M 1852 Horstmann & Son Naval Officers Sword Ca 1860
U.S. NAVY OFFICER'S SWORD M1852
Horstmann & Sons, Philadelphia Ca 1860
This is a rare example
of a 19th Century M1852 Naval officer's sword of a pedigreed American maker with a non-regulation scabbard.
Blade: 1 3/16 inches wide, 1/4 inch thick, 29 1/2 inches long
Hilt 5 3/4 inches long. Length overall 36 1/4 inches in scabbard.
Primary Fuller 20 1/2” x 1/2“
Weight sword in scabbard 2 Lbs 14 oz Net 1 lb 14 oz
is an unusual, high quality, M1852 Naval Officer's sword from the time of the Civil War. It has a slightly curved
pipeback blade with two fullers, which was common to the Navy's M 1841 eagle pommel sword design. Horstmann alone
carried forward this feature to the M 1852 sword which sets their swords apart from all others. This is
a rare example of a 19th Century M1852 Naval officer's sword of a pedigreed American maker with a non-regulation
scabbard. The design on this sword's blade is described in detail below.
THE BLADE is 29 1/2 inches long by 1 3/16 inches wide and is 1/4 inch thick on the
spine which is marked IRON PROOF, and elsewhere is covered in flora and fana. The primary fuller is 1/2 inch wide
and runs 20 1/2 inches. Over this is a 1/8 inch wide fuller that runs 19 inches. It is etched over 15 1/2 inches
of its length. Above the obverse ricasso and as part of the design, standing horizontally, is Horstmann & Sons,
Philadelphia, on three lines.
The blade maintains
most of its original high polish on both sides with the design showing its features in the bright, and the body of the blade
acid etched and frosted light grey. There is very little mild spotting on the reverse, and light handling marks
throughout. The etching is sharp and distinct. The cutting edge is unsharpened and without nicks. The darkened red washer looks
to be original.
Horstmann mark above ricasso followed by naval symbols
and arms. IRON PROOF on spine.
Right above the Horstmann
name is a swirl of leaves 2 3/4 inch long, culminating in a rectangular design with a double border within
which is a fouled anchor with American shield on its shaft. Above that is an ellipse with thirteen stars with no name.
Next is a group of arms with pikes and battle axes topped by a pennant with USN. The design ends with a sun burst.
On the blade's
reverse is a geometric band 1 1/2 inch long of alternating swirls and double lines. Above that is a large 2 1/4
inch American eagle facing left perched on a ship's cannon barrel. Next is a large fowled anchor shown in 3/4 view
from the left. Then comes an ornate border and USN. The design continues with a square knot with an acorn
at the lower end, and then a series of oak leaves with the three strand line passing through and ending with another acorn
at the bitter end, and lastly a sun burst. Considering its age and service, the blade is in very good condition.
with Civil War Era markings. Arrows point maker name which dates it.
is 5 3/4 inches long ending in an engraved pommel with an end cap of a left facing eagle which is surrounded by thirteen
stars with the tang protruding though its chest. The number of stars in the official 1852 design is 13. The grip
is wrapped in white shark skin (shargreen) with thirteen turns of double twisted copper wire. The half basket
guard is per the pattern with forward facing sea serpent quillion flowing into a pierced guard with floral oak leaves
acorns and USN emblazoned on the obverse and the oak leaves and acorns repeated on the reverse. The lower hand guard terminates
in an ornate sea serpent. It is slotted for a sword knot or portapee which is added when the sword is
worn. Most of the gold wash remains. The shark skin wrap is in excellent condition.
Top: The scabbard which came with this
sword. Lower: A sword in correct scabbard
A serpent should be on the drag. Brass
square knots should be on the suspension mounts.
is 30 1/2 inches long by 1 1/2 inches wide at the throat. It is made of leather as called for by the 1852 Regulations.
It has plain copper bands, each stamped 56 serving to mount a suspension ring. The leather is in very good condition with
all stitching tight. There is some light scuffing on the inner side. All of the gold wash is gone. Length overall
when the sword is housed, 36 1/4 inches.
The only difference
between the original Model 1852 sword design shown on the left, and that authorized today, is that in some of today's
materials such as plastic instead of fish and ray skin, and lower quality metalwork are being used. Not so with this
sword which is of exceptional quality and conforms with the original specifications as follows:
1 1/8 inches to about 1 inch after 1872
about 3/4 to 7/8 inch in the later 19th Century,
* To 5/8 inch in today's Navy.
of 1852 had the eagle on the pommel facing right when viewed from behind. The use of the officer's sword was suspended
on 15 October 1942 and was not authorized officially again until 1954. Source Naval Historical and Heritage Command.
NAMES, DATES & LOCATIONS:
W.H. Horstmann & Sons
Horstmann Bros. & Allien
NY - 1852-77 Phila
- 1843 to 1863
W.H. Horstmann & Co
Phila 1859 - 1863
NY - 1850-52
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