remained from an over-run, unfulfilled or canceled 18th century supply order from British colonial merchants in America prior to 1776.
These were hand forged in the mid 18th century with a beautiful age darkened Brazilian rosewood 16" flat handle (for belt carry) and exactly the same in construction and form as products from the Philip Skene Foundry in colonial New York State, Zane in VA, as well as other colonial merchants. Colonel Skene was a Scottish officer in the British army stationed in colonial America during the French & Indian (Seven Years) Wars, then became a prosperous merchant, owning a sawmill, iron foundry, and most of the property in his small town in upstate New York. At the start of the Revolutionary War, he lost his assets and returned to England in 1777. He purchased a Colonels rank, and served as aide to British General Burgoyne through the war. Skene supplied weapons like this, spike tomahawks, axes, cannonballs, and other forged products to the British and to colonial militias from 1759 until 1776.
An axe of the exact same type was found in the archaeology of VA ship Dragon 1777-80), sunk by traitor Benedict Arnold's British troops. That one was attributed to the Zane foundry in Frederick County VA. (see photos) These were kept on board naval ships to cut away burning rigging or wood, or as a weapon.
After collecting and studying 18th century blades for fifty years, I believe it is accurate to state that these type of axe heads were sold all over colonial North America just prior to the Revolution in 1775. Handles were locally fitted, it seems. Manufacture of these India forged axes stopped about that time because of import and sales restrictions on British merchants in America at the start of hostilities that year. As happened to Skene, their assets were seized by local colonial American Revolutionary governments. These were part of the inventory that belonged to the maker at that time. These are mid-1700's axes and handles destined for colonial America. You will receive the item photographed for this listing.
The 4 1/2" long head is a duplicate of known 18th century Skene (NY) and the Zane (VA) foundry tomahawk heads. It has not been cleaned or sharpened and is coated in its original old grease. It is forged, not cast, with file and wheel grinding traces on the edges.
To further support my research, you can "Google" Philip Skene tomahawk for more photo images and information on this enterprising Revolutionary War Loyalist, merchant, and soldier.
The original rare Brazilian rosewood handle is soaked in old grease with some mildew staining. I recommend Kramer's Best Antique Improver if you care to clean and restore it. Use as directed and it really deepens the red color of this beautiful antique wood. Rosewood has is very dense and rich in oils and the wood lasts forever if stored indoors. These last examples are from the very bottom of a neat stack and we're protected from moisture and grime.
NOTE: The last photos show similar axes from various colonial American archaeology sites, old collections, and foundries in my collection. The heads are exactly the same and handles vary. Conditions are not as nice as my offerings because of storage and archaeology conditions.
From a violin maker who purchased two: "I can tell that the rosewood is old by the way it absorbed the linseed oil. Rosewood has a lot of natural oil and it takes many years for the wood to be as absorbent as this handle is. And I applied the linseed oil thick and thinned. Normal rosewood requires thinning the linseed to aid in penetration."
Please study the photos carefully for visible condition. There are very few of these remaining, literally a handful and there will be no more.
I will supply a signed Letter Of Authenticity including these historical references with each purchase. Enjoy the photos and
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