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Manufacturers of Regulation Model Enlisted Swords During the US Civil War

by Mike McWatters

American Manufacturers

Ames Mfg. Co.
The Ames Company started production of military contract swords in 1832 with the M1832 foot artillery sword, and ended with the M1906 cavalry saber in 1906. Ames produced more swords for the American military than any other company before or since, totalling over 200,000 swords in service by the end of the Civil War. In that time, at least ten different manufacturing marks were used on the swords. A little knowledge of the company history helps place a date range for when each stamp was used. When the company started producing swords it was led by Nathan P. Ames, and most marks reflected that fact. In 1847, Nathan died and left the company to his brother James. The markings on the blades were immediately changed from N.P. Ames to Ames Mfg. Co. In 1848, the town of Cabotville was incorporated into Chicopee, Massachusetts, and the marks were once again changed to reflect this. I have, however, seen blades dated as late as 1850 that still bear the Cabotville stamp, as the old dies were probably used until they were worn out.

The M1832 foot artillery swords, being Ames's first swords, were stamped with the eagle trademark already common on their other products. The attached picture shows most of the important details of the sword, except for the fact that the scabbard stud appears to have been removed and two carrying rings were attached. I have also observed several examples dated 1835 that do not bear an inspector’s initials on the blade. In most cases the marks will show some wear from being rubbed by the scabbard, and may be partially or mostly obliterated. Dates found on this sword range from 1832 to 1862, and I have included pictures of swords from every decade included in that span. The early models of this sword were marked as having been made in Springfield instead of Cabotville. The M1841 cutlass (dated 1842-1846) is the only other military issue Ames sword marked this way. The cutlass has been seen to list either the Springfield or Cabotville address, although these swords lack the eagle mark.

Ames’ second contract was for the M1833 dragoon saber. A rather clumsy weapon, it was quickly replaced. The marks on this saber appear to have actually been engraved into the blades, rather than stamped. In cursive script, they read N.P. Ames/Cutler/Springfield/year, and are dated from 1834 to 1839.

The 1840 models of cavalry, NCO, light artillery, and musician swords tend to have identical styles of marks for corresponding years. This trend continues when the 1860 models of cutlass and cavalry saber are introduced. The 1840 models’ were originally marked with N.P. Ames/Cabotville/date in the 1840s, followed by Ames Mfg. Co. /Cabotville/date around 1847, then by Ames Mfg. Co/Chicoppee/Mass in the 1850s. The latter mark was also used through the Civil war on some cavalry sabers. Sometime in the late 1850s (the earliest I have seen was 1859), Ames started using a new mark on all enlisted models that was carried through the Civil War. The words Made by/Ames Mfg. Co/Chicopee/Mass are enclosed within an unraveled scroll, and initials/US/date is stamped on the opposite side of the blade. This scroll mark is usually very weak, and often has been partially worn down by the scabbard—this is a feature that helps in authenticating the sword. I have also seen one other Ames mark, which I've seen repeatedly, but only on M1860 cavalry sabers dated 1864. The mark is shaped like an arc with the words Ames Mfg. Co/Chicopee,/Mass.

Finally, I am including pictures of the M1905 experimental saber and the M1906 Cavalry saber. I have twice seen the M1906 sold as a Civil War piece after the date was removed, so let the buyer beware! The M1905 and M1906 are the only models with a flaming bomb on the ricasso, and the company mark abbreviated to A.S.Co./bomb/1906. The mark is deep, and shouldn’t be worn off.
M1833 dragoon saber mark, 1837
Heavy artillery sword, with modified throat, dated 1838
Heavy artillery sword, dated 1847
Heavy artillery sword, dated 1850-something
Heavy artillery sword, dated 1862
M1841 cutlass, dated 1845
Heavy cavalry saber, dated 1845
Heavy cavalry saber, dated 1846
Heavy cavalry saber, dated 1847
Heavy cavalry saber, dated 1850
Heavy cavalry saber, dated 1857
Light artillery saber, dated 1849
Light artillery saber, dated 1862
Light artillery saber, dated 1865
NCO sword, dated 1848
Musician sword, dated 1859
Light Cavalry saber, dated 1864 with the arc-shaped mark.
M1870 bayonet, for reference
M1905 cavalry saber, for reference
M1906 cavalry saber, for comparison to the M1860
Possible State of Virginia purchased M1860 cav saber

