Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Rapiers vs. Sabers

At first glance the differences between sabers and a rapiers appear obvious. Although both are one handed swords, the shape of the blade and how it is used are vastly different. Let's take a closer look at these fascinating blades.

Rapiers are straight, thrust-oriented swords. Athough it is not common, there are historical examples of the top third of the blade being sharpened and honed to a fine edge so that the blade can double as a draw cut specialist increasing the usefulness of this type of blade.  They are double edged generally, and often have some form of basket hilt of bent bars, stamped metal, D guard or other full hand protection offering an extra level of safety for the hand. With a reputation for being both elegant and deadly, rapiers came to prominence in the early European Renaissance and were made famous with movies and books like the Three Musketeers and Robin Hood. While the rapier sword made an excellent thrusting weapon, it was also adept at cutting and many martial art styles focused on inflicting several cut wounds on an opponent causing them to fatigue or perish from loss of blood. While thicker and longer versions dubbed "battle rapiers" existed for use in prolonged combat, the rapier saw the most popularity as a civilian blade. A status symbol for nobility and the weapon of choice for settling heated disputes. There were so many duels fought in France a law needed to be passed outlawing the practice.  Too many good fighters were dying and getting hurt which is not a good thing when soldiers are needed while contemplating war with England.  In this way the rapier preceded what would come to be known as the "court sword" which is a sign of nobility and honor.

As for the saber, this sword was usually curved and is more of a cut-oriented blade. Single edged, but frequently has the back edge of the blade near the tip sharpened to make piercing easier. Some hand protection ranging from a metal bar to a more complete shell guard can be found in examples of this sword. Sabers and their curved shape evolved from Eastern blades where the style was prominent. Although the sword was adopted by civilians in some cases, the saber largely remained a military weapon.  The most beloved swords in military history were the sabers of Napoleon, Wellington, Robert E. Lee, Grant and others.  So efficient was this shape at cutting bone, flesh and even chain mail that the east adopted it early in history as the preferred battle sword of its day.  Genghis Khan, the prophet Mohammed and many emirs treasured such blades for court use, directing the military and for cutting down foes.  They could be used extremely well in trained hands from horseback making them a decisive weapon before projectile weapons took over the battlefield.

To conclude a saber evolved from Eastern origins and favored heavy cuts and slashes, while the European styled rapier used it's finesse to effectively thrust and slice at opponents. While neither of these swords was restricted to these types of cuts, a clear preference can be seen.

Get in Gear with Steampunk Costumes for Halloween!

Want to really wow at your next big Halloween party? For the best looks and the most visual appeal hardly anything beats good steampunk. Whether designed as a rugged sky pirate or regal steam socialite, steampunk costumes can cover the whole spectrum. It's a great choice for any age range as well! Ladies can dare to bare in leather corsets like the Leather Underbust Corset and stunning skirts such as the Engineer Skirt.

You could also embrace the refined look of a full length dress like the Empire Woman's Steampunk Gown or perhaps a fashionable German Airship Tailcoat. The men certainly aren't lacking for options either! 

Sleeveless doublets and vests like the Regent Street Vest showcase your physique can easily be paired with an elegant Clockwork Shirt with Cravat and then topped off with an exquisitely handsome Skyship Long Coat. That's just getting started!

One of the most entertaining aspects of steampunk are steampunk accessories! Adorned with gears and playful moving parts Museum Replicas has steampunk everything! Jewelry, goggles, hats, boots, canes, non firing blasters, parasols, telescopes and that is barely scratching the surface of the gadgets and devices! The Onyx Lace Choker is very popular with this year and works well in other styles of costume as well, where as the Electrical Telegraph Finger Tapper Ring is clearly and proudly steampunk all the way. Choose the Flying Goggles for an authentic vintage look or go with the Cybersteam Googles for a more flashy feel.

A Victorian Coachman's Top Hat is the prominent style for steampunk Halloween costume ideas and for the price it is certainly hard to beat! If boring footwear has plagued you, steampunk had the cure! Pairs like the Eiffel Pump are seriously stylish.

With our series of sword canes now produced as venue friendly walking sticks, you don't have to worry about being welcome strolling in with your Phantom Walking Cane. That doesn't mean leaving yourself defenseless though, the Martian Hand Blaster will surely keep the beasts of other planets at bay! Let's admit though that it can be a little hot out in the sun when in a full steampunk costume. That's where carrying something like the Black Skulls and Scrolls Parasol can be a real saving grace.

