Tag Archives: swords

A Prop-er Sword Fight

The following strange tale comes from Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1893.

A Madman in a Theater

Terrible Tragedy Averted in a Salt Lake Playhouse

Special to the Record-Union. Salt Lake, Dec. 22.

By the presence of mind and prompt action on the part of several members of a theater company, a terrible tragedy was averted at the Salt Lake Theater this evening. About 9 o’clock Oscar B. Young, a crazy son of the Mormon prophet Brigham Young, burst open the door of the theater box office. Before the astonished Treasurer and Manager could collect themselves, Young strode into the theater, around to the stage door and dashed across the stage. The curtain was down and the actors were dressing for the second act. In the first dressing-room he broke and stood frothing in passion before Harry Connor. After trying to lock the door he demanded the key of Connor. “I’ll teach yon to go to New York and talk about Danites,” he said.

With a torrent of oaths the madman pressed upon Connor. Instantly recognizing that he was in the presence of a madman, Connor gave a quick leap out of tho door. The ladies in the adjoining rooms screamed.

At this moment propertyman Antone Mazzanovich, a match in strength and size for Young, leaped upon the mad man from behind and pinioned him. Just then a boy was passing with two swords used in the play. With a strength born of madness, Young released himself, grabbed a sword, and commenced plunging at those around him. Again the massive propertyman caught him from behind, and at the same time catching the hilt of the sword. Those ladies who had not fainted rushed to the room. “Don’t lynch me, don’t lynch me,” cried Young. He was forced into the street, a policeman called, and still raving, he was carried to the station.

Young has long been regarded as daft, and of late has shown dangerous tendencies. Those who know the man regard the lucky overcome in the stage encounter as little short of a miracle.

Young’s present spell is said to be the result of financial troubles. He had no acquaintance with anyone of the theater company.

This story originally appeared in the Record-Union, December 23, 1893. Sacramento, CA. pg 1

Ancient Roman Weapons

In the same vein as my previous posts on Ancient Egyptian weapons and Ancient Greek helmets and weapons, here is an illustration of common weapons used in Ancient Rome.

A collection of typical weapons used in Ancient Rome

Left column, from top to bottom:

  • Iron head of Roman pilum.
  • Bronze sheath for sword below.
  • Sword worn with belt called a parazonium, 10 inches long, iron.
  • Short sword called a poniard, bronze.
  • Sword, 22 inches long, iron.
  • Sword, 25 inches, long, iron. This particular example has an armorer’s mark of Sabini.
  • Sword, 23 inches long, iron.
  • Sword, 26 inches long, iron. Hilt is ornamented with bronze
  • Dacian sword. From Trajan’s Column erected in 113 CE.

Center: Signum, or badge, or Roman cohort, bronze. Found in Asia Minor.

Right column, from top to bottom:

  • War-hatchet, iron.
  • Head of javelin, 6 inches long, iron.
  • Bill, bronze. This particular example was found in Ireland.
  • Plain war-hatchet, bronze.
  • Plain war-hatchet, bronze. It’s shape shows it is a weapon, not a tool.
  • Bill, iron. From the ruins of Pæstum.
  • Head of javelin, 11 inches long, iron.

The illustrations and descriptions have been taken from An Illustrated History of Arms and Armour: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time, by Auguste Demmin, and translated by Charles Christopher Black. Published in 1894 by George Bell.

Weapons Storage

I received a question last week about how various prop houses store their weapons. First, there’s how they should be stored. Every prop house I’ve worked at, and every one I know of, keeps their weapons locked up. The depth and breadth of rules and regulations dealing with weapons, theatrical or replica, varies incredibly amongst states, cities, municipalities, and institutions. Locking up is the least you can do.

But I digress. The question was geared more toward the logistics of weapon storage. Props storage is a never-ending compromise between the ease of locating a specific object with the need to cram as many objects into a limited space.

Continue reading Weapons Storage