Christopher Roby, W. Chelmsford, Mass.
Christopher Roby ran a prolific, but short-lived swordmaking business from 1861 until 1867. In this time, his company produced 32,200 M1860 cavalry sabers (dated 1861,63,64, and 65), 3500 M1840 musician swords (dated 1863-65), 12,500 M1840 NCO swords (dated 1862-65), and an unknown number of M1840 light artillery sabers. Except for the first sabers sold in 1861, Roby’s marks generally followed two forms. The NCO, musician, and rarely cavalry swords had a circular mark made up of the words C. Roby W. Chelmsford MS, while the cavalry and artillery sabers had a linear C. Roby over a half-circular W. Chelmsford and a linear Mass. The assumed 1861 stamp is merely a line saying C.Roby. Another identifying feature of Roby cavalry sabers is that they have two extra turns of wire wrap on the grip, making it extend completely through the pommel. This trait is otherwose only found on M1840 models, which makes it possible to identify a Roby saber if the marks have been worn off. Roby also made officer’s swords and fraternal swords, but that topic is another story entirely. The 1865 dated swords were not delivered until after the cessation of hostilities, and therefore never saw active duty during the war. The Roby Company went bankrupt and sold its name and equipment shortly after the war.
Cavalry saber, with the 1861 stamp
NCO sword, dated 1863
Cavalry saber, dated 1864
Cavalry saber, dated 1865
Cav. saber hilt, showing the wire wrap
Cavalry saber, dated 1863 with NCO style mark
Cavalry saber, dated 1863 with rare 3-line mark

Mansfield and Lamb, Forrestdale, RI
Mansfield and Lamb was little more than a textile and tool company before the war, but rose up to become the second largest domestic producer of cavalry sabers in the war. With seven contracts, totalling 37,458 M1860 sabers, the company made swords throughout the war. Their oval shaped stamp is usually very clearly struck, as opposed to the war era Ames stamps. Unlike Ames, this company only had one style of mark, as well as only one style of sword.
M1860 cavalry saber, dated 1862
Another M1860 cav

Emerson and Silver, Trenton, NJ
Emerson and Silver, like C. Roby, was another prolific company that made a brief appearance for the Civil War, then dried up. The company operated from 1860-1865, making 27,060 M1860 cavalry sabers, 3000 musician swords, 12,000 NCO swords, and an unknown number of light artillery sabers. The artillery sabers are mounted with blades similar to the cavalry sabers. The company only used two stamp styles for its swords federal government contracts. Cavalry sabers have an arc-shaped Emerson over a linear Silver/Trenton/NJ, as pictured, and NCO swords have the Emerson in the usual arc, with the Silver in a mirrored arc, creating an appearance like a convex lens. In 1863 and 1864, E&S also made M1840 cavalry sabers with '60 style grips for the state of New Jersey, with a distinct pattern of stamp that can be used to identify these swords.
M1840 NCO sword
M1860 cavalry saber
NJ Emerson & Silver

P.S. Justice, Philadelphia
Phillip Justice held contracts for 13,685 cavalry sabers and 1050 light artillery sabers in 1861. Two marking styles are known—both say P.S. Justice/Philada, but one has the lines both parallel, the other has the first line as an arc with the second as a line. The picture shown is of the first marking, which was applied to the M1840 (they still made the older model) cavalry saber blades imported from Schnitzler and Kirshbaum. This mark is far more common than the second, which is found on the blades made by the firm itself. I have only seen pictures of the second mark, so I don’t know if the cavalry sabers with this mark are of the 1840 or 1860 pattern.
M1840 cavalry saber with imported blade
M1840 cavalry saber with domestic blade

