Saturday, February 6, 2010

Retiree photographs South Carolina weapons

Kraft, Goldschmidt & Kraft was one of two principal sword makers in Columbia, S.C., during the Civil War, turning out some of the finest blades in the Confederacy.

But it also made common, unrefined swords for lower-ranking officers and enlisted men.

Saturday, Walt Lineberger was taking photos of both extremes at the Chickamauga Civil War Show in Dalton, Ga.

The craftsmanship was markedly different.

K.G.& K. made money selling the fancy swords “and the less expensive ones out the back door,” said Lineberger, who is putting together a photography book with the working title “South Carolina Implements of War.” He is looking for a publisher to print the book in the next few years. It will include swords, buckles, plates and other items.

Lineberger, a Yale University graduate living in Bluffton, S.C., has been working about five months on the book. The retiree is taking photos of his extensive private collection and collectibles at shows like the one in Dalton.

I spoke with him briefly as he took shots of the beautiful K.G. & K sword valued at around $35,000 that belongs to a dealer. The guard was ornately designed and the blade featured several motifs, including laurel leaves.

“Very few people collect South Carolina stuff per se,” says Lineberger, who is doing research along with the photography. He owns one of 10 known cavalry swords linked to Gen. Wade Hampton-style, a native son of the Palmetto State.

The Civil War seems to run through Lineberger's blood. His great-grandfather rode with Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was involved in more than 100 skirmishes and battles. Other relatives fought for the North. The active collector is considered to have one of the best collections in South Carolina.

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