is a light sword
with a straight blade of the cut
and thrust type. The style became popular among military and naval officers in the 1790s, spreading from England
to the United States
and to France
, where it was known as the épée Anglaise
. Hilts were often of the beaded or "five-ball" type with a stirrup guard. A spadroon blade usually had a broad, central fuller
and a single edge, often with a false edge near the tip. Spadroons can also be double-edged as well.
Five ball hilt
Around the time of the Napoleonic War
military forces began to utilize a specific style of sword hilt
termed the "Five ball" hilt. It incorporated as a decorative feature spheres molded into the knuckleguard and counterguard, usually grouped as strings of 3,4 or 5 spheres, with one string on the knuckleguard and one on the counterguard. The term is often used a generic reference to swords which have the characteristics ball patterns in their hilts regardless of the exact number of balls. It was used by both Army and Navy officers, and in Great Britain, France and the United States, a classic example being the British Officers Five-Ball Spadroon. It incorporated a number of pommel
styles from "pillow" or "cushion" pommel, to Eaglehead pommel, to an urn pommel. The popularity lasted from 1790 to until about 1820 when it was no longer produced.
- P.G.W. Annis, Naval Swords, British and American Naval Edged Weapons, 1660-1815, Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1970, p. 38.