Pritchard-Greener Revolver Bayonet

Trench raiding was a tactic developed by the British, although the French and Germans quickly caught on.  The weapons used during trench raids were famously gruesome with some men using maces, clubs and knives.  However, the most popular weapon was the pistol, closely followed by bombs or grenades.

In late 1916 Captain Arthur Pritchard, who had been serving with the Royal Berkshire Regiment in Flanders since 1915, developed the Pritchard Revolver Bayonet for the British Army’s standard issue pistol the Webley Mk VI.  The idea behind the weapon was that in the close-quarter hand to hand fighting frequently experienced during a trench raid a man equipped with a Webley might not have time to reload. Although the Webley was remarkably quick to reload – especially with speed loaders (pouch next to the officer’s holster image #2), it was thought that in a tight situation a short stabbing blade could be extremely useful.

British Trench Raiding Weapons c.1916 (source)

The Pritchard bayonet was a shortened French Gras rifle bayonet adapted to attach to the pistol’s barrel with the the cross guard behind the foresight with the base sitting against the frame, around the revolver’s cylinder cam, cam lever and joint/hinge pin screw.  The Gras blade was shortened to roughly 8 inches making the weapon’s overall length about 17 inches.

Pritchard initially brought his design before the famous sword and blade makers Wilkinson’s Sword Company however after making a prototype they passed on the idea.  It was the Birmingham gunmakers W.W. Greener which took on Captain Pritchard’s design believing their may be a real market for the weapon both privately and possibly as a wider army contract.

1874 Gras Rifle bayonet (source)

Greener produced two variants of the bayonet, one with a steel hilt and another more commonly seen variant with a brass grip (see above). The bayonet was undoubtedly a fearsome looking weapon which would have certainly had a psychological and possibly practical impact on any German soldier unlucky enough to come face to face with one (see the artist’s impression above, image #2).

The Pritchard-Greener Revolver Bayonet was never widely manufactured and was not a commercial success.  Exactly why is unclear although practically speaking the blade would have made the revolver muzzle heavy.  It is estimated that as few as 200 were actually produced. There is no direct evidence to suggest any ever reached the Western Front or were used.

The demand created by arms and militaria collectors over the last 30 years means that thousands of copies and replica Pritchard Bayonets have been manufactured.

Sources:

Image One Source
Image Two Source
Image Three Source
The Webley Service Revolver, R. Maze, (2012)

via historicalfirearms

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Coloring Damascus Knives: How it’s Done

Originally posted on http://www.knifeblog.com

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You know that show How It’s Made? They need an ongoing series of that stuff for the knife industry. On a daily basis around here at Blade HQ, we scratch our heads at the products coming in and wonder to ourselves, “How did they do that?” One such case is colored Damascus. We’ve got some answers on this one, but before we dive into colors, it’s important to understand a bit about how Damascus knife steel is made: In short, various bar stock steels are welded together and attached to a metal handle of sorts. The craftsman throws the bar stock into a forge for a bit, then removes them and begins to blend the steels via a power hammer or forge press. You can watch this video to get a better idea of the process:

But what about colored Damascus steel? Particularly, how does the Vallotton family create the patterns and designs in their ridiculously wild custom Damascus knives? It was surprisingly difficult to find anything on how colored Damascus is made. Fortunately we know so people in the industry, so we went straight to the source and called up the Vallottons. This family of knife makers is extremely talented and they’ve turned coloring Damascus into a science– an unsurprising feat, considering Rainy Vallotton has been in the industry for 22 years now.

There are different ways to go about coloring Damascus, but here’s how it’s done the Vallotton way.

Damascus Steel Knife Coloring Process

Stainless steel doesn’t take color when heated, so the Vallottons use high carbon steel with the addition of nickel for their colored Damascus. Nickel is great to use because while the high carbon changes color when exposed to high temperatures, nickel does not. Instead, it will turn a gold-like color and create a beautiful contrast to the newly colored steel.

After the Damascus blade has been heat-treated, it needs to be polished and then cleaned with soap and water.  Once the blade is dry, it’s ready for a color change. The Vallottons recently changed from using a heat bluing process over to salt bluing, and they use a propane turkey fryer for this part. The fryer is filled with salts and is heated up to about 560 degrees.

(Photos are courtesy of the Vallottons.)

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Then, the blade is dropped into the fryer until it reaches the desired color. This type of steel typically can range in color from bronze to light blue.

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The end result of salt bluing is a truly unique and beautiful blade.

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Another Perspective

Some of you may have seen Blade Brothers pop up on our Facebook page a while back, and they happen to do some Damascus coloring, too. Watch this clip to see how they color Damascus. (They introduce it at around 11:30 in the clip, and they show the finished product around 16:20.)