British Naval Midshipman's Hanger. MOLE Circa 1835

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This rare naval midshipman’s hanger dates to around 1820-1840 and is in effect a throwback to the pre-cutlass days of the Royal Navy. The period from which this hanger dates was a time of much change and uncertainty amongst manufacturers, with several new patterns of cutlass being proposed as replacements for the 1804 double disk pattern. These patterns were often accepted by the Board of ordnance and then summarily rejected as soon as an alternative pattern was suggested. All before the manufacturers were able to produce any. Finally, in the early 1840’s a new pattern of naval cutlass was proposed and accepted. This cutlass went into production and is today recognised as the pattern 1845 naval cutlass. During this time of uncertainty, two Birmingham cutlers are known to have produced a small number of curved hangers conforming to the pattern of this example. These cutlers were J & R Mole and James Boydell, trading as the Oak Farm Company. It is unclear as to whether hangers of this pattern were produced as examples for the Board of ordnance and Admiralty or whether they were intended for private purchase by merchant sailors.

The 446mm curved blade has a single edge and flat spine terminating in a hatchet point. The blade has a three-quarter length narrow fuller below the spine. The service sharpened blade retains a fighting edge and is in excellent condition retaining its original polish with minimal speckles of tarnish. The blade spine is stamped with the maker’s name, “MOLE.” The Birmingham firm of J & R Mole is known to have produced this style of hanger around 1835. The forte of the blade is stamped with the letter K over the numeral 4.

The brass hilt has an elongated s-shape cross piece with domed languets and inverted disk quillons. The pommel is in the form of a forward facing lion mask. The grip is of ridged bone and is in great condition with a good patina. The blade is firm in the hilt.

This is a great example of a rare maker marked naval hanger dating to around 1835.


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