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Two Ames Artillery Swords
The Foot and the Horse!

 


THE FIRST OF THE AMES - THE MODEL 1832 (DATED 1832) FOOT ARTILLERY SWORD WAS LAST WEEKS POSTING. THIS WEEK WE LOOK AT THE 1840 MODEL (DATED 1847) HORSE OR LIGHT ARTILLERY SABER

 


Part Two Of Two
The Model 1840 Light Artillery Saber

 

     Nathan P. Ames, Jr. secured his first contract for the Model 1840 Light (Horse) on August 26, 1844. The contract called for 500 of what the Ordnance Department referred to as "Horse Artillery" swords. They were delivered on August 29, 1845. Until the start of the Civil War, Ames was the only U.S. manufacturer of this sword. During the Civil War several other contractors also produced this model sword for the for the U.S. Government. Ames continued to produce these swords through the war with the final delivery of 2,000 being made on April 29, 1865. During the span of 19 years and 8 months or so, Ames manufactured 24,602 of the Model 1840 Light (Horse) artillery sabers. A very functional and good looking weapon, it remained regulation for the light artillery for approximately 50 years.

 


 

ONE  OF  24,602 - A 1847 DATED AMES MODEL 1840 HORSE OR LIGHT ARTILLERY SABER

 

OBVERSE VIEW OF MODEL 1840 LIGHT ARTILLERY SABER WITH SCABBARD

OBVERSE VIEW OF MODEL 1840 LIGHT ARTILLERY SABER WITH SCABBARD

 

     This saber, the first of two variations by Ames, was patterned directly from the French Model of 1829. There was no reinforced scabbard throat as the top of the scabbard body fitted directly into a raised casting at the bottom of the brass guard. This allowed the scabbard body to fit into the recessed guard casting when the saber was returned to the scabbard. This variation lasted until 1860. The second variation, on swords dated between 1861 and 1865, had the conventional reinforced scabbard throat with a collar. Having no scabbard recess, these swords are flat at the bottom of the brass guard. Due to a production overlap, it is possible that some 1861 dated swords, may be found with the recess in the bottom of the guard.

 

recessed guard casting

 

Scabbard throat

 


 

     The 1847 dated Ames artillery saber featured here has a single-edged curved blade 31-3/4" in length that is 1-1/4" wide and 5/16" thick at the hilt. It has only a rudimentary false edge. There is a broad fuller that extends approximately 25" from the ricasso to within 6-1/2" of the point. There is no visible stamping or even a hint of one on the obverse ricasso of the blade. The reverse ricasso is poorly stamped  "N. P. (?AMES?)" over "CABOT(?VILLE?)" over "1847". On the very reverse lip of the pommel cap are the inspector's initials of "JWR". They stand for James W. Reilly, Major, USA. The only other marking on this sword is a "45" stamped in the center of the obverse cross guard. The grip is wood covered by black leather and wound with twisted brass wire. The brass pommel is of a Phrygian helmet pattern. The  brass one piece four-sided knuckle bow and cross guard curves evenly above the blade and across it with the quillon curving downward and terminating in a round disc. The iron scabbard has two suspension rings and a drag. The scabbard has faded traces of a gold floral design on it's body and drag. It was probably used by an artillery officer.

 

BLADE TIP/FALSE EDGE

BLADE TIP/FALSE EDGE

 

"N.P. (?AMES)CABOT(?VILLE?)1847"

"N.P. (?AMES)CABOT(?VILLE?)1847"

 

"JWR" STAMPING - POMMEL LIP

"JWR" STAMPING - POMMEL LIP

 

"45" STAMPING - CROSS GUARD

"45" STAMPING - CROSS GUARD

 

OBVERSE  VIEW - HILT

OBVERSE  VIEW - HILT

 

REVERSE  VIEW - HILT

REVERSE  VIEW - HILT

 


 

     The iron scabbard is 33-3/4" long. The top suspension ring mounting is 3-3/16" from center to the scabbard mouth. The lower ring mounting  is 8-1/4" on center from the upper mounting. The outside diameter of the each suspension ring is 1-3/8". The black scabbard has faded gold floral decorations.

 

OVERALL VIEW OF SCABBARD

OVERALL VIEW OF SCABBARD

 

CLOSE UP OF SCABBARD DECORATIONS CLOSE UP OF DRAG DECORATIONS
CLOSE UP OF SCABBARD & DRAG DECORATIONS

 


 

     Reference credits go to the "COLLECTORS' GUIDE TO AMES U.S. CONTRACT MILITARY EDGED WEAPONS: 1832 - 1906" by Ron G. Hickox  and  "THE AMERICAN SWORD 1775-1945" by Harold L. Peterson.

 

     For more on the Ames Sword Company, you are encouraged to look at the following web pages:

http://www.amessword.com/body_index.html

http://www.manatarmsbooks.com/early.html

http://swordcoll.www2.50megs.com/marks/Manufacturers.htm

 

     My son, Reed Radcliffe, is the web master of this page. All credit for arranging and posting this web page is his. The pictures, write-up, spelling and grammar errors should be credited to me.

 Dave Radcliffe