CONFEDERATE RETRACTABLE PIKE IN EXCELLENT UNTOUCHED CONDITION

$3,500.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1000-1040

Shipping: Determined by Method & Location of buyer

To Order:
Call 717-334-0347,
Fax 717-334-5016, or E-mail

Pikes have always been a cheap and easily made weapon that could rapidly arm masses of men and were often associated with revolutionary movements: think French Revolution, Irish Rebellion, and John Brown. During the Civil War they were recognized as a stop-gap measure until better arms could be obtained, but were made throughout the south by small and large manufacturers in various blade forms, including the bridle-cutter, clover-leaf, and simple double-edged spear point. This is perhaps the most ingenious: a pike with retractable blade, often called one of “Joe Brown’s pikes,” after the Georgia governor who published a plea to the “Mechanics of Georgia” on February 20, 1862, to start making pikes in large numbers, along with side knives, to arm an infantry reserve who might close quickly with enemy troops once front line troops had gotten to close range.

This particular design is sometimes attributed to a “Rev. Dr. Graves,” purportedly a Methodist preacher from Vermont living then in Georgia, though the story may be apocryphal: having a man of peace, and a northerner to boot, design such weapon may simply have been too good not to pass along. In any case, Rodney Brown (American Polearms) felt the pattern was the spring-loaded pike mentioned by Josiah Gorgas, CS Chief of Ordnance, in his recollections. The manufacture of so many long springs being too difficult, the springs were omitted and the blade was manually extended or retracted.

The pike shaft measures about six feet long, is oval in cross-section and composed of two hollowed pieces of Georgia pine that together form a shaft about 2 inches across and 1 inch deep with the shorter sides rounded. These halves are held together by a 1 ½ inch long brass nose cap, which is slotted for the blade to emerge, a heavy iron butt cap, and two intermediate brass bands about 1-inch wide, all held in place by screws. Two long leaf springs with catches are mounted by screws between the middle bands, one facing up and one down.

The blade runs back and forth in the hollow shaft. Measuring about 1 ½ inches wide and 14 ½ inches long, it is spearpointed and double-edged with median ridge, and has a rear extension with short handle that juts upward and runs in slot cut along the middle of the pike shaft between the two middle bands. Mounted between the bands are two leaf springs with catches, the lower one holding the blade extension handle in its retracted position, and allowing it to move forward when released, to be caught and held in the extended position by the upper leaf spring catch. If fitted with an internal spring, as Gorgas described, the blade would spring out like a switchblade when the lower catch was released and would be pulled back in place by the handle. It would seem a rather risky thing to have lying about in camp, which might be another reason the springs were omitted.

Supporting the Georgia association is an article printed in a 1913 Confederate Veteran mentioning they were among pikes gathered up and stored in the Augusta Arsenal after the war, and later sold. According to other sources, the buyer was Francis Bannerman. The pike is in excellent condition, with a nice untouched patina to the brass and iron. The wood is very good, solid, and showing good color with just minor scratches. The blade has a good point and edge with no nicks, showing smooth metal, dull silver in color with some gray areas. The butt cap is missing one screw, but is securely in place. This is an interesting weapon, primitive yet cleverly designed, showing both how hard-pressed the south was for weapons, and how inventive they could be in meeting that need.  [sr]

Extra shipping charge may be required.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

THIS ITEM, AS WITH ALL OTHER ITEMS AVAILABLE ON OUR WEB SITE,

MAY BE PURCHASED THROUGH OUR LAYAWAY PROGRAM.

FOR OUR POLICIES AND TERMS,

CLICK ON ‘CONTACT US’ AT THE TOP OF ANY PAGE ON THE SITE,

THEN ON ‘LAYAWAY POLICY’.

THANK YOU!

Inquire »

Inquire About CONFEDERATE RETRACTABLE PIKE IN EXCELLENT UNTOUCHED CONDITION

should be empty

featured item

PATENT DOCUMENTS AND LETTERS REGARDING MANUFACTURE OF 3” ORDNANCE RIFLES

This lot consists of five letters written between John Griffen and Samuel Reeves; a legal agreement between Griffen, Reeves, and Emile Geyelin; Samuel Reeves’ copy of Letters Patent 37108 with patent drawings included and with patent office seal… (274-204). Learn More »

Upcoming Events

04
Mar