Providence Tool Co.
Here we have another tool company that started making weapons for the war effort. This was one of the smaller sword contractors, totalling 11,434 M1860 cavalry sabers, dated 1861-63. This company’s primary wartime effort seems to have been devoted to making guns and bayonets, rather than swords, and only one style of mark was used on swords.
M1860 cavalry saber

DJ Millard, Clayville, NY
DJ Millard held a single contract for 10,000 M1860 cavalry sabers, dated 1861. His swords are fairly rare, but Ames still holds a premium when it comes to price.
M1860 cavalry saber

Collins and Co., Hartford Conn.
Collins and Company was one of the smaller producers of swords for the Civil War. The company had contracts for 1000 musician swords and 648 NCO swords, in addition to its orders for officer swords. I’ve also seen Marine NCO swords made by this company. There only appears to have been one style of marking used during the war, but I’ve seen the date placed on either side of the blade. Oddly enough, these swords were not inspected by the US government, and therefore are missing the US mark and the inspection mark. After the war, the company continued to make swords that were used in later conflicts in South America, and had US government contracts to make machetes up through WWII. A late version of their mark includes the word ‘Legitimus.’
M1840 NCO sword
M1840 Marine Corps NCO sword

Sheble and Fisher, Philadelphia
Sheble and Fisher diversified from the pattern most companies followed of making only cavalry sabers, and also made M1840 NCO swords, light artillery sabers, and M1860 cutlasses. I have seen several of the M1840 pattern of saber, and own one of the more rare M1860 patterns. This firm's sabers have a flatter pommel cap than many others, I've seen some with copper wire wraps instead of brass, and the '60s have narrow-grooved handles that look almost like the '40 model. Since this firm only made swords during the Civil War, it is important to note that although the heavy cavalry saber (old wristbreaker) was no longer the standard issue at the beginning of the war, it was by no means totally superceded by the light cavalry saber.
M1840 Cavalry saber
Closeup of the mark from another M1840 cav

Tiffany & Co, NY
It almost seems absurd to think that the current Tiffany’s store in New York once dealt in weapons of war. When it comes to swords, the firm is primarily known for presentation-grade officer’s swords, and their two unique styles of cavalry sabers. The first saber is identical to the M1840 cavalry saber, but is mounted with a 3-bar iron hilt. The second is identical to the English P1822 dragoon saber, which is similar to the US M1833 dragoon saber, but has an ear attached to the backstrap on the handle. The mark was identical on both, and is shown in the picture. Tiffany dealt almost exclusively in imported blades, most being from Peter D. Luneschloss (see PDL mark under foreign makers), or Schnitzler and Kirschbaum (see S&K mark under foreign makers). There were also a small number of NCO and foot artillery swords sold by Tiffany, but I cannot comment on the marks on these.
English style Tiffany saber
Iron Hilted Cavalry saber
Mark from Iron Hilted saber

W.H. Horstmann & Sons, NY and Philadelphia
Although Horstmann was more of a resaler than a maker, I am including one of this firm’s marks anyways. I’ve seen at least 5 versions of the Horstmann mark, most on a variety of officer’s sabers. The carried a range of sword varieties rivaled only by the Ames company. Most standard issue models were sold, as well as a huge variety of related military equipment. Most, if not all, blades were imported from Germany, and some still carry marks from their German makers. Horstmann held government contracts for 1043 cavalry sabers, 1143 NCO swords, 270 musician swords, and 87 light artillery sabers, and is the only known maker of the M1840 Marine sword.
Light artillery saber
Heavy cavalry saber
Light cavalry saber
Foot artillery sword
Another view of the foot arty
Horstmann M1840 Marine sword
Horstmann Son & Drucker on a pre-CW saber.

