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Crisp British Pattern 1853 Enfield Socket Bayonet by Hill & Son

Crisp British Pattern 1853 Enfield Socket Bayonet by Hill & Son

  • Product Code: EWB-2598
  • Availability: In Stock
  • $175.00


This is a very nice and very crisp example of the British Pattern 1853 Socket Bayonet for use with the Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle Musket. The ricasso of the blade is marked with the {CROWN}/B/12 of Board of Ordnance inspector #12 located in Birmingham. The bayonet is also clearly stamped in a single line with the name of the contractor that delivered it: S. HILL & SON. A pair of opposed capital G marks are present where the blade joins the shank. Typically letters in this location indicate the bayonet itself was produced on the Continent, either in Solingen (Prussia) or Liège (Belgium). It was not uncommon for Birmingham cutlers to rely upon blades produced in Solingen or Liège to help deliver large contracts in a timely fashion. Sometimes rough blades were also delivered, with the Birmingham contractor doing the final finishing. The socket of the bayonet is engraved with the “rack number” 37/307. Typically, this would indicate 37thRegiment and bayonet #307. As there is not a British War Department WD/{Broad Arrow} mark on the blade it would suggest that the bayonet was used by British colonial troops or a colonial militia. As “the sun never set on the British Empire” during the mid-19th Century, it is impossible to know where this socket bayonet may have seen service.

 

The firm of S. Hill & Son was initially established by Stephen Hill in Birmingham sometime around 1830 at 35-36 Pritchett Street. Hill was listed at the time as a sword blade and bayonet maker and supplied these items to the Birmingham trade. In 1849 the firm became S. Hill & Son and would remain in business under that name and at the same location through 1855. During this period the company became a major contractor to the British Board of Ordnance as a socket bayonet supplier. The company was one of the seven contractors initially contracted with to provide the newly adopted Pattern 1851 socket bayonet for the Pattern 1851 Minié Rifle in 1852. They would receive at least a portion of all three P1851 bayonet contracts, producing 4,684 of the bayonets during that year. The following year the new Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle Musket was adopted and again, Hill & Son were one of the seven contractors to receive a portion of the initial contract for 20,020 socket bayonets. They would deliver the largest part of that contract, producing 4,220 bayonets. The next largest delivery under this first contract was by the well-known Birmingham firm of William Deakin & Son, who produced 4,100. The third and fourth largest deliveries under this contract were 3,400 and 3,080 by J. Roe & Co and Salter & Co, respectively. Hill & Son also developed an improvement to the Pattern 1853 Enfield Socket Bayonet’s locking ring in 1853, but chief of ordnance George Lovell declined to adopt it due to a slight increase in the overall unit cost of each bayonet, if the improvement was incorporated into the production process.

 

The bayonet complies to the normal nominal dimensions for the Pattern 1853 socket bayonet. The bayonet is 20 ¾” in overall length with a 17 ¾” blade that is .843” wide at the ricasso. The 3” socket has a muzzle diameter of .785” with a 1.23” muzzle-to-stud distance. The stud mortise is .279” wide at the rear of the socket, narrowing to .264” wide at its termination, just forward of the locking ring. The socket dimensions are provided as these handmade bayonets were not interchangeable and were fit to each individual rifle musket. They rarely interchange, so providing the dimensions might make it easier to determine if it might fit your gun.

 

The bayonet is a very crisp example that remains in about VERY GOOD+ to NEAR FINE condition. The bayonet is full length and remains extremely sharp at the tip. It is 100% complete and retains the original locking ring and tension screw. The blade of the bayonet has a medium pewter gray patina that retains traces of its arsenal bright polish, with scattered surface oxidation and discoloration that gives the blade a somewhat mottled appearance. The blade is almost entirely smooth with no pitting present but does have some scattered patches of minor surface roughness here and there. The socket and shank retain about 30%+ of their original blued finish, which has thinned and faded and exposed some of the metal beneath. The areas where the finish has thinned and worn have a medium pewter gray patina, with some of the thinned blue taking on a plum brown coloration. The locking ring functions smoothly and shows slightly more finish loss than the balance of the socket. The metal remains almost entirely smooth, with only some lightly scattered surface freckling and lightly oxidized surface roughness here and there. 

 

Overall, this is a very attractive example of the classic Enfield marked Pattern 1853 socket bayonet. It would be the perfect companion to your early British military Enfield rifle musket, especially one in that is in particularly crisp and retains some blue or had a nice plum patina. As the firm that produced the bayonet went out of business in 1855, this bayonet would be particularly appropriate for a Type I or Type II P1853 on any Crimean War era Enfields.

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Tags: Crisp, British, Pattern, 1853, Enfield, Socket, Bayonet, by, Hill, &, Son