Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Swords, armor, shields, firearms, leather whips and holsters adorn the walls and line the inside of glass cases at Classic Blades in Fort Oglethorpe. From Old West to modern day, the store showcases a variety of replica weaponry for the avid collector.
“Swords have defined our history from the Bible to historical reference books,” said store owner Jeff Epperson, who also owns Factory X. “People want to buy a piece of fantasy. They own a sword because it’s like owning a piece of history.”
His Classic Blades retail company works hand in hand with his other company, Factory X, that manufactures the products found in the store, including a lot of super hero-inspired weaponry. Epperson has created scythes that replicate those in the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” TV series. The scythe has an ax top and a wooden spike for the bottom, just like the ones the vampire slayers used in the show.
Other unique items found in the store are replicas of the sword used by Johnny Depp’s character Capt. Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Medieval-style Excalibur replica swords with unique designs and royal appeal also hang on the walls.
“We made the weaponry used in the movies ‘Elektra’ and ‘Underworld Evolution,’” said Epperson, who went on set for both movies in Vancouver. “I have the actual [red leather] bag that Jennifer Garner carried around in ‘Elektra.’ It has her key in it. It also has the small sais that she wore in her hair and the sais she carried in the film.”
Epperson designs the swords and knives and sends off the drafts to factories in Spain, China and India to manufacture them. Though the weapons are fantasy pieces, they are designed just like the originals, he said.
Aside from action hero-style swords, Epperson also carries eight to 10 different replicas of Civil War soldier swords. Foot officer swords and foot soldier swords for both the North and the South are sold in the store. Epperson personally has a Civil War saber sitting above his fireplace in his office for show. He also showcases a model 1873 revolver on the mantle.
To him, everything that Classic Blades does is a story and it’s about connecting people to the local history.
“A U.S. officer saber from the Civil War [on the North side] would have U.S. etched on it,” said Epperson, adding that he has replicas of the sword. “It had a metal scabbard. The sword was etched with an eagle. The sword was for higher-ranking military people.”
Even his store building is a key to local history.
“The Classic Blades building was built in 1902 as a stable where 6th Calvary horses stayed,” Epperson said. “The building was owned by the government until 1944. A variety of businesses have been here over the years.”