State of Massachusetts
The state of Massachusetts provided a small number of M1860 sabers during the Civil War. There are also a lot of Ames foot artillery sabers marked MS on the guard and scabbard drag that may or may not be related to the state of Massachusetts. Beware, as many modern replicas of the artillery sword have these marks.
Cavalry saber with a possible Massachusetts mark

Charles Hammond
Hammond ran an edged tool factory in Philadelphia with his son. He had government contracts for 5,000 axes and 5,000 hatchets, and also made tomahawks and a small number of sabers. His swords are rather crude in appearance, with blades that appear handmade and roughly cast guards, have no US stamp or inspection marks, and have a grip that doesn't taper like other '40 models or swell like '60 models. With such deviations from the norm, it is no surprise that William Albaugh included them in Confederate Edged Weapons. However, being made in Philadelphia, these are truly Union swords.
Cavalry saber

Henry Sauerbeier
New York City, and Newark, New Jersey. Sauerbeir made a wide variety of presentation grade officer sabers, regulation officer sabers, and a variation of 1840 cavalry saber that has an unstopped fuller, a grip like an M1860, a screw in the tang, and a slightly different pommel set at about a 45 degree angle to the handle. The cavalry sabers are often unmarked, but can by identified by their unique construction.
Cav. officer sword showing the bent pommel
Cavalry saber
Cavalry saber hilt, showing fuller and pommel

Lemuel Leland
Leland made a small number of M1840 cavalry sabers for the war. I have encountered four, none in their original hilts. Unfortunately, I lost the picture in a computer crash, but as I recall, the mark is simply the name ‘LELAND’ in block type.
Lost in a crash

William Glaze
William Glaze was an agent for the Ames company until 1851, when he started the Palmetto armory in state of South Carolina. He produced 2000 M1840 cavalry sabers and 526 light artillery sabers in 1852. Although these were all used by the Confederacy during the war, it’s important to note that these were all regulation US models made nine years before the war, and in no way should have the letters CSA on them. Most cavalry sabers are marked “Columbia, S.C.” on one side, and some have Wm. Glaze & Co on the other side of the ricasso. The marks on the artillery sabers are unknown. These are often treated as Confederate weapons by collectors, and rightly so since they were made for the state of South Carolina, so they will certainly be found at a much higher price than sabers by other manufacturers.
Columbia, SC mark on a Glaze M1840 saber

Smith, Crane, and Company
A rarer company to find, I finally stumbled across this picture in Feb. '01. SC&C operated out of New York City, and held contracts for 482 cavalry sabers of the '40 and '60 patterns from 1861-2, all of which were imported from Germany (S&K is on record). I've been told that two of the surviving sabers can be found in the Milwaukee Public Museum.
Handle, showing European style of construction.
S.C.&C. Mark on an M1840 cav. saber.

J.B. Allere, Chicago
This ID is only one possiblity. These usually seem to have initials underneath the JBA, possibly those of inspectors. I've seen AGM inspection marks on these swords, making these the only swords other than Roby's that had that inspector. It is possible that the blades were surplus blades that Roby sold to another manufacturer.
JBA mark with inspector's initials underneath.

Tomes & Melvain, held contracts for 3289 sabers and 814 sabers of English pattern (probably P1853). This mark, a single capital T, is believed to have been theirs but there is still some doubt.

Samuel Bunting, Jr.
One of many Philadelphia companies that sold a small number of cavalry sabers. Most of these smaller companies probably kept a small number of imported cavalry sabers on hand (with their own stamp of course) to sell on an as-needed basis. This company also sold M1850 officer sabers, from which this photograph was taken.
S.J.Bunting Jr., Phila.

Henry Disston
Henry Disston was truly a model of the self-made man that helped fuel the American dream. He arrived in Philadelphia from England in 1833, started working in a saw shop, and by 1840 had set himself up as a saw and tool maker. His factories grew, and their complex eventually became its own town. He primarily dealt in steel products, including guns, swords, and armor plate. The company continued well into the 20th century, producing tools and carrying government contracts during both World Wars. The company sold to a Swedish firm in 1984. I haven’t seen the sword mark, but a quick search on the internet or eBay will result in many pictures of their tools. Their sword mark is probably very similar to their tool mark.

William Clement
Owned a Northampton, Massachusetts toolmaking factory that operated until 1970. His primary contributions to the war seem to have been 3000 muskets for Massachusetts in 1863, and an unknown amount of cavalry sabers.

