History of Toledo Swords | School Pride & Memories

Previous Next 1 of 3

History of Toledo Swords


The history of the World Famous TOLEDO SWORDS

Toledo swords, for centuries, when the issue of a fight depended not only on the personal ability of the fighter, but also on another decisive factor – the perfection of his weapon – with Toledo swords exceptional steel were forged the most formidable arms in the world. Their extraordinary hardness made of each of these Toledo swords an invincible force in the hands of an expert swordsman. All European armies knew the superior quality of Toledo steel swords and many great warriors relied only on sabers of Toledan provenance.

Their origin of the Toledo swords comes from the most ancient Spanish customs. More than 2,000 years ago, in the 5th century B.C. , Iberian blacksmiths already forged Toledo swords known as falcata which had an iron blade inside and a special design made to increase the bluntness of the slash.

Due to their fame, these Toledo swords were chosen by Hannibal for his army and the Roman legions, defeated by those weapons, adopted them later and supplied their centurions with the dread Toledan swords blades.

The times of Excalibur kind of sword passed by. The Middle Ages blacksmiths exalted the office, as they relied more and more on technological progress and not only on the good quality of their steel. The Muslim armies feared the sword that had defeated them. They didn’t revere only the hand of a Master – the Cid Campeador – but also the excellence of his weapon, a Toledan sword, of course! The Muslims adopted such a technics to produce their slender two-edged scimitars, transmitting their secret from one generation to the other.

Then, the Toledan manufacturers would yield the famous rapiers so well popularized through d’Artagnan and his fellow Musketeers.

Also todays Toledo is a quiet city with about 50,000 inhabitants, it has been for a time the capital city of the widest empire in the world, an empire where sun never set. Kings from all parts of the world have had Toledo swords and sabers forged in Toledo. Even Japanese Samurai were aware of the existence of Toledo swords steel as it had been introduced by the Spanish merchants that followed the steps of the Spanish and Portuguese Jesuits. As Japan lived in a state of continuous civil war, it is not surprising that some of their Daimyos even came to Toledo to have their katana and wakizashi forged there. They knew how important was a perfect design and finish for the effectiveness of a sword of Toledo.

One example of what was once the most noble art in the world is no doubt the gold inlaid hunting dagger of King Charles the Fourth, with the mark and the name of the smith who did it engraved on it. Toledan craftsmen can be rightfully proud of such a fine blade and splendid finish. This art is actually disappearing because swords have been replaced by another type of weapon, like pistols, guns, rifles.

The internal structure of the blade and the mystery of its fabrication were a secret well kept by the manufacturers. It hasn’t been unraveled until the 20th century! To make such an exceptional weapon, they had to forge at the same time and at a very hot temperature hard steel with high contents of carbon and soft steel. This way, they could obtain excellent mechanical properties as well as a better fastness to wear.

An appropriate selection of raw materials, their adequate proportion in the blade and the forging of both types of steel at a temperature of 1454 º F during the exact interval of time required, give the most perfect sword ever built in the world.

In old ages, the blacksmiths used to recite psalms and prayers keeping always the same rhythm, in order to calculate the time that the blade would remain inside the furnace. This timing had to be respected to avoid any deviance: a longer time would melt the steel too much and on the contrary, a shorter one wouldn’t let the metal reach its melting-point.

Forging requires forcefulness and efficiency in a very short time. Then comes the following step: cooling with water or – sometimes – with oil, to get a clear and clean welded seam. In some cases, the blacksmith had to blow even 20,000 times in order to get a perfect tempering, but such a level of perfection wouldn’t allow him to make more than 2 or 3 blades in a year!

In other parts of the world, craftsmen have tried to imitate the perfection of Toledo swords steel, but they all failed.

Author: www.aceros-de-hispania.com Close