With all the effort that's going into these outfits it's reasonable to want to be able to see it all! Telescoping items like the Folding Oculator Encompassor Opera Glasses w/ Compass will help you there while adding a level of gadgetry for fun. While it might be hard to carry all these extra items, our Steampunk Utility Belt is a great way to keep your pants up and take your items with you. It has multiple pouches and a place for your saber too! There are so many great items at Museum Replicas that we know you'll find something to help with your Halloween costume ideas. The amount of steampunk costumes for sale is simply astounding. But don't just take our word for it, come in and see for yourself!

Great Ideas for Men's Pirate Costumes.

Guys, are you looking for more Halloween costume ideas? One of the timeless, tried and true outfits to consider is that of a dashing pirate! Museum Replicas collection of men's pirate costumes is certainly vast, ready to outfit the most prestigious captain to the lowest scallywag. One of the best reasons to put together a pirate costume this year is that it doesn't have to be just for Halloween! The story book pirate enjoys a lot more acceptance than they did so many years ago. Making their appearance at Renaissance Festivals almost a requirement. A pirate costume is also absolutely necessary if you ever plan on enjoying the coastal pirate themed parties that have sprung up across the globe. For instance the Gasparilla Pirate Festival takes place every year and brings thousands of pirate enthusiasts! When putting together a man's pirate costume you can go the individual route and make a persona all your own, or you can embody one of the many already famous pirate figures both real and fictional! Edward Teach, better known as the pirate captain Black Beard, is a popular choice and MRL gives you a head start with the Blackbeard's Coat.

If fantasy pirates hold more interest for you, there are options like the popular mascot Capt. Morgan or the villainous Captain Hook, both looks that you can get a jump on with the Captain Morgan Coat

More iconic than a pirates fabric is probably the awesome head pieces that come with the territory. A simple Pirate Bandana or High Seas Stocking Cap can get the job done but something that blocks the suns rays usually wins out. Of course tricorns rule the day with prime examoles such as the Gov'nah Tricorn HatCapt.Jack Tricorn HatPirate King Leather TricornSkull and Crossbones LeatherTricorn and many more! But being a pirate doesn't have to mean dressing to the nines. 

The Pirate Vest and Scoundrel Long Pirate Vest enable you to enjoy the look without having to sweat for it. A simple Sea Dog Shirt or Tortuga Shirt will have the top half of an outfit ready to go. Of course dressing the top and not the bottom will have you looking out of place and possibly quite inappropriate. MRL has plenty of options that perfectly embody the visage of privateer. Trousers like the Tortuga PantsWayfarer Pants and apply named Pirate Pants were literally made for this role. Pull it all together with a good belt, perhaps the Wide Pirate Belt or Pirate King Belt and then you just need matching boots! Our footwear selection is especially large at this point. Journeyman's BootsCaptain BootsHigh Seas Boots, and Caribbean Rogue Boots are all ready to embody the life of glory and plunder. All these options and that's just scratching the surface of what we have to offer! There are many more items to see like sashes, handsome dummy pistols, eye patches, hooks and of course, pirate swords! We've tried to make your pirate costume shopping as easy as possible and even gathered the products into one big Pirate Category! So make a costume worth your salt, for this year and many more, by shopping Museum Replicas!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Clements #19 The Glorious Geometry of Swords

The sword is a product of the wonderful harmony of shape and proportion ergonomically refined by generations of violent trial and error. It represents an achievement of forging deadly utility of form from earnest function. It expresses mastery of the mysteries of hand-working nature’s iron into man’s steel. As an instrument it evokes both a challenge to rediscover it's artistry of creation and recover its artistry of application.

After handling literally hundreds of antique specimens of real historical swords and hundreds of replicas of all quality and accuracy and training in the authentic source teachings for almost four decades now, I take a particular view towards appreciating the subtle geometry of fighting blades. The qualities that make them handle and perform, inflict impacts with edge and penetrate with point, as well as ward off or deflect forceful blows is what it's all about for me.

In particular, the swords of Western Europe from ancient times through the Medieval and Renaissance eras reflect a certain awareness of Euclidean geometry. Just how much of the proportion and dimensions of their design is a deliberate matter of a craftsman’s intention and how much may be a matter of subjective pattern recognition on our part today is the question. 