Hamilton Ruddick
Ruddick was a machinist and dealer in military goods in Boston. He produced officer sabers, as well as cutlasses and cavalry sabers. I have never seen his swords.

Schuyler, Hartley, and Graham, New York City
This was one of the largest suppliers of military goods during the Civil War. They supplied weapons, uniforms, camp supplies, uniform accessories, and a wide variety of other products. They had a contract for 3424 cavalry swords, 567 artillery sabers, and 1620 NCO swords, as well as having produced officer swords. I have only seen the officer models by this firm, so I can’t yet comment upon the marks on the regulation enlisted patterns. A reproduction of one of their catalogs is also available in many bookstores.

Other Contractors
The following companies had contracts, but I don’t know if they made their own swords, imported them, or defaulted on their contracts. Realistically, most were probably imported and may not have been marked by the importing company.

J. C. Grubb & Co., Philadelphia, contract for 248 sabers in 1861
Peter Hayden, New York City, contract for 1500 cavalry and 491 artillery sabers in 1862
William Hahn, New York City, contracts for 335 sabers
W.M.B. Hartley, New York City, contracts for 752 sabers
John Hoey, New York City, contract for 1800 sabers in 1861
T. Kessman, New York City, contract for 1000 sabers in 1861
Benj. Kitteridge & Co, Cincinatti, 200 sabers in 1861
Leisenring, Philadelphia, contracts for 21,196 sabers through the Ames company.
Maas & Schoverling, contract for 1682 sabers in 1861
J. Meyer, contracts for 12,260 cavalry sabers
Noell & Albermann, New York City, contract for 357 NCO/musician swords in 1862
J.C. Palmer, Hartford, Conn, contract for 150 artillery sabers in 1861
Palmer & Bacheldor, contract for 370 cavalry sabers in 1861
John Pondir, Philadelphia, 50 cavalry officers sabers in 1862
George Raphael, Philadelphia, contract for 100 artillery sabers in 1861 And 1000 artillery short swords in 1862
Read and Sons, Boston, contract for 328 sabers in 1861
Robinson, Adams, and Co, imported 975 swords in 1863
Charles W. Ruprecht, New York City, contract for 483 sabers in 1861
Gustavus Sacchi, New York City, contract for 2882 cavalry sabers in 1861
P.& L. Schifflin, New York City, contracts for 1928 sabers, 509 musician swords, and 862 NCO swords in 1861
W.J. Syms, New York City, contract for 13 artillery sabers in 1861
Gilbert Tobey, New York City, contract for 2573 NCO swords
Phillip Tuska, New York City, contracts for 2877 sabers and 98 NCO swords
William Wilstatch, Philadelphia, contract for 937 sabers and 1000 NCO swords in 1861
Windmuller, New York City, contracts for 6685 sabers as well as musician, NCO, and light artillery swords

Foreign Marks

Many of these names are listed primarily as a reference, since I don’t have pictures from all of them or details about how many and what variety of blades were made. A rule of thumb with imported cavalry sabers is that most imports were of the M1840 model, and the handles of these were made of smooth wood, wrapped in string, then leather, then covered with the wire wrap. A few of these German manufacturers may not have made US regulation patterns, but were in business during the Civil War.

At the beginning of the war, several of the larger sword making companies imported a great number of swords, stamped them as their own, and then passed them on to the government to fulfill contracts. Ames imported 10,000 foreign made cavalry sabers in 1861, while Boker and Mansfield & Lamb both imported 18,000 that year. These blades might possibly bear marks of the original makers on the tangs, but it is impossible to tell without disassembling the sword.

German makers (from Solingen)
J.E. Bleckmann
Mark: a bow with BM inside it

Mark: Henry Boker, Solingen
Herman Boker imported swords from his brother, Henry (Heinrich), in Germany. He held contracts for over 45,000 cavalry sabers, 1646 artillery sabers, and 569 NCO swords.

