(click to enlarge)
|Early Colonial Socket Bayonet||Socket bayonet for a .75–.80 caliber flintlock musket.
2.562 in. (65 mm.) socket with seam under the classic shank attachment shield. L-mortise cut for a bottom bayonet mounting stud. Very heavy for its size, suggesting that it is likely made of iron.
It is very difficult to date early Colonial Period bayonets. They were made in small numbers by local blacksmiths, without benefit of gauges and other production tooling common to European manufacture. As a result, no two are alike.
Colonial Militias began forming in the 1730s. Because early militias focused primarily on defending settlements against Indian attack, the production and procurement of bayonets was spotty, at best. The more established militias, such as in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, are documented as having bayonets by the 1750s. However, by 1775, when the Revolutionary War began in earnest, only about half of Massachusetts Bay Colony muskets were equipped with bayonets.
The forward-sweeping shank, flattened triangular blade profile, and applied socket construction point to the French & Indian War or early Revolution Period (1755–1775). The example below is more typical of bayonets produced during the Revolutionary War, when locally-made bayonets tended to more closely copy official British or French designs.
The blade measures 0.875 in. (22 mm.) wide. The muzzle length is 1.0625 in. (27 mm.).
|Colonial Socket Bayonet||Socket bayonet for use with a .75 caliber flintlock musket.
Blacksmith-made copy of a British Early Land Pattern Brown Bess socket bayonet. The mortise is cut for a bottom bayonet mounting stud.
Although crude by European standards, this bayonet is a fairly refined example of the non-regulation bayonets made during the Revolutionary War. This example probably dates from 1770–1780.
The socket measures 3.625 in. (92 mm.) long. The blade measures 1.165 in. (30 mm.) wide. The muzzle length is 1.11 in. (28 mm.).
|Springfield Pattern 1807||Socket bayonet for use with the .69 caliber Springfield "Charleville" musket.
A clone of the French M1763 musket, the Charleville was the first musket type produced at Springfield Armory, following its founding in 1795.
Prior to creation of the Ordnance Department, in 1812, military small arms manufacturing lacked the organization and standardization that is generally associated with U.S. arms. Nomenclature around bayonets produced 1795–1815 is somewhat uncertain, due to lack of standardization and almost continual introduction of design changes.
Schmidt identifies this bayonet as the Springfield Pattern 1807, which was produced from 1807–09. Earlier references may refer to this bayonet as the M1808.
The Pattern 1807 was the first U.S. socket bayonet to have a bridge. The bridge strengthened the rear of the socket against the tendency to spread apart and cause the bayonet to dismount. As can be seen in the third picture at left, the bridge was almost paper thin. Subsequent bayonets, such as the M1816 below, had a more substantial bridge.
In addition, the Pattern 1807 bayonet was the first U.S. bayonet to feature a face flute. As seen in the picture at left, the face flute was only about 5.00 in. (127 mm.) long and was very narrow.
This example was made in 1809, owing to the diameter of the neck. In 1809, the neck diameter was increased from 0.360 in. (9.1 mm.) to 0.435–0.450 in. (11.0-11.4 mm.). This example's neck measures .460 in. (11.7 mm.). In 1810, Springfield introduced a longer socket (3.40 in. (86 mm.) vs. 2.70 in. (69 mm.) on this example).
The only marking is a reference number that would also have been stamped on the musket's bayonet stud. 1809 was prior to the introduction of interchangeable parts, so each musket was produced as a "stand-of-arms," with its own bayonet.
|M1816||Socket bayonet for use with the .69 caliber U.S. M1816 flintlock musket.
The M1816 had a very long production period, from 1818 to 1840. Early examples were left in the white, while later examples were browned. Both Springfield and Harper's Ferry Armories produced the M1816.
The M1816 introduced the distinctive T-mortise. The point was also unique, resembling the prow of a boat. No other US bayonet type was pointed this way. There is an abbreviated face flute, extending about 9 in. (230 mm.) back of the point. The socket length is 3 in. (76 mm.).
