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Iron Sharpens Iron
A Tour of the American Military Edged Weapons Museum

3562 Old Philadelphia Pike, P.O. Box, 6, Intercourse, PA 17534, 717-768-7778

Hours of operation are 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

April: Saturday only

May-November: Monday-Saturday

December-March: Closed

Nero the Pict took me to this wonderful museum this past June. The proprietor, Larry P. Thomas Senior, takes $5 at the door for a tour of his personal collection, which he has been gathering since he was 14, before WWII.

One turns left and views cabinets of edged weapons topped by firearms of the period, beginning with the French and Indian War, and finally ending back at Larry’s desk, with a display of the latest special forces tactical knives.

Larry is a class guy who is always eager to discuss his collection with people who possess any shred of experience or knowledge on the subject.

The periods which saw the greatest evolution in edged weapons in the American Military experience were the Philippine Insurrection and WWII in the Pacific. The extensive—even mind-boggling—variety of U.S. factory-made and theater-modified weapons reminds the military reader that conquering forces, as far back as 1700 B.C. were borrowing the edged weapon types wielded by their enemies, from the Egyptians hiring Hittite Mercenaries to employ their deadly straight sword’s on Pharaoh’s behalf, to the Sea Peoples borrowing the Khopsh of the Egyptians, the Roman legions adopting the Iberian sword and even the Amerindians fashioning their war clubs out of rifle stocks.

Nero assured me that some of the cabinet-top firearms were astounding finds. But for this primitive, the thousands of different blade designs—including over a hundred machete types—satisfied me as to where I came from and why holding the right blade in hand ages after still feels like the unsheathing of some ancestral claw.

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