AMES CIVIL WAR Era U.S. Model 1840 “OLD WRISTBREAKER” Heavy Cavalry SABER
American HEAVY CAVALRY Sword Based on FRENCH Sabre
Here we present an antique Ames U.S. Model 1840 Heavy Cavalry or Dragoon Saber, nicknamed “Old Wristbreaker”, made in 1851 in Cabotville, Massachusetts. The Model 1840 was the second cavalry saber adopted by the U.S. after the M1833. The M1840 actually reached back further to the French M1822 for its inspiration. It was heavy and made for slashing during the cavalry charge with its swept back blade shape. Its moniker, “Old Wristbreaker”, was quite fitting. It served through the Mexican American War, and even though a new blade was adopted in the Model 1860 Light Cavalry Saber, the M1840 saw fighting from both the Union and Confederate points of view in the American Civil War.
The 1840 saber was used during the Mexican–American War by U.S. Cavalry. The main contractors were Ames of Cabotville, Horstmann, and Tiffany but due to the large number of swords required at least 1,000 were made in Germany by S&K and imported. Some troopers used Prussian sabers as an alternative, which in contrast to the Model 1840 had straight blades. When production ceased in 1858 over 23,700 had been made. During the American Civil War, it continued to be issued to Union Cavalry as in the early years it was more readily available than the Model 1860. Many were also used by the Confederacy including General Nathan Bedford Forrest who had both edges of his sword sharpened to increase combat effectiveness.
This specimen is dated “1846”. The ricasso reads “U.S./N.W.P.” on the right side. The initials are for military inspector Nahum W. Patch. The left side of the ricasso is marked “N.P. AMES/Cabotville/1846”. NWP and WAT (Captain William A. Thornton) also on the pommel.
The overall condition is good. Straight blade with an even patina. Clear markings. The hilt is solid and the leather wrap remains, though the wire wrap is gone. No scabbard.
Overall length is 41 inches.
Blade length is 35-3/4 inches.
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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