This example was made at the Springfield Armory, likely between 1827–1831, by bayonet forger Timothy Allen (based on period records, the initials accompanying the arsenal mark correspond those of the bayonet forger). Beginning in 1827, the neck diameter was increased from 0.435–0.460 in. (11.0–11.7 mm.) to 0.460–0.500 in. (11.7-12.7 mm.). This example's neck measures .472 in. (12.0 mm.). Beginning in 1832, inspectors placed their initials on the neck, rather than using a punch mark on the blade (each inspector put the punch mark in a different location). This example has the punch mark after the "US" arsenal mark.
I obtained this example from an older gentleman, who purchased it in the early 1960s from the famous Francis Bannerman Sons military surplus dealer of New York.
|16.25||413||19.25||489||.845||21.5||Ricasso: "US." over "TA"|
|M1819||Socket bayonet for use with the .52 caliber M1819 breech loading rifle designed and patented by Captain John H. Hall.
The unique offset bridge is diagnostic of the M1819 bayonet, required due to the rifle’s sights being offset to the left in order to facilitate operation of the breech block. This example has rounded blade shoulders, rather than the more commonly-encountered scalloped shoulders. Face flute measures 7.50 in. (191 mm.). Socket length is 2.937 (75 mm.); Muzzle length is 1.10 in. (28 mm.).
A total of 29,593 M1819 (flintlock) and M1841 (percussion) Hall’s Patent breech loading rifles were produced between 1823–1842. 19,680 at Harper’s Ferry Arsenal and 5,700 by Connecticut contractor, Simeon North. The M1819 was the first breech loading military rifle produced in quantity and was the first rifled U.S. military arm to mount a bayonet.
The M1819 rifle was beautifully engineered and worked reasonably well. It was reliable and produced a vastly higher rate of fire than any musket of the period, all with the superior accuracy of a rifle. That said, troops found firing the M1819 unpleasant due to gas leakage around the breechblock. Although detrimental in many respects, gas leakage served to rid the action of powder fouling, enabling 20 or 30 shots before cleaning vs. 3 or 4 shots for a muzzle loading rifle. However, the firer received the escaping gas in the face and downward toward their trigger hand, something most could simply not get used to. As a consequence, M1819 rifles mostly sat in storage. The lock, breechblock, and trigger were a single, easily-removable assembly that could be loaded and fired (kind of a makeshift pocket pistol).
The M1819 rifle was the first truly assembly-line military rifle with fully-interchangeable parts. The production line that Hall created at Harpers Ferry was mechanized to an unprecedented level, which enabled use of unskilled labor (boys) and resulted in parts exhibiting previously unachievable levels of precision and uniformity. Hall’s innovative machines and processes fathered the American System of Manufacturing. The Hall breech loading mechanism paved the way for development of the Spencer, Sharps, and other successful breech loading rifles and carbines of the U.S. Civil War.
|15.812||402||18.75||476||.785||19.9||Ricasso: single punch mark|
|Type I U.S. Fencing Bayonet||U.S. Fencing Bayonet used with the .69 caliber U.S. M1816 flintlock musket.
This is the first documented type of U.S. Fencing Bayonet, designated Type I by Hardin and Reilly. Based on the M1816 socket bayonet, this example still has much of its original browned finish and the original thumbscrew for securing the blade.
The original M1816 blade would be milled away (as shown in the unfinished example below), to be replaced with a box receptacle in which to secure a flexible whalebone (actually, baleen) blade with a leather-covered cork or rubber ball at the end. Later fencing bayonets, like the U.S. M1912, had flexible spring steel blades covered in russet-colored leather.
American use of fencing bayonets for training began before the U.S. Civil War. Schmidt documented that Watervliet Arsenal in New York produced 1,500 Type I fencing bayonets in 1852–53. This would coincide with the 1852 publication of Captain (later, Maj. Gen.) George B. McClellan's Manual of Bayonet Exercise for the Army.
The example of McClellan's manual in our collection was printed in 1862 and used to train African-American soldiers of the 41st USCT. After marching 30 miles in 26 1/2 hours, these soldiers stopped the retreat of Lee's Army at Appomattox Courthouse shortly after 7 a.m. on the morning of April 9, 1865, in the final engagement of the Civil War in Virginia. Less than one hour after, Lee began his historic ride to see General Grant.
|n/a||n/a||.825||21.0||Socket: "w a 52"
Socket (bridge): "L 13"
|Early U.S. Fencing Bayonet||This previously undocumented U.S. Fencing Bayonet was intended for use with the .69 caliber U.S. M1840 flintlock and M1842 percussion muskets.