It's possible to look at a sword and make judgements about its proportions and infer relationships between them that may or may not really be there. It's possible to take near infinite measurements of a sword's shape and cross-section to then imagine we can deduce the conscious intentions of its maker. But whatever or not was known about geometry by a historical swordsmith and how it might then have been applied to any single specimen or model, the end goal was to make a durable and effective fighting weapon. A blade was only deemed of value if it could reliably serve its user in combat.

It's easy enough to make a replica copy of a historical sword by looking at a side profile of its blade and then matching its hilt components. But to do it right the hilt of the original should be detached to look at the tang and the blade itself should be turned in every dimension, especially edge on, so that its three-dimensional cross-sectional differential can be closely replicated. This full profile —intended to meet a specific function— is what a good bladesmith achieved with his knowledge and skill. Along with overall shape and length, the variety of fullers, shallows, spines, and risers that were historically used in blade profiles is absolutely enormous. Any such profile will differ from blade to blade over the centuries and even within the same historical period. Many achieve the very same results through distinctively different compositions. But whatever a blade’s profile, it ultimately had to be fitted with a handle and grip as well as some kind of guard configuration that together optimized its manner of use in combat. An awareness of this was surely factored into the blade’s design itself. It's not difficult to see how this choice would have reflected some notion of a harmonious geometric relationship to the finished piece. It's impossible to say if doing so was a matter of aesthetics, practicality, or a little of both. 

We may notice geometric elements in some Medieval and Renaissance swords and wonder to what degree they may have been by conscious design according to some philosophical assumption or else merely serendipitous of the kinesthetic elements of tool use. Perhaps the most important thing about the geometry of swords is the most obvious yet most easily overlooked: design is a direct factor of their ability to inflict wounds and defend against them. Having tested, experimented on, trained with, broken, and explored the use of all manner of ethnographic sword forms for many years —cutting, thrusting, slicing, and warding with them— I can attest with certainty to this fundamental truth. …But what of it? All I can say is that, when it comes to swords there is more than one way to achieve an effective fighting blade.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Owning your own suit of armor

Few things can stand out in your home as much as a full suit of armor. No matter what style of culture or what age is originates from, a suit of armor really draws the eye. There are numerous reasons to want a complete suit to grace your home. You could want it for the reassurance of personal protection. If a zombie outbreak comes around you'll be better prepared than the guy without it, that's for sure. Another reason to own such a commanding display is to honor your heritage. Many people like to pay homage to their ancestors who would have donned such gleaming suits before a battle. Still others might be interested in the mystic majesty that emanates from these silent sentinels. Who hasn't seen a movie or show that had corridors lined with full suits of armor that sprang to life in times of need? Realistically that won't happen, but it can provide a comforting thought or two. Museum Replicas carries FIVE different suits of armor for sale, ready to stand vigil in the home of a new lord or lady. The Royal Armoury in Madrid, has one of the biggest and richest collections of armours in the world, and contains pieces principally of the 16th century age of Carlos I. This is where Marto takes it's inspiration reproducing them in materials very similar to the original ones and Museum Replicas proudly offers these suits of armor for the private owner. So if you are looking to adorn your home with one of these fantastic sets, whether it be for protection, costuming, tribute or just fun, check them out on the Museum Replicas (MRL) website!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Hand and a Half Swords – Excellence in Versatility

Hand-and-a-half swords developed around the mid-15th century and were used well into the 16th century. They featured long handles with “half-grips” and so could be wielded with one hand or two. The typically tapered blades were longer than arming swords but did not possess the double-hand grips of heavier war-swords. Perhaps because hand-and-a-half swords did not legitimately belong to either of these sword “families,” they were also known as bastard swords.

The blades might have been either flat or narrow for fighting plate-armored opposition. While some were ideal for cutting, others were good for thrusting. The handles featured "waist" and "bottle" shapes for practical purposes. For instance, the "waist" shape had a wider center and tapered towards the pommel, enabling greater control of the weapon by one hand or two.

 Hand-and-a-half swords also made use of different techniques, some of which varied appreciably. One technique was “pommeling” or “palming” where the palm of one hand partially held the rounded pommel, facilitating greater reach. This style was a complete opposite of another where the index finger of one hand wrapped around the cross guard. The second technique helped to thrust the sword into armor openings with better accuracy. But, it also exposed the fingers, leading to the development of the compound hilt which protected the hand against attacks by thrusting strokes. 

Explore a range of historical and fantasy hand-and-a-halfswords. Also, you can check out this blog post for information on longswords and two-handed swords.