Ames M 1840 Cavalry – Dragoon Saber1849, 5 Stars

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Presented is a very scarce M1840 Ames Saber
dated 1849, that was made for the three Dragoon regiments in the Army’s Cavalry under a War Department contract for only 2940
pieces for this addendum. Design calls for brass basket guard with two branches in addition to knuckle bow and Phrygian
helmet pommel. For good reason, it was known as the “Old Wrist Breaker”, due to its over four pound weight while in the
scabbard. This rare piece is most suitable for a collector demanding the finest because of its excellent markings, overall
condition, and because it represents seventy five years of continuous service, first in the Mexican, then the Civil War, and
on in to WW I. 

MARKINGS: It is correctly marked with an US
over WD on two lines on the obverse, and is stamped Ames
Mfg. Co
. over Cabotsville over 1849 on thee lines on the reverse.
On the back of the pommel at the top is JWR and WD at the bottom.

CONDITION: The hilt has a rich dark greenish
brown patina with variations in color from deep to mid-green. The blade is gun metal grey with darker blotches on
both sides, and NO pitting. The leather covered wood hilt has no faults and the two strand wire wrap is complete and
in perfect condition. The scabbard is in the same excellent condition with both carrying rings, tight suspension bands, and
a haze grey patina that varies from light to dark. There are only a couple of very small dents towards the lower end.

From a South Carolina collection.
Ref. The American Sword, 1775-1945, by Harold E. Peterson,
1996. Pages 32-35, 234.

The weight of this combination is 4 lbs 7 oz 


1/4″ long overall. 41 1/2 sword 35 3/4″ blade length

Max width of blade 1 1/4″         Max thickness
Large Fuller 7/8″ W x 26″ L      Weight 4
  7 oz     Saber 2 lbs 8 oz
Small Fuller  1/8″ W x 18″ L



   Full two branch basket guard in excellent condition

Tightly wrapped two strand wire
Proper Ames, 1849, Cabotville mark

Proper US over inspector’s WD mark

                                 Hefty blade in good condition with no pitting 
M1840 Cavalry saber and will be appreciated by those
who value only the finest!

    Scabbard is in excellent condition with only a few dents and minor spotting
and blemishes



The Ames Manufacturing Company, Chicopee, Massachusetts, was founded in 1832 by James Tyler Ames and his brother, Nathan Peabody
Ames. The company manufactured small tools, cotton machinery, swords, cannons, and did casting of bells. They 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, totaling 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. Blades
dated as late as 1850 may still bear the Cabotville stamp, as the old dies were probably used until they were worn out.
In a much reduced state, they are still in business today. Mostly, from an essay by Michael McWatters




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