FRENCH MODEL 1801 CUTLASS
‘Le Sabre d’Abordage’,
(Sabre De Bord or Boarding Cutlass)
the French Republic Calendar Year a Model IX Presented is a historic French Model 1801
cutlass and metal scabbard that set the standard for all European cutlasses, as well as the US Model 1860 cutlass, which
years later closely copied it . Its distinguishing features are a cast iron hilt with a pommel in the form of a Phrygian helmet,
large shell guard, and wide blade. The M 1801 called an IX when using the French Republican calendar, followed
earlier French designs, and used an octagonal iron grip formed over a wood core which was protected by
an iron shell guard on the obverse. The upright quillion of the IX model has five unique lobes on its face.
The iron blade is 26 1/2 inches long, 3/8 inch thick, and 1 3/8 inches wide and is marked with a large anchor on both
sides. Nearly all the French cutlasses were made by Klingenthal and normally carried their mark on the spine of the blade
near the hilt. This one may have been made by another manufactory, so there is no question as to its authenticity.
The Model 1860 US Naval Cutlass shown for comparison
MARKINGS: The scabbard and the blade at the ricasso carry the number
267 hand painted in white. We believe this to be a museum accession number since all military numbers would be stamped in
the metal as is the stamped number 295 which is on the inside of the top the quillion. On the obverse ricasso is
small lettering that is covered by the guard and cannot be read. The same is true on the reverse ricasso. On the spine is
what may be a single letter. Stamped on each side of the blade near the hilt is a 1 1/2 inch anchor with stock slanting toward
the sharp edge. Blade Markings: a painted 267 and an engraved or stamped
slanting anchor CONDITION OF GUARD: The knuckle bow has a flange that accepts
an elliptical guard which acts as a hand shield. The curved hand shield is riveted to the flange at the rear and then
brazed on the stirrup strap. This forms a solid half shell guard. There are small dents on the guards face and it
has a mottled greenish brown and black patina of age on the outside and a light rusty film on the inside.
Various views of the iron hilt and guard of the French
M 1801 i.e. Year IX cutlass
Sections of the obverse blade of the French M 1801 IX
Both sides of the French Model IX of 1801
SCABBARD & BLADE CONDITION: In addition
to what has been described elsewhere, the blade and all individual parts are tight and correct. The blade
is sharp with numerous small nicks for the first two thirds of its length and has a mottled Silver Grey
finish with some dark spotting on the exterior of the shell guard. The interior of the shell guard shows light
surface rust. The scabbard has some dents, scratches and discoloration down its length, but is sturdy and no seam shows. There
is a hook on the back for attaching to a belt.
Both sides of the French Model IX Cutlass’s metal
Cutlass 31 3/4″ long overall. 26 1/2″ blade length
Max width of blade 1 3/8″ Max thickness 3/8″
Fuller 1″ W x 21 5/8″ L
Total weight 3 lbs. 10 1/2 oz.
Weight Cutlass 2 lbs 11 oz
is a rare and superior example of an French Sabres du Bord Cutlass and will be appreciated by those who value historic