Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Our Customers...

Not only are our customers fearsome, strong and goodlooking, they're talented, too. Just take a look at this lyrical letter we got from Kate, in Australia:

I stand, with a cavalier attitude, within a ring of fellow renaissance fencers.
Slung across my shoulder, leaving me completely hands-free, my bag carries my rapier, my sword, my two-hander, my dagger, and my buckler.
They drag bags that are too big, cradle bags that are too small, juggle individually bagged swords.
“Is it a snowboarding bag? A golf bag? A rifle bag?” they ask in confusion, knowing all too personally the faults of these bags they list.
“No,” I answer them. “You’ll never guess.”
“Is it for a musical instrument? A travelling salesman?” they offer wildly.
“No, it is for…. rapiers!"
Collectively they sigh in rapture and disbelief.
“There is no such thing!” ventures a brave soul. (Doubt my word? With my rapier just a zip away, and his tangled like a Gordian knot in his silly eastern sword bag that doesn’t believe in quillions?)
“It’s new, it’s from America ,” I tell them.
“Ahhh,” they sigh, “Too expensive then.”
I tell them the price.
I tell them the website.
They are lost for words.

Thank you,

Thank you, Kate!

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Cestus--a Roman Boxing Weapon, Close-Up

I was wandering around the Greek and Roman galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City the other day. If you've never been there, well, you could spend everyday there for a week and still not see everything they have to offer (and I've heard what's on display is only the tip of the iceberg compared to their entire collection). Anyway, it's a great place to spend some time.
The Greek and Roman galleries offer a great assortment of big and small items, from marble monuments through everyday items like bowls and jars, to helmets, swords, and armor. In one small display case I can across this delightful surprise:

Here we have a ancient roman sculpture of a left fist wearing a cestus! It would have been made at the time that gladiatorial fights were commonplace.The label indicated that it was probably sculpted to stand alone, perhaps as a votive offering (I could see it as having been a sign for a school or even an award of some sort). I've seen cestii roughly depicted in sculptures or paintings, but never life sized, and in such detail!

Now if you're a little lost here, let me back up and tell you what this is. The cestus is commonly described as a kind of early gladiatorial "boxing glove" or knuckle protection, but in fact, it is far more of an offensive weapon. It would have been used in prize fights, and the kind of brutal competitions that the Romans loved (possibly also for personal combat and defense).

There's no question that this item features knuckle protection. There is a plate that covers the knuckles, probably with a strap on its inside for the boxer to hold on to. I have to note that in this sculpture, the thumb is oddly exposed over the knuckle protection. Perhaps the boxers actually used it this way, or perhaps the boxer posed for this sculpture in a relaxed position (the thumb at full extension as it is seems quite relaxed). Perhaps the boxer merely lent his cestus to the sculptor, and the sculptor used his own hand to pose, and guessed at the proper grip. Alternatively, it may be that without the thumb exposed, it was difficult to tell what the sculpture was supposed to be. Either way, I would assume that when used in combat, the thumb would have been balled firmly with the fingers, or at least under the knuckle-guard. Judging from the simple curve of this guard-plate, and it's thickness, it's very likely to have been leather.

But what is most fascinating about this sculpture is the projection extending from the boxer's middle two knuckles! This cestus is no mere hand protection. This is a potentially deadly offensive weapon.
Even though there's no way of knowing what the actual projection would have been made from, it's still a very nasty bit of business. If it were made of hardened leather, it would leave punishing bruises on the opponent's body, and possibly break bones and even gouge out eyes. If it were made of bronze or some similar metal, it could easily break ribs and bones. Notice the scalloped striking edge of the projection, which would help the blow "dig in" even more, yet not necessarily break the skin. (I 'm guessing that the projection would have been cast of bronze or some similar metal due to the thickness of it in the sculpture).

It might have been based on a common street weapon carried for self defense, sans the knuckle protection, in the way that brass knuckles were, until recently commonly carried (and probably still are, in some parts of the world). It is interesting to notice on the sculpture how a string or thong runs down the back of the hand, to stop the deadly spike from being pushed down the fingers during the fight.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Rotten Bag Update

I'm happy to say that once we were able to track down the right people at Ebay, they promptly stopped the guy who was selling our old garbage. We're still keeping an eye out on things like Craigslist and other chatboards. If anyone comes across a seller offering "brand new" Rapier Bags at an unrealistic price, or tries to make a deal on a quantity sale, please let us know and we will certainly reward you for your efforts.
We are happy to offer wholesale quantities and prices to honest resellers. Email us if interested.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Beware Rotten Rapier Bags!

We have been warning customers about an Ebay seller who got his hands on some rotten Rapier Bags that were designated for the garbage dump, due to water and mold damage. I do not know how he got access to the stuff, whether he dug them out of the trash, or someone sold them to him (he claims he's selling them for someone else). This seller is not authorized to sell our products, and these bags are a POTENTIAL HEALTH HAZARD due to the presence of BLACK MOLD. We do not recommend anyone buy these bags, and will not warrant or replace them. (For what it's worth, the seller will not accept returns, either).

A few people asked about the whole story, so here it is, so far...

A year and a half ago, we moved our stock of Rapier Bags out of out of our old warehouse into a pristine new facility. We had some serious issues with the ethics of the old warehouse, but I won't go into detail now. When we moved the last few cartons away from the back wall, we were horrified to discover those cartons and the bags inside soaking wet and covered in black mold! There were holes and leaks in the back wall! Rainwater had been coming in, probably for a long time. In fact, part of the wall came away when we pulled the boxes away. (Happily, those boxes sacrificed themselves to protect the rest of our stock, which we carefully examined and found to be in pristine condition).

The old warehouse promised to compensate us for the damage and advised us to leave them, and file a damage form. They even gave us a claim number to submit to their insurance company.

We moved the rest of our stuff to our wonderful new storage facility, and business went on as usual.

Except their insurance company told us it was a made-up claim number and there was no insurance. And the old warehouse refused to return our calls. So we sued them.

Six months ago, in court, they testified that they never did any maintenance to their storage building, and that they took the Rapier Bags and dumped them because of the water damage and the mold.

Recently, we were alerted that someone was selling those rotten bags on Ebay! Sure enough, and they're even using our company name right in their auction title! I don't know if this guy fished them out of a garbage dump, or if the crooked manager of the old warehouse sold them as abandoned property (which is not legal), or if the seller IS the crooked manager of the old warehouse.

We contacted the seller and sent a "Cease and Desist" notice, and explained that they were violating our intellectual property, and our material property rights, since they were not an authorized reseller. I also explained that these bags pose a potential health risk, particularly to anyone with respiratory issues, due to the black mold. The seller doesn't care. The bags are cleaned up, and look good to him, and he has a lot of them, and plans to sell them.

Well, we have the wheels of justice turning, but as you know, the wheels of justice turn slowly, and in the meantime, I am concerned about unknowing customers buying bags that may not be all they should be, or even a serious health risk.
Because these illegally obtained bags are basically hazardous garbage, we will not warrant or replace them, and the seller is adamant that he will not accept returns. We do frequently sell Rapier bags on Ebay under our own account Cavalierattitude! http://myworld.ebay.com/cavalierattitude%21/?_trksid=p4340.l2559