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Thread: US Model 1902 unusual variations

  1. #26
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    Tim,

    Here is some information that I just received from a Valley Forge Military Academy collector about these particular straight bladed Valley Forge swords with white grips.

    "This sword was used by the regimental commander and was a gift to him from the cadets, only one per year was made, so it is really rare. The Drum Major or the color guard would have the use of one if the uniform of the day required it, but that belonged to the school not to the cadet. This was stopped before the war in the late 30's.

    This item, I would think would have great value to a collector of Valley Forge item's like my self.
    I can not say for sure but my guess is that it's at least 80 years old.

    All other sabers from Valley Forge have the black Grips."


    This note was concerning one of these swords that I have that has white shark skin grips specifically. I would think that your white plastic grip would have the same meaning.

    Below are pix of my example by American Military Supply Corporation.
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    "You can't please everyone, so you have to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by George Wheeler View Post
    Tim,

    Here is some information that I just received from a Valley Forge Military Academy collector about these particular straight bladed Valley Forge swords with white grips.

    "This sword was used by the regimental commander and was a gift to him from the cadets, only one per year was made, so it is really rare. The Drum Major or the color guard would have the use of one if the uniform of the day required it, but that belonged to the school not to the cadet. This was stopped before the war in the late 30's.

    This item, I would think would have great value to a collector of Valley Forge item's like my self.
    I can not say for sure but my guess is that it's at least 80 years old.

    All other sabers from Valley Forge have the black Grips."


    This note was concerning one of these swords that I have that has white shark skin grips specifically. I would think that your white plastic grip would have the same meaning.

    Below are pix of my example by American Military Supply Corporation.
    George, Now, that is interesting. I am VFMA Class of '66 and I did not notice or (more likely) do not remember, that the First Captain/Regimental Commander carried a white grip saber. I bought this on feeBay and asked the seller where he got it. He would not give his name, but I think he told me he was Class of '65. This fits the age of the saber. I have been looking through yearbooks, but no conformation there. i wonder if Pennsylvania Military Collage used white grip sabers?
    I shall continue the investigation. I have yet to find the yearbooks for 63-66. Maybe higher authority knows where they are?

  3. #28
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    Perhaps you can find a pre-war yearbook that shows it in use? My source indicates the practice was stopped in the 1930s, so you may not have seen this saber in the 1960s. Possibly the one you have came out of old dead stock stores and belonged to the school rather than a graduate?
    "You can't please everyone, so you have to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

  4. #29
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    Another unusual M1902 Cadet

    This Henderson-Ames made 02 has a solid brass grip, supplied by The M.C. Lilley Co. and a black painted scabbard. This is not paint over nickle plating. The scabbard has a rough finish to hold paint. I would date it before WWI.
    This is obviously an inexpensive cadet saber. The black painted, now worn off, solid nickle plated brass grip is indestructible and has a better balance for saber drill. The throat, ring bands and drag are plated. It has a nice leather scabbard effect. If the scabbard gets scratched, off to building maintenance you go.
    I think Texas A&M and St. Johns Military Academy, Delafield, Wisconsin, used these. Now called St. Johns Northwester Military School.
    There are three St. Johns. the others are St. Johns Collage, which is Catholic with a senior ROTC program and St. Johns Military School, Salinas, Kansas.
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    Last edited by T. Graham; 12-26-2011 at 11:02 PM.

  5. #30
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    Lilley-Ames Naval Cadet M02

    Has anyone seen another one like this? The three piece, unplated hilt is brass and has a ridged knuckle guard. The quillion and knuckle guard have solder joints not normally seen on a plated hilt. (If detailed photos are desired; just ask.) The grip is painted hardwood that has an apple type grain. The finger grooves have the correct depth and angles, so I think it is original. Why did the customer, not go with the solid brass grip and strap? It is unmarked. I date it too the mid to late 1930's.
    USN officer swords are too expensive for cadet use. The USN scabbard is the most expensive of the components to manufacture.
    The blade and scabbard are the standard cadet. Brass bands with suspender rings are mounted on the scabbard with a cadet drag. I have another L-A for Vanguard, naval cadet sword, based on the USMC NCO hilt, with the same type of ring assembly mounted on an leather scabbard that is not steel lined. It survived in unused condition, because the cadets never got a hold of it. (Cadets and a thin leather scabbard! What were they thinking? It has to be a prototype.)
    This poor thing has suffered from many years of cadet use and abuse. It has a screw tang, so I disassembled and pounded the kinks out of the knuckle guard and branches. There is a technique to this, so be care full. You do not want to break off any branches. I replaced the missing internal nut, but that required cleaning up the threads with a 10-32 die. Reshaped the strap because it no longer fits properly on the very beat up wood grip. There can be a lot of subtle adjustment required to reassemble any US made sword. (Do not get me started on Ames' or Lilley's quality control.)
    What really sets off this sword is the nautical rope work.
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    Last edited by T. Graham; 12-30-2011 at 12:18 PM.

