Albion is proud to announce the results of Peter Johnsson's
intensive decades-long research project:

The Johnsson Typology
of the Swizzle Sword

Peter Johnsson's illustration of the basic typology of the Swizzle Sword.(1)
Please keep in mind that this typology is a modern construct and would be quite foreign to bartenders and inebriates of any time period. Not all swizzle swords fit neatly into a given "type" -- something that Johnsson freely admitts.
The typology should be regarded as a tool to enhance your understanding of the swizzle sword and its intended function, not as a final authority.

An example of Peter's exhaustive documentation
of a happy hour original.
This original (tentatively classified as a Type B) was discovered in remarkably well-preserved condition in a dumpster behind the SunFish Room of the Poughkeepsie Hilton, by noted cultural archeo-anthropologist Dr. Paul "Dumpster Diver" Hanson.

Peter studies every visual aspect carefully, including volumes and distribution of mass.

Peter tests the tensile strength, flexibility and other factors to determine the lost secrets that may be contained in the heat-treating and temper of the original sword

Careful documentation and personal observation of the original is critical to any accurate reconstruction.

Accurate and painstaking measurements of every dimension are ciritcal. When asked about the inherent difficulties in documenting original swizzle swords, Peter responded: "Gee, they're small."

Until now, the fascinating world of swizzle swords has been a sadly neglected field of study.

But thanks to a partnership with the Fraternal Order Of Licentious Swordsmen, Peter has been able to document the majority of existing types, many never seen before by anyone with a blood alcohol level below .10.

Frequenting bars, pubs, nightclubs, and taverns worldwide, he has put great effort in categorizing the intoxicating variety of these sensational stir sticks. Peter has thrown himself into his work with an enthusiasm unknown among other swizzle sword researchers. He has proven himself willing, day or night, rain or shine, to be willing to go to any drinking establishment claiming to have an original swizzle sword on display. Even if they don't have an original swizzle sword on display, he has never been known to leave until "bar time" once he has begun an investigation. Now that's dedication.

While we will not, (in the interest of saving space and time), discuss the materials used in the making of these original swizzle swords, we will reveal that they are almost universally made of a material referred to commonly as plastic. (2)

Following is Johnsson's Typology in summary form.

is characterized by its knobbed crossguard and spherical pommel. The blade is very pointy. Generally found in pink, purple or green.

the most common, is also very pointy. Typically found in yellow or white.

resembles the fencing epée, complete with knobbed end (i.e.: not very pointy), and thus is not well suited for skewering olives, cherries or the like. Its primary function is to stir mixed adult beverages. Often seen in green, blue or mauve.

is notable for its spatulate quillons in "S" formation or sometimes "C" as in the sub-TYPE D2. The long narrow blade is often found spearing several maraschino cherries (i.e.: very pointy), but is also especially efficient in impaling sandwiches, or fixing cheese to little bits of salami (see footnote (1) below). Generally found in black, red and teal.

while not properly a sword, merits inclusion as being a sword-fish (i.e.: not so much very pointy as very smelly). Limited mainly to coastal areas or seafood restaurants (5) it most commonly appears in blue, grey or white.

A more exhaustive work on Johnsson's Typology will be published on April 1st of next year, complete with an expanded typology, photographs and statistics of period originals, tentatively titled:

Records of the Swizzle Sword

A companion videotape, Lord of the Swizzle, (the Johnsson Typology explained through song and interpretive dance) is being filmed now. (4)

For information on our forthcoming line of painstaking reproductions,

The Albion MarkTM Peter Johnsson
Next Generation
TM SquireTM MaestroTM MuseumTM Swizzle SwordTM LineTM

click here.


(1) Though generally designed to be both "decorative" and "fully functional" thrusting swords, not all swizzle swords were used as "fruit-retaining adult beverage garnish ehancements" -- some original swizzle swords, in fact, have been observed being used as "multi-layer food integration and retention devices" (as in a "club" sandwich) and as "single-food presentation/manipulation gription (3) devices" (as seen in period illustrations of the "cocktail weenie.") Peter theorizes that this is a uniquely French invention and classifies this application as
epées d'hors d'oeuvers
(to distinguish them from the medieval epées de guerre)
, and acknowledges that this is a very separate area of study worthy of much additional investigation, especially since he has not had lunch yet.

