Military History/German Bayonet?
I'm hoping you may be able to help with more information about a bayonet I have. My great-grandparents used the bayonet for a poker and that use continued down the family for many years so the blade is not in very good condition. From pictures I've found on the web I'm pretty certain this is a German 1871 model rifle bayonet. It has a brass handle with diagonal grip lines on the left hand side. Manufacturer is Weyesberg (marked GEBR WEYESBERG there may have been something underneath this as well). The other markings are not all readable but include: 1) on the other side of the blade from the makers mark a crown above F and part of a letter (possibly W) above a 6 above a crown above I think a 4. 2) FR 40 91 down one side of the crossbar. 3) a crown above FW above 61 above a crown above a D (the D is slightly ornate) all on the cross bar below the blade. 4) a number stamped above the muzzle hole 2108. Are you able to provide any information of when this may have been made or what any of the markings mean?
I want to correct something, I said Berlin, I meant to say Baden. Baden is a region, and as Imperial Germany was made up of semi independent states, it included Wurttemberg and Hohenzollern, hence the tie in with the later regimental name. Today the area is the State of Baden Wurttemberg. The old regimental system of European Armies was based on raising regiments in a city, district or state. Each regiment would have a recruiting and training battalion based in that area responsible for sending reinforcements to the other four battalions of the regiment in the field. Unlike our draft, the soldiers were fighting along side their neighbors, cousins and distant relatives. It made for more cohesive units, but as you can imagine if the regiment had a particularly bad day, it could mean the deaths of a lot of sons in the down or district. An act of cowardice meant everyone you knew would know and you would be wearing the shame the rest of your life if you returned home.
You say the bayonet is a model 1871. It was made by Weyersberg the name was affiliated with three companies where this model was made, all located in Solingen:
Gebrüder Weyersberg, Solingen the word under the first two is Solingen.
Weyersberg, Kirschbaum & Co., Solingen
Weyersberg & Stamm, Solingen
Yours was obviously made by the first in the list. Gebruder means "brothers" so the company was The Brothers Weyersberg.
The Crown with an FW is the Imperial mark of the Prussian King Wilhelm I who reigned in 1861-1888. This location only made this bayonet in 1871.
The next numbers you describe are confusing I think because of the way you typed them in.
Generally the numbers are of this form: N.A.N.N The N standing for a number, the A standing for a letters. What they mean is:
Number, Regiment, company, and weapon number. This would be something like the 4th Regiment, 2nd company, Bayonet #91. Each weapon, rifle and bayonet were assigned to a soldier in the company inventory who was responsible for it.
Your numbers area bit jumbled: "above a 6 above a crown above I think a 4. 2) FR 40 91 down one side of the crossbar." The crossbar is the Quillion.
Okay, we are in luck...I found the FR 40....It is the Fusilier-Regiment (Badisches)Nr. 40 and your bayonet is NO. 91. This means that the regiment of riflemen was from Berlin, Germany. Still another source says the FR 40 was designated: Fusilier Regiment Prince Charles Anton of Hohenzollern No.40 in 1918 when imperial Germany was dissolved. It is likely that at some time the designation was changed to the latter because the number of Fusilier Regiments would not have changed.
The number on the quillion are the important regimental markings. Those on the narrow or spine of the blade are only proof marks of the imperial inspector, as are those on the pommel.
A bayonet of this type in good shape with scabbard can fetch about $800. It is a nice rare bayonet especially one made in its first year of introduction.