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Authentic British Royal Navy Boarding Pikes 19th Century 1888 Pattern, 3/4 Haft with Clear and Proper Arsenal Marks, Royal Ciphers and Date.

The Pirate's Lair @ 540-659-6209
American and British Royal Navy Boarding Pikes British Sailors Demonstrating Boarding Pike Defense

Photo to the left shows part of the antique naval collection at The Pirates Lair: Note the 5 boarding pikes on the wall above the racks of naval cutlasses -

The British Royal Navy Boarding Pike Model 1888 being offered For Sale is the 3rd one down from the top.

Photo to the right illustrates British sailors demonstrating how in proper drill practice how boarding pikes were used as defensive weapons against attacking boarders. It appears that the Model 1888 Boarding Pike is being used in this drill. Also note the boarding axes attached to the back of each sailor - no "jammed in the belt swashbuckling" for British Royal Navy sailors!

American and British Royal Navy Boarding Pikes

Photograph to the left is illustrating five 18th/19th Century Boarding Pikes.

The 3rd one down from the top is the Model 1888 being offered for sale.

Historical Information Only: The top two are American and the bottom three are British boarding pikes. Note how the American pike heads appear to be a bit longer and narrower while the British pike heads appear to be a bit shorter and squatter.

All 5 of models of these boarding pikes are documented in William Gilkerson's "Boarders Away" which is the industry standard in identifying naval cutlasses, boarding axes, and boarding pikes.

Prior to the advent of a rapid firing pistol or rifle the Boarding Pike was used to effectively repel boarders as they were climbing up the side of a wooden hull or swinging into the raised defensive protective netting.

The major differences between a standard infantry spear or cavalry lance is that the boarding pike's total length of about 7' to 8' was a bit shorter than its cousins which were typically 9' and longer.

The naval boarding pikes spike or blade itself was also thinner or slimmer than the spear or lance, and did not have any projections and was seamlessly smooth where it was fastened onto wooden shaft or haft. This was necessary so that the blade or spike could work its way through and not get caught up into any of the protective netting, associated rigging, any downed rope or canvas sail.

We here at The Pirates Lair utilize and refer to the fantastic work found in the reference guide "Boarders Away" by William Gilkerson. While we have added to our knowledge due to hands on experience with these boarding pikes and similar sea service weapons, we have never found Gilkerson to be wrong, ever.


Two British Royal Navy Naval Boarding Pike model 1888

Photo above shows the two Model 1888 British Royal Navy Boarding Pikes currently in the collection of The Pirates Lair: the top pike being offered for sale was originally found here in the U.S. and is 51" long or a 3/4 pike and was probably shortened because of damage to the lower butt end of the pike.

(The bottom Model 1888 boarding pike was found in the UK and is the full regulation length of 91" and is not being offered for sale).

Upon close examination of both Models with a magnifying glass taken to the 3-sided spike heads and langets, as well as the wood used for the staves, they are found to be virtually identical except for small differences in the manual stampings of arsenal marks and ciphers.

Both Model 1888 boarding pikes are stamped on a single langet with arsenal marks: the capital letter "N" below that the "Broad Arrow" or crows foot above the initials "EFD" (most likely an inspectors initials), below that the Royal Cipher consisting of a "Crown" above the numeral "56" which is above the letter "E", further down the langet is the date "'99". Now it is a bit unclear as to whether the date is '89 or '99 because they are shallow die stamps on both models. However while we want to believe it is '89, it could also certainly be '99 which is what we think it is.

British Royal Navy Naval Boarding Pike model 1888

3/4 Length Pike.

British Royal Navy Naval Boarding Pike model 1888 - Spike Head

Closeup photo of the Model 1888 3-sided 5" Spike Head.

British Royal Navy Naval Boarding Pike model 1888 - Spike Head and Langets

Closeup photo of the Model 1888 3-sided 14.75" Spike Head and 7.5" Langets and how they are attached to the stave or haft of the boarding pike with securing 3 screws/rivets.

British Royal Navy Naval Boarding Pike model 1888 - markings broad arrow over EFD, above royal cipher crown over 56 above E, and the date '99 British Royal Navy Naval Boarding Pike model 1888 - letter N

Photo to the left shows the arsenal markings: "Broad Arrow" over initials "EFD" and lower down the Royal Cipher "Crown" over the number "56" above the letter "E", lower further is the date '89 or '99.

Photo to the right shows the capital letter "N" which represents Navy - this letter replaced the previously used abbreviations of "WD" for War Department and "BO" for Board of Ordinance.

British Royal Navy Model or Pattern 1888 Naval Boarding Pike For Sale and Available
Rare chance to own an authentic piece of Naval History! Classic late 19th Century British Royal Navy Boarding Pike 60" stave or haft. The stave is 3/4 length which was presumably cut because of damage to the butt. Langet has clearly and properly stamped arsenal marks, royal Victorian ciphers, and date of 1899.
British Naval Boarding Pike
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 60" 3/4 Pike  
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Below are links to other Antique Nautical and Naval Artifacts that may be of interest:

Click Here For Antique 19th Century British Royal Navy Mess Plates, Dinnerware, Rum Cups, Kegs and Mess Pails

Click HERE for WWII US Navy Anchor China

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Antique Trunk Used As Military Navy Shadow Box Retirement Gift
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Customer Photographic Examples of our Antique Trunks Being used as a Military or Naval Retirement Shadow Box and Storage Chest!!
Military or Naval Retirement Ceremony Shadow Box
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Why just get a shadow box or a newly made trunk with no history! One of our 100+ Year Old Nautical Antique Trunks can be used for both a Shadow Box and Storage Chest for your Uniforms, Photograph Albums, and Memorabilia!

The Pirate's Lair
Division of DataCity, Inc.
78 Canterbury Drive
Stafford, Virginia 22554
Phone: 540-659-6209
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Music Credits: Donald Where's Your Trousers/Drunken Sailor medley by The Bards

The naval boarding pike was an indispensable part of a ships armament inventory for the deckhand.

One often sees pirates and sailors holding a cutlass in one hand with a boarding pike in another as they were used in conjunction with each other when boarding a naval vessel during a battle. The boarding as was used to clear ones own deck of debris including ropes and rigging which may have been shot away and fallen as well as digging hot shot out of wooden hulls, bridges, railings, decks, sails, etc etc.

The naval boarding pike as an offensive weapon was used to help a boarder climb up the side of an enemies wooden hull, then used to chop away at their rigging making it difficult or impossible for them to properly maneuver, and then to used as a personal weapon in close quarter combat. The boarding pike was also used to throw at an enemy to keep distance. In fact it has been said that a well thrown boarding ax was even more lethal than an early 19th century gun (both were equally only one shot!)