These were civilian weapons popular from the late1400’s to the early 1700’s. Designed originally as personal cut and thrust swords, they achieved a high level of complexity in hilt design with regional and fashion styles coming in and out of popularity over nearly 300 years. They were long bladed and relatively unwieldy weapons with bad physics in terms of being effective cutting tools, but with our modern theatrical conventions, the shortening and lightening of the blades have lead to a lively, fast, and entertaining sort of swordplay.
Our modern Rapiers tend to come with three distinct types of blades: The extra wide epee (a beefed up practice fencing blade, super light, the least durable, and least accurate looking, but also least expensive) The Schlaeger Blade (German fencing blade, flattened diamond or oval in section. usually a half inch wide with a slight taper to the point. still light and fast but shows up better onstage and tends not to fall out of its hangers so easily. More durable too.) The Full Size Rapier Blade (The most Historically accurate in terms of size and look, but also makes the sword more accurate in terms of how the real swords were once handled. slower, not very popular with the Theater Stage combat community.) I can get all of these in different lengths. Standard is 35″ from point to shoulders, but I can get longer and cut them down to whatever length you choose.
There are so many different hilt styles of rapier, it will spin your head. This gallery has been broken down to try and make some sense of the classifications. I am using the Ewart Oakschott terms as much as I can, but am also leaning toward naming the styles for ease of discussion. Swept hilted rapiers are the ones with the lovely swoopy bars that create a cage to protect the hand and help to entrap any blade point that comes in contact with it. They are often classified as Quarter hilts, half hilts, three quarter hilts, and full hilts. You will see the differences in the gallery. There are also cup hilts, Papenheimer hilts, Cavalier hilts, English hilts, and transitional hilts.