(2) When we talk of a substance being “plastic” (the adjective) most people would agree on its meaning. [Ed. Note: "I have one word for you..."] It can flow or be moulded, it is ductile or it can be shaped, but when we turn to defining “plastics” (the noun) we have problems. Almost any simple definition will exclude materials which everyone would agree should be included so we have to turn to scientific terms and start with the comment that plastics are all polymers (poly = many). [Ed. Note: so what does 'mer' mean?] Natural polymers have been with us since time began but synthetic polymers are much more recent, their origins being traced to Alexander Parkes and his exhibits of Parkesine [Ed. Note: Ego much?] at the International Exhibition of London in 1862. Natural polymers include shellac [Ed Note: in the Midwest, this is pronounced "shlak."], tortoiseshell and horn, as well as many resinous tree saps. All these have been processed with heat and pressure into articles such as hair combs and items of jewellery for many centuries. A polymer is simply a very large molecule made up of many smaller units joined together, generally end to end, to create a long chain. The smallest “building block” of a polymer is called a monomer (mono = one) [Ed. Note: so what does 'mer' mean??] and if all the monomers are chemically the same, then that polymer is called a homopolymer. [Ed Note: not gonna touch that one...] Monomers [Ed Note: monomer doo doo dee doo doo, monomer doo doo dee doo... now I have that song going in my head and it won't stop...] generally contain carbon and hydrogen with, sometimes, other elements such as oxygen, nitrogen, chlorine or fluorine. Perhaps the most common example of a synthetic homopolymer today is polyethylene or “polythene” whilst other common materials are polypropylene, polystyrene and poly(vinyl chloride), more commonly know as “PVC”. Sometimes two monomers are used, monomer “A” and monomer “B” which join together chemically in an alternating sequence: -A-B-A-B-A-B- etc. to give a copolymer. Examples of this type are the nylon family, the most common member being called nylon 66 for the simple reason that “A” and “B” both contain 6 carbon atoms in their respective monomers. [Ed Note: so what is the 'other' '6' for?] From here on there are a number of possibilities. “A” and “B” could couple randomly, short chains of “A” could couple to short chains of “B” and there is even the possibility of the inclusion of a third monomer, monomer “C”. These can be very simply visualised by thinking of Christmas “paper chains” with each link being one monomer and different colours used to illustrate each type [Ed Note: Yeah, we all have that kind of time on our hands.]. Another example would be the classic plastic necklace made of “poppets” [Ed. Note: and "pop" =... and "pets" =...? C'mon, help us out here. And I still want to know what 'mer' means...]. Polymers are divided into two distinct groups: thermoplastics and thermosets. The thermoplastics are those which, once formed, can be heated and reformed over and over again. This property allows for easy processing and facilitates recycling. Thermosets cannot be reformed or remoulded. Once these polymers are formed in a particular shape, that is it! [Ed. Note: what an odd thing to be so excited about...] The earliest of all synthetic plastics, Parkesine, was of the former type whilst the first of all truly synthetic plastics, Bakelite, belongs to the latter category. Thermosets differ from thermoplastics chemically in that heating the former introduces a three-dimensional network to the long chains so that they are no longer able to flow freely past one another like they can in the case of the thermoplastics. Whilst all plastics are polymers, not all polymers are plastics. Rubbers, more properly today called “elastomers” [Ed. Note: I thought they were called "jimmy hats"? And we get the 'elasto' part, so what does 'mer' mean???] are also polymers and everything written above about the structure of plastics applies to elastomers. Whilst everyone would claim to be able to distinguish between a rubber and a plastic, there are many plastics on the market which have some elastic character and the distinction becomes blurred at the interface [Ed. Note: Yeah, right.]. Plasticized PVC is elastic enough to be used in applications where rubbers would be an equally valid choice [Ed. Note: Yeah, try telling her that...] whilst the Kratons are polymers of the (“A-A-A-A-A-A-” coupled to “B-B-B-B-B-B-B-”) type where the “A”’s are plastic segments and the “B”’s rubbery ones [Ed. Note: to simulate what this chain is like, press your lips together and gently move the side of your index finger across the surface of your lips vertically, while making an "A" sound.]. These behave as thermoplastic materials on heating but like vulcanized rubbers at ambient temperature. Raw elastomers are of course thermoplastic but become thermosets after vulcanization. [Ed. Note: next year we will let you know what 'mer' means...promise.]

(3) "Gription" is a registered trade-mark of Amy Waddell, and is used here with her express written permission.

(4) This video companion will include bonus footage of Mike Sigman performing a cutting demonstration with a Type D2 swizzle sword on worms he "accidentally" discovered at the bottom of several tequila bottles, in the historic setting of Ye Olde Sportsman's Barr & Grille in scenic New Glarus, Wisconsin.

(5) Swordfish can be prepared in many tasty ways. Example: Blackened Swordfish: Prepare 6- to 8-ounce fish steaks or fillets, preferably more than 1/2 inch thick, skin removed. Use prepared or store bought Blackening Seasoning or combine the following ingredients: 1 tbsp fine chopped fresh or 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh or 1 1/2 tsp dried marjoram or dried oregano 1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper 2 tsp salt 1 tsp freshly ground white pepper Set aside 1/4 cup pure olive oil Note: If your using fillets, pull out any small bones. Method: Thoroughly combine the chopped herbs, cayenne, salt, and pepper in a medium mixing bowl. Heat an iron skillet over high heat until the metal takes on a dull, matte appearance, which indicates it is almost red-hot. Depending on your stove, this will take 5 to 10 minutes. Coat the fillets on both sides with half the olive oil and then pat only one side with the herb mixture. With the heat still on high, place the fillets in the pan, herb side down (they'll smoke like crazy ) for about 2 minutes. Turn the fillets over into a second saute pan - preferably non-stick- containing the rest of the olive oil, set over medium heat. Cook the fillets for 2 to 6 minutes more, depending on thickness. More recipes can be found here.

Artwork and sword typology/specifications © April 1 2005 Peter Johnsson.
Albion Armorers International is the sole worldwide licensee for this product

Albion offers a maintenance plan to keep your Albion Mark swords like new. Click here for details

Albion Home Page

Site Map