  6. #31
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    That is the second one of these that I have seen. Bill's leather gripped version that he posted earlier has got to be from the same "Naval Cadet" genre as yours. Now we know they were not just a one-off version and that they were used and abused.

    A very neat variation! I think the trench art rope work is great.
    "You can't please everyone, so you have to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

  7. #32
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    A very neat variation! I think the trench art rope work is great.
    [/QUOTE]
    Hello George, Forgive my need to be "technical", but naval or sailor crafts are called 'scrimshaw' and in this case, the sub category rope/knot work. Trench arts are soldier crafts. Some of the forum members may not know, that both were a method to deal with the idleness and tedium of long sea voyages or waiting in the trenches.

    Those of us with Asbergers lite can get a bit literal. Google Asbergers, many of us 'collectors' have it in its 'lite' form. A symptom of it is to go on and on, into the minutia of just about anything. Oops, I think I just made my point several times.

    Should we start a naval cadet thread?
    Last edited by T. Graham; 12-31-2011 at 11:28 AM.

  8. #33
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    Has this thread run it course? I have more unusual 02s, if anyone is interested. I can also start a cadet sword thread if there is interest.

  9. #34
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    I think we can stretch this thread out a bit longer. If you are talking about cadet swords of the M1902 style, I think they could go here as well since they are certainly identifiable variations on the theme.

    Here is one that is a 1938 presentation from the Cadets of the New York School for the Deaf. This one is interesting because of the blued presentation panel and its identification with the School for the Deaf. The recipient was a long time school master who retired from the school after the war.
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    "You can't please everyone, so you have to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

  10. #35
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    Another lodge M1902

    This M1902 is to be found on page 107 of The American Fraternal Sword . It was assembled/retailed by Henderson-Ames. URKTMM is the Uniform Ranks Knights Of the Tented Maccabees. Founded in 1881 as a secret beneficiary society.

    This 02 was made by H-A. Some moron crudely tried to grind off the H-A mark and the name etched on the blade. There was nothing to be done, but neatly remove the remains of the H-A mark and the name. Then using eight different grits, I was able to polish the blade without removing too much etching. Lodge swords are often renamed, so I know how to do it. After I pounded out and realigned the knuckle guard and branches,I then brought back the gold and nickle. It looks OK now.
    I always polish with paper, because I have more control and wheels will ruin any sharp edges.
    Features: grip is cape buffalo horn, the top two scabbard mounts are stampings, but the drag is a sand casting.

    It accured to me, that if I was a cadet officer with a saber and I wanted to get the attention of a deaf cadet standing with his back to me, I could... lets not go there.

    I have some more and so do the other collectors who read this thread. Post'em.
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    Last edited by T. Graham; 01-06-2012 at 07:45 AM.

  11. #36
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    Greetings to all!
    I'm new to collecting swords, 4 of my first purchases were modern Japanese swords and now I own a replica from Windlass of the 1840 Cavalry sword(wrist breaker). I have a couple of questions for you gentleman, with your indulgence, please! Am I to believe that men actually went onto the battlefield with such pitifully incompetent blades as the 1902? I'm an ex-marine and in my mind I would find it very hard to attack an enemy with such a weapon...better a long tree limb cut to my satisfaction! My next question is...what might be the best book to start with, being that my interest is varied with interest in European Napoleonic and American Civil war swords? CW.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curwin d View Post
    Greetings to all!
    I'm new to collecting swords, 4 of my first purchases were modern Japanese swords and now I own a replica from Windlass of the 1840 Cavalry sword(wrist breaker). I have a couple of questions for you gentleman, with your indulgence, please! Am I to believe that men actually went onto the battlefield with such pitifully incompetent blades as the 1902? I'm an ex-marine and in my mind I would find it very hard to attack an enemy with such a weapon...better a long tree limb cut to my satisfaction! My next question is...what might be the best book to start with, being that my interest is varied with interest in European Napoleonic and American Civil war swords? CW.
    Welcome Kerwin, I always give this advice to new sword collectors: STOP now, put the sword down, turn around and run like the wind. Knowing that you will ignore this good advice, I will answer your questions. Oh, avoid the replicas, they will not hold any value.
    From studies made after the American Civil War (ACW), military leaders realized that edged weapons had little statistical effect to the outcome. The adoption of the Model 1860 Staff, Foot, Field, Infantry (what ever) Officer's Sword set the standard for the M1872 series of artillery and cavalry officer's sabers. They were now a symbol of rank, for ceremonial use and no longer considered weapons. The M1902 carries on this non weapon tradition. The M1852 Navy Officers sword went the same way. The earliest M1902's were considerably more robust than the flimsies on the market today. The USMC NCO swords are still weapon like, because there was a surplus of blades left over from the ACW that were being mounted into the 1920's. The tradition of slimming down USMC swords did not start until recently, with the Spanish and later, Asian imports. The German made USMC's are still reasonably substantial. If you compare a pre WWI M1902 with a post WWII, the difference will be obvious. A very good pre WWI M1902 can be bought for less than a new, currently made one. You can also accumulate/collect 150 M1902's and have no two alike in the details. "Quantity has a quality all of it's own." (Joseph Stalin) Do not tell my wife, but I have done this. I am a sick puppy.