William Clauberg
Mark: A standing knight with the company name, picture includes non-reg officer saber
Mark: W. Clauberg/Solingen

Clemen and Jung
Mark: C&J
Mark: Clemen and Jung/Solingen

Alex Coppel
Mark: A set of scales with Alex Coppel/Solingen around them
(this picture is of a WWII era sword, and has letters instead of the name)

FH Otto Curdts
Curdts on one side
Solingen on the other.

J.A. Henkels
Mark: Two standing stick men
(This company is still in business and makes cutlery)

Mark: Crossed keys (no pic yet)

F. Holler
Mark: A thermometer
(this is from a WWII era sword, the mark may have changed)

F. Horster
Mark: F.H. in a circle of dots
Mark: F.Horster/Solingen

S. Hoppe
Mark: A beehive

CR Kirschbaum
Mark: A knight’s head
Mark: C.K.

Peter D. Luneschloss
Mark: P.D.L. In a circle of dots

Friedrick Poetter
Mark: A rabbit head over F P
Another view, showing the construction of imported saber grips

Rohrig und Companie
Mark: RC (possibly the mark of a different maker?)

Schnitzler and Kirschbaum
It is important to note that the M1840 cavalry, NCO, musician, and light artillery patterns were first commissioned from S&K, rather than a domestic maker, and several subsequent orders were made. These swords all bear German proof marks (crown/date and crown/G) as well as their maker’s mark.
Mark: S&K

Wilhelm Walscheid
Mark: W. Walscheid/Solingen

Wester & Co
Mark: Wester & Co/Solingen

Gebruder Weyersberg
Mark: Several, most commonly a king’s head
(This company merged with WR Kirschbaum and is still in business today. A link to their web page is under dealers on my main page.)

English Manufacturers
Robert Mole & Son
Note: Mole imported English models of swords to the Confederacy.
Mark: Mole on the spine of the blade.

French Manufacturers
See articles on Klingenthal and Chatellerault, by Jean Bink. Not many French swords were imported to the US or CS during the Civil War without being marked by the importer, so beware French marked swords advertised as ‘probably Confederate’ unless specific, airtight documentation is attached.


C. Morel
I saw a picture of this sword’s mark and decided I had to include it. The sword is an M1860, and I gave it the greatest scrutiny to make sure that it wasn’t a replica. The scabbard is right on all points, the blade is correct (although the ricasso looks a little long) the guard has no flaws, and the pommel hasn’t been messed with. Morel isn’t listed in any of my books—is it European? Mexican? Is that the owner’s name?
Morel mark

Toledo, Spain
I have seen or heard of at least three different swords that were identical to the US M1840 cavalry, but were stamped Toledo, Spain. Were these made for Mexico? South America? Europe? Or did some American importers buy their swords from Spain? Or were blades later reassembled with different hilts?

In Conclusion--Thanks

I started this project about a year ago simply to satisfy my own thirst for knowledge in my hobby. I have lost a huge amount of pictures in two computer crashes, but now I am satisfied enough to post the article. This project may never be complete, but I hope that other collectors benefit from the pictures and information as much as I have. If anyone has more to contribute, please do so and I will post it. I would also like to thank the hundred or so people who have graciously allowed me to use their pictures for my own research and for this article, and eBay for providing me a place to do my research from my computer.

Mike McWatters

The American Sword, by Harold L. Peterson, 1954

American Swords and Sword Makers, by Richard Bezdek, 1994

American Swords in the Phllip Medicus Collection, by Norm Flayderman, 1998

The Ames Sword Company 1829-1935, by John Hamilton, 1983

Civil War Collector’s Encyclopedia, by Francis Lord, 1963

Collectors’ Guide to Ames US Contract Military Edged Weapons: 1834-1906, by Ron Hickox, 1984

Confederate Edged Weapons, by William A. Albaugh III, 1960

Man at Arms Magazine, vol.2, number 1, Jan/Feb 1980, “Christopher Roby and the Chelmsford Sword,” by John Hamilton

Man at Arms Magazine, vol.15, number 2, March/April 1993, “Schnitzler and Kirschbaum US Contract Swords,” by Richard Johnson.

Civil War Cavalry and Artillery Sabers by John Thillman, 2001 (I can't recommend this book enough!)

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