This most unusual example is based on the M1835 socket bayonet. It may be the first of its type known to exist. Fencing bayonets based on the M1816 bayonet (Type I) and the M1855 bayonet (Type II) have been documented, but not a fencing bayonet based on the M1835 bayonet. This example was never completed, in that the box receptacle to secure the baleen blade was never attached to the blade stub and the rough tool marks not polished out. Perhaps, this was a prototype of a design that was not adopted.
The workmanship on this example is quite good, suggesting that it was likely altered by one of the government arsenals. The original “U.S.” ricasso mark and face flute are still partially visible after machining the blade stub to accept the fencing blade receptacle. The brass screw is quite old, but is not the type typically documented with 19th Century U.S. Fencing Bayonets.
|M1855 Sword Bayonet||Sword bayonet for use with M1841 "Mississippi" Rifles that were rebored to .58 caliber and altered to accept a sword bayonet.
This bayonet was the second type of sword bayonet manufactured for use with alterations of the M1841 Rifle. This particular alteration required extensive work on the rifle, leading to a third, more economical alteration that used a totally different bayonet.
According to the late Robt. Reilly, only 10,286 bayonets of this type were produced at the Harpers Ferry Armory during 1855–57. I have not yet been able to identify the inspector "SP". Hopefully, further research will reveal the information.
The blade profile is unique. It is not a yataghan, but simply a curved blade with the hilt offset to keep the blade point out of the bullet's path. Notice in the second image, how the hilt's upper edge and the blade's upper edge are way out of parallel. This odd blade design was not used on any other bayonet.
The scabbard is leather with brass mounts.
|21.625||549||26.375||670||.885||22.5||Hilt (upper flat): "SP" and "19"|
|M1855 Socket Bayonet||Socket bayonet used with the .58 caliber M1855, M1861, and M1863 rifle-muskets.
The standard socket bayonet used by union forces during the U.S. Civil War, 1.5 million were produced by Springfield Armory and private contractors 1857–1865. The socket length is 3.00 in. (76 mm.).
This example was made prior to 1864, when the locking ring mortise was lengthened by 2/10 in. (5 mm.) to allow the locking ring to travel past center for increased securing force. Collins & Company had previously began setting the stop pin above center to serve the same purpose (see Sharps New Model bayonet below). Springfield Armory opted for the locking ring modification instead in November 1863, as the improved locking ring could also be retrofitted to earlier bayonets.
Socket bayonet for use with the .577 Caliber Enfield Rifle-Musket (also referred to in the USA as the "3-Band Enfield").
This example has no British government markings, indicating that it was likely imported to the USA during the American Civil War. The Enfield was the second most common rifle used in the American Civil War, with nearly 1 million imported and used by both sides. The socket length is 2.9375 in. (75 mm.).
According to British socket bayonet authority Graham Priest, the “J•R” marking indicates that the bayonet was likely made in Liege, Belgium. The other ricasso marking may be an incomplete CHAVASSE. There was a retailer, Horace Chavasse & Co., at Alma street, Aston Newton (near Birmingham, England) 1860–1868. Chavasse has been documented as also having marked and exported P1856 sword bayonets.
Ricasso: "P (dot) B" and “CHAVAS”
Socket (rear edge): 2 punch marks and 7 notches
|M1835/42 Musket Conversion||Socket bayonet for use with .69 caliber U.S. M1840 and M1842 muskets that were updated by rifling the barrels and, in the case of the flintlock M1840, converted to percussion ignition.
The M1840 was the last U.S. military flintlock musket. The M1842 was the first U.S. military percussion musket and the last U.S. infantry musket to be made as a smoothbore.
A clone of the M1835/42 socket bayonet, made after M1835/42 production had ceased at the national armories in Springfield, Illinois, and Harpers Ferry, Virginia. This example is identical to the M1835/42 bayonets made from 1839–1855, except for its tapered blade shoulders. Period M1835/42 bayonets had scalloped blade shoulders, like the Enfield bayonet pictured above. Tapered blade shoulders were not introduced until after 1855. The socket length is 2.625 in. (67 mm.).
