English Helmet-head Plug Bayonet, Last Quarter 17th C
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About this item
As far as is known, the plug bayonet was solely used for the military in England and first
appeared around 1660, however, not gaining widespread acceptance until the reign of
James II (1685-1688). It had a relatively short working life in England, being obsolete and
replaced by the socket bayonet by about 1715. This example features straight cast brass
guard with the finials in the shape of a helmeted head. Brass pommel decorated ensuite,
with base ferrule capping the tapering turned walnut grip; brass ferrule at the base. The
helmet head series of English plug bayonets were made during the reign of James II and
William & Mary, and followed the Classical fashion of that period. Tapering straight 11 1/4"
single-edged blade, the last 5" double-edged, stamped on one side with a side-facing
King’s Head mark (KH18 in R.D.C. Evans’ “The Plug Bayonet”). While the King’s Head
was a mark used by Solingen makers Weyersberg and Wundes, this mark is clearly
different, as all the German Kings Head marks are left facing profiles, whereas this one is
right facing. Associated brown leather scabbard stamped “B. WAY” on one side, the other
with old ink inscription reading “A/Present/from/George Hines(?)/about/1656". This date
predates the bayonet by about 30 years, so it is either in error, or does not refer to this
bayonet. Bayonet about 3/8" short of fitting all the way into the scabbard, possibly due to
leather shrinkage. Overall length 17 1/4", not including scabbard. Similar examples
illustrated in “The Plug Bayonet” by R.D.C. Evans.
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