Most Knights Templar swords available today are ceremonial or symbolic swords. They aren’t designed for fighting or to be used as a weapon. They are also different from the swords used in the Middle Ages by the Knights Templar to protect pilgrims and fight wars during the Crusades.
Swords used by the Templars of those days were plain, and not decorated like Masonic swords of today.
Knights Templar swords are valuable and can be passed on from one generation to another.
Features of a Knights Templar Sword
Sheath: The sheath of a Knights Templar sword could be nickel-plated or gold-plated. Nickel-plated knights templar swords traditionally belonged to Sir Knights while gold-plated sheaths are for Commanders in the United States or Preceptor in Canada. The markings on the sheath depend on the manufacturer.
Pommel of Sword: A Masonic Knights Templar sword usually have a knight’s head depicted on its pommel.
Grip: Most Knights Templar swords have a black or ivory grip. The grip will usually have the cross and crown emblem of the Order on it. Some will have a Christian cross or a cross and triangle. Grips can also have the initials of the sword owner on it.
Knuckle guard: The knuckle guard of some swords will have the cross and crown on them, but some will have the head of a knight.
Blade: Most Masonic Knights Templar sword have ornate blades with lily work and crusader scenes. The name of the owner is almost always engraved on the blade.
A Brief History of American Sword Manufacturers
If you have an old Masonic Knights Templar sword and you live in the USA, it’s possible that your ceremonial sword was made by one of the sword manufacturers in this segment.
In 1850, Frank Henderson of Michigan started making swords and apparel until he died in 1899. His company remained until 1923 before it was bought by The M.C. Lilley and company.
Frank Henderson briefly partnered with Theron F. Giddings from 1871 to 1873, but the company broke out of the partnership. After this, Henderson started distributing swords and regalia for the Ames Sword Company for about 20 years until both companies merged in 1893.
In 1894, Henderson bought out the E.A Henderson Regalia factory, and the company continued after he died in 1899 till 1923 when it was bought out by The M.C. Lilley and Company.
The company moved production to Columbus, Ohio and in 1931, the name was changed from The Lilley Company to the Lilley-Ames Company until they were bought out by C.E Ward in 1951. They were bought out when their company started to fail as a lack of product diversity.
If your Knights Templar sword was made in America between 1850 and 1953, it was likely made by one of the manufacturers mentioned above.
Here are some Knights Templar swords in Bricks Masons collection.