Perhaps this bayonet was made 1856–59 when existing M1840 and M1842 muskets were rifled at the national armories; or early in the Civil War, when the converted M1840 and M1842 Rifled-Muskets were pressed into service.
|Sharps New Model||Socket bayonet for use with the .52 caliber Sharps "New Model" military breech loading rifle.
Approximately 10,000 Sharps rifles configured to accept a socket bayonet were delivered to the U.S. Government between 1859–1865. There were two different socket bayonets produced for these rifles: a M1855-style socket bayonet made by Collins & Co. (and so marked on the socket), and a "Drake Pattern" socket bayonet, of which this is an example.
The Drake Pattern bayonet is so named because of its resemblance to M1841 conversion bayonets procured by Boston contractor, Augustine J. Drake. The diagnostic characteristic of Drake bayonets is the abrupt, angular elbow and its join to the blade shoulder. The socket length is 3.00 in. (76 mm.).
Neither the number of Drake Pattern bayonets produced for the Sharps rifle nor the firm that produced them are known. This is a rarity by any definition, with only a handful of examples known to exist.
The following correspondence with French socket bayonet specialist, Pierre Renoux, documents it’s authenticity: "I've received your pics and dimensions and I can only confirm what you already thought. Your bayonet is definitely a Sharps model 1865 (sometimes called second type) of the Drake pattern.
|Winchester M1866||Socket bayonet for use with the .44 caliber rimfire M1866 Winchester lever-action infantry musket.
The M1866 socket bayonet is distinctive by its small size and exceptionally brief elbow. Note the high bridge required to clear the Winchester's tall front sight.
Production of the M1866 infantry musket began in 1869. The number produced by the Winchester Repeating Arms Co. of New Haven, CT is unknown, because M1866 production records are incomplete.
The M1866 infantry musket was used by some State Militias and was produced for foreign sales. M1866 muskets produced for Turkey mounted a sword bayonet, rather than this socket. The Winchester was not adopted by the U.S. military, due to the insufficient long-range performance of the .44 caliber cartridge and the Ordnance Department's disdain for the repeating rifle.
The socket length is 2.625 in. (67 mm.) and the muzzle length is 1.125 in. (29 mm.).
|Peabody M1867||Socket bayonet for use with the Model 1867 Peabody cartridge rifle.
This uncommon and nondescript socket bayonet is identified primarily by its dimensions and the rather long ricasso, compared to regulation U.S. bayonets. The socket length is 2.625 in. (67 mm.).
Approximately 55,000 Peabody M1867 rifles were produced 1867–71 by the Providence Tool Co. of Providence, Rhode Island, based on a patent by inventor Henry O. Peabody.
The vast majority were for foreign contracts, chambered in .43 Spanish caliber (Canada, France, Mexico, Romania, and Spain). Small quantities of U.S. State Militia Rifles were also produced: Connecticut (.45–70) and Massachusetts (.433 caliber). Although the Peabody fared exceptionally well in the breechloading rifle trials of 1865, the hoped-for large U.S. Government contract never materialized.
|Remington M1867||Socket bayonet for use on Remington No. 1 Rolling Block rifles produced for export.
Closely patterned on the Swedish M1867 socket bayonet, 10,000 of which were made by Remington. Completely unmarked, this example differs from the Swedish contract bayonet in having been produced in the white (Swedish bayonets were blued) and in having a steel socket (Swedish M1867s made by Remington had an iron socket). The socket length is 2.625 in. (67 mm.).
One of the challenges with Remington Rolling Block bayonets is that there were so many customers/production contracts (and everybody wanted something a little different). It is not clear which rolling block rifle contract this bayonet was produced for, as it does not exactly match any of the examples listed in Janzen's book on Remington bayonets.
|M1873||Socket bayonet for use on the .45–70 Caliber U.S. Rifle M1873 (Trapdoor Springfield) rifle.
The beautiful high-polish blue finish illustrates the painstaking workmanship exhibited on these rifles and bayonets. The socket length is 3.00 in. (76 mm.).
