Spanish (Catalonia or Valencia) Plug Bayonet, ca. 1800


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SKU: SD1924 Category:


The plug bayonet originated in the Pyrenees region of Northern Spain and it is Spain which
used the plug bayonet after it had been abandoned by other countries. This example with
distinctive straight brass half-round guard, generally only found in Catalonia and Valencia.
The grip is of horn, which is more common in Spain than other countries. Unmarked
slightly hollow-ground 12″ blade of wedge section with short ricasso. The bayonets of this
region are rarely maker-marked, though Barcelona had an extensive cutlery industry, with
80 blade marks registered with the cutlers’ guild in 1834. The blade fairly clean on one
side and with patches of light pitting on the other. Overall length 17″. Very similar
example illustrated in “The Plug Bayonet”, by R.D.C. Evans, from the author’s collection,
fig. 329.

Though probably originating around 1550, the plug bayonet had a relatively short span of
use from around 1650-1720 (except in Spain where they were used into the 19th C). Their
rise in popularity largely paralleled the development of standing armies in Europe, which
were realizing the importance of the musketeer, while at the same time not wanting to
wholly abandon the pike. In this sense the plug bayonet can be considered a transitional
weapon. However, despite its use as a dagger on its own, it was soon found to be
impractical since it’s use prevented the musket from being fired. Countless soldiers also
found great difficulties in removing a stuck plug bayonet from the muzzle, rendering the
musket useless as a firearm. Many were damaged while being removed and as a result
relatively few survive. For these reasons it was soon superseded by the socket bayonet,
which did not affect the musket’s ability to fire and could much more easily be removed.