This heavy cavalry sabre, commonly referred to as Model 1840 “Wrist-breaker” was one of the military sabres used by U.S. mounted forces before and during the American Civil War (1861-65). These sabres were a copy of the earlier French Mdle 1822 Cavalry Sabre and the development of the US M1840 closely followed that of the French M1822. French Mdle 1822 sabres were however only produced in France.
Many 1840 pattern sabres were produced by Solingen based manufacturers and were used throughout Europe as well as being exported to America. This example was made by the Solingen based company of Schnitzler & Kirschbaum. Schnitzler & Kirschbaum are known to have sold this pattern of sabre to both sides in the American Civil War. The sword itself is without maker’s marks which could be due to the fact that S&K were playing both ends against the middle by selling to both the Union and the Confederacy and did not want to advertise the fact. The maker identification comes from a tiny “S&K” stamped on the scabbard shoe.
The 900mm single-edged blade has a pronounced curve with a flat wide spine that dates it to pre-1860. The 1860 model having a rounded spine. The blade has a long, wide fuller below a second, thin fuller in the style known as “Montmornecy.” The blade has been service sharpened and retains a fighting edge with a single edge nick and a deep scratch along the upper false edge. There are faint patches of pale tarnish and the blade is otherwise in excellent condition.
The heavy, three-branch brass hilt is stamped on the pommel cap with a “G” over the numeral “6,” which is likely to be a troop and weapon number. The base of the knuckle bow is stamped with the number 89, which is probably an inspector’s number. The guard is in good condition with wear and marks consistent with its age and use.
The wooden, cord bound and leather wrapped grip is in good condition for its age and use. There are some minor losses to the leather and the twisted wire is missing. The grip remains in good condition for its age and use. The hilt is tight and the blade is firm in the hilt.
The sword is complete with its iron scabbard with twin suspension rings. The scabbard has an excellent patina and is in great condition, without dents or damage. The sword sheaths and draws smoothly and is held firmly in the scabbard. The scabbard is marked on the shoe with the “S&K” maker’s mark above the letter “B.” The obverse of the scabbard shoe is stamped with an “M.”
This is a good example of the popular and widely used 1840 pattern cavalry sabre.
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