Leather scabbard hanger is for a 1.50 in. (38 mm.) wide equipment belt and was made at Watervliet Arsenal, Watervliet, NY.
The scabbard is attached to the leather hanger by two small tabs, one of which is riveted to the leather. According to Reilly, this is indicative that this scabbard was made prior to the riveted tab being phased out in the early 1880s.
Scabbard Hanger: "Watervliet Arsenal" and "U.S." on brass rosette
Scabbard (Leather Throat): Feint inspector name, believed to be "A.R. Smith"
|M1873 Cadet||Socket bayonet for use on the .45–70 Caliber U.S. Cadet Rifle M1873 (Trapdoor Springfield).
This bayonet is a scaled-down version of the issue M1873 socket bayonet. The socket length is 3.00 in. (76 mm.).
The cadet rifle was shorter than the standard M1873 infantry rifle, since its primary use was for drilling. However, the cadet rifle was made to the same standards as it's full-sized cousin and was every bit as accurate and lethal.
|Winchester M1873||Socket bayonet for use with the .44-40 caliber M1873 Winchester lever-action infantry musket.
The bayonet is unusual in that the elbow is only 3/4 in. long, about half the length of a U.S. M1873 Springfield bayonet above. It is also unusual for the time period, in having the mortise cut so that the bayonet hangs beneath the rifle barrel. Notice the high bridge required to clear the Winchester's tall front sight. Most socket bayonets don't have a very sharp point, but the point on this one is like a needle.
The M1873 was the first Winchester rifle to use a centerfire cartridge. Approximately 35,000 M1873 infantry muskets were produced by the Winchester Repeating Arms Co. of New Haven, CT, from 1874–1919. Infantry muskets accounted for roughly five percent of M1873 production.
The M1873 infantry musket was produced mostly for foreign sales. It had some popularity in South America, going to Argentina, Brazil, and Peru. They also went to Mexico, France, and Turkey. The Winchester was not adopted by the U.S. military, due to the insufficient long-range performance of the .44 caliber cartridge and the Ordnance Department's disdain for the repeating rifle.
The socket length is 3.00 in. (76 mm.) and the muzzle length is 1.25 in. (32 mm.).
|Winchester-Hotchkiss||Socket bayonet for use with the .45–70 caliber Winchester-Hotchkiss rifle. This bayonet is also believed used with the military musket variant of the Winchester M1876 and M1886 lever-action rifles (very few made).
The Winchester-Hotchkiss bayonet is distinguished from the M1873 by its slightly longer blade and smaller socket diameter (smaller than either the M1867 Peabody or M1873). The socket length is 3.00 in. (76 mm.). The way in which the elbow was formed created a slight "pinch" at the inside radius, where the ricasso terminates; and a slightly bulbous "swell" on the outside radius, where the blade flutes terminate at the elbow.
The Winchester-Hotchkiss was a bolt-action repeating rifle produced by Winchester 1879–1899 and at Springfield Armory 1879–81. During this period, 84,555 rifles of all variants were produced. 2,986 rifles were manufactured at Springfield Armory: 513 for the Army (designated M1878) and 2,473 for the Navy (designated M1879). The U.S. Government purchased an unknown quantity of additional rifles of a third type produced by Winchester (designated M1883).
|Modified M1855||Originally made 1855–1865 at the Springfield Armory, Springfield, MA. This example was subsequently modified by cutting off the rear portion of the socket.
Modified for use on a cadet musket or possibly as a movie prop, by shortening the socket length to 1.875 in. (48 mm.). Mounts perfectly to my .577 Caliber Enfield Rifle-Musket.
Similar examples turn up periodically, so were modified in quantity. No way to know who altered them (Bannerman, one of the movie houses, or ?).
|18.25||464||20.125||511||.770||19.6||Ricasso: "US" over "S"|
|M1873 MGM Movie Prop||U.S. M1873 socket bayonet altered by MGM Studios for use as a movie prop.
The socket has been split to adapt the socket to different diameter rifle barrels. Approximately 1/8" has been removed from the socket rear, shortening the socket length from 3 in. (76 mm.) to 2.875 in. (73 mm.).
The "MGM" property marking indicates that this example came from the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios prop department, the contents of which were sold off in 1969-70.
|M1892||Knife bayonet for use on the .30 Government Caliber U.S. Magazine Rifle M1898 (.30–40 Caliber Krag-Jorgensen) and variations. The "Krag" was the U.S. Army's first repeating rifle.
The M1892 bayonet was based on the Swiss M1889 bayonet, made for use on the 7.5 mm. M1889 Schmidt-Rubin straight-pull bolt-action rifle.
This is an early example, made in 1895 at Springfield Armory. It has been arsenal overhauled during or after 1899, as evidenced by the rough grips held by domed rivets. Pre-1899, the grips were sanded smooth and the rivets flush. The "US" ricasso marking was nearly obliterated by the polishing done during arsenal rework.
I obtained this piece from an older gentleman in Benecia, CA. He indicated that it had been his dad's. His home, which I visited, was approximately 1 mile from the old Benecia Arsenal. He indicated that a relative had worked at the Arsenal. It has been documented that Krag rifles were overhauled at Benecia Arsenal.
The condition of this example is exceptional, with bright metal and no rust or staining. The blade still had cosmoline on it when I obtained the piece.
|11.625||295||16.375||416||.620||15.7||Ricasso (Right): "US" (nearly invisible)
Ricasso (Left): "1895"
|M1912 Picket Pin Scabbard||Leather scabbard for carrying the M1912 Picket Pin.
The M1912 Picket Pin scabbard is sometimes found with the M1892 knife bayonet, described as a “cavalry scabbard.” This description is spurious, probably concocted by early 20th Century surplus dealers like Bannerman. This myth still persists in popular culture, despite the Krag-Jorgensen Carbine’s inability to accept a bayonet and the Krag-Jorgensen being out of service nearly a decade before development of the M1912 Cavalry Equipment.
The M1912 Cavalry Equipment was issued to the First Cavalry Regiment and selected cavalry squadrons in six other regiments for field trials. The equipment proved unsatisfactory, generating a volume of complaints. In 1915, an Army Cavalry Board was convened at Rock Island Arsenal to investigate and production of M1912 Cavalry Equipment was halted. Stocks of cavalry equipment soon ran low; and before the Board could complete its investigation, production of M1904 (McClellan) Cavalry Equipment was ordered resumed. These shortages forced use of M1912 Cavalry Equipment by troops deployed into Mexico during the 1916 Punitive Expedition against Mexican revolutionary leader Pancho Villa.Although a few items of M1912 Cavalry Equipment were adopted, the M1912 Picket Pin being one of them, the Army retained the M1904 McClellan Saddle and Cavalry Equipment until the final horse cavalry unit was dismounted in March 1944.
|Remington No. 5||Knife bayonet for use on the 7 mm. Remington No. 5 rolling block rifle. Very unusual example made with a straight crosspiece.
Most No. 5 knife bayonets were made for export, with a hooked lower crosspiece. This bayonet is most often associated with Mexico's purchase of 15,000 rifles in 1899–1900. However, Remington records indicate that an additional 97,887 7 mm. rifles were produced from 1896–1921.
This example isn't a hooked version that has had the hook deleted, but was made with a straight guard (follow this link for a comparison of this example to the hooked version). Janzen's book on Remington bayonets shows the straight guard short No. 5 bayonet, but doesn't give any info as to who they were made for or why.
Remington produced the No. 5 bayonet in two additional blade lengths: 13.187 in. (335 mm.) for Mexico and 16.00 in. (406 mm.) for France.
The scabbard has a steel body and integral leather belt hanger. The overall length, including the belt hanger is 13.125 in. (333 mm.). The leather belt hanger measures 5.625 in. long (143 mm.) by 1.75 in. wide (44 mm.). Another scabbard used with the No. 5 knife bayonet has a steel-mounted leather body and steel belt hook, instead of the leather hanger.
|8.00||203||12.50||318||.590||15.0||Fuller: "Remington Arms Co. Ilion, NY USA"|
|© Ralph E. Cobb 2010 All Rights Reserved|
USA - 18th and 19th Century Bayonets
|Society of American Bayonet Collectors|