    Books: for US military swords, the current edition of The American Sword by Peterson. There has been considerably more scholarship on the topic since 1954, but it is primer. There is a thread on books
    Do not waste your money on junque. This forum can help your collecting decisions.
    Last edited by T. Graham; 01-06-2012 at 10:16 PM.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by T. Graham View Post
    The M1902 carries on this non weapon tradition.
    The M1902 was certainly designed as a weapon to be used, as described in the letter from Allien to the 1905 board that designed the M1905/06 experimentals. It's efficacy as an edged weapon is borne out when you consider that the M1905/06 was created in response to President Roosevelt's demand for a saber "they can fight with", and that the M1902 blade was recognized as satisfactory for that purpose and used in the experimental design.

    I would also call attention to the actions of LTC Ace Cozzolio in Vietnam, who always carried and apparently scored at least one kill with his M1902.

    But, as you note, while the early M1902s may be usable in a fight, the later and modern versions are nothing more than flashy male jewelry.
    Motivated buyer of US Cavalry sabers.

  14. #39
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    Greeting all!
    Thanks for the responce gentleman! I appreciate the advice Mr. Graham.....alas it is too late! I have the fever! Having only two examples in my life with which to compare it...I equate it with reaching puberty and falling in love for the first time. Man, I have for the last 4 months been scouring Ebay, Google, Amazon and I don't know how many antiques dealers, and I don't feel an end to it coming anytime soon. I do own a 1902 model with the depressed "proved" button within the Damascas Star, and a simular Italian cavalry sword about 3.5 inches longer, neither of which would I ever contemplate entering a battle with. I agree about the replica's but I enjoy putting a cutting edge on them and joining the great water bottle wars. However, I have trimmed some limbs from my trees for the winter and having struck one about 2.5 inches thick I seem to have hit it wrong...my first experience with pain from the non pointy end. Quite a little sting! I've tried cardboard boxes but they dull a blade rather quickly. I have a neighbor who is a meat cutter and he showed me how to straighten the cutting edge with a "steel" as he calls it, and not take so much metal from the blade...a nice bit of knowledge to have aquired for a newby. Thank you Mr. Scott for the bit of info on Mr. Cozzolio.....its interesting to know that even at that late date there was a sword on the battlefield...though as you say...with a bit more heft! Thanks for the reference to the books thread. CW.

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by T. Graham View Post
    This M1902 is to be found on page 107 of The American Fraternal Sword . It was assembled/retailed by Henderson-Ames. URKTMM is the Uniform Ranks Knights Of the Tented Maccabees. Founded in 1881 as a secret beneficiary society.

    This 02 was made by H-A. Some moron crudely tried to grind off the H-A mark and the name etched on the blade. There was nothing to be done, but neatly remove the remains of the H-A mark and the name. Then using eight different grits, I was able to polish the blade without removing too much etching. Lodge swords are often renamed, so I know how to do it. After I pounded out and realigned the knuckle guard and branches,I then brought back the gold and nickle. It looks OK now.
    I always polish with paper, because I have more control and wheels will ruin any sharp edges.
    Features: grip is cape buffalo horn, the top two scabbard mounts are stampings, but the drag is a sand casting.

    It accured to me, that if I was a cadet officer with a saber and I wanted to get the attention of a deaf cadet standing with his back to me, I could... lets not go there.

    I have some more and so do the other collectors who read this thread. Post'em.
    OK... lets go... Seriously, you did a great job with the restoration of this sword. Casual readers should be careful about sword cleaning and restoration like this however and read the sticky notes on the subject at the top of the forum before attempting same. Tim, you obviously know what you are doing but overly agressive "restoration" will very often ruin a nice sword. We have all seen it.

    Anyhow... Here is a postwar cadet sword made by Eickhorn for the thread. This one is from Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI) and is named and dated to 1969. While the exterior of the sword is entirely M1902 regulation, the blade is unique to VPI. Not only is it Eickhorn marked but marked by Meyer in New York as distributor as well. Another thing to notice about the blade is the dull grey background which really makes the etching stand out. VPI was founded in 1872 as a land grant college an continues on to this day as Virginia Tech. I will also point out that the sword knot for this particular sword is properly post-WWII black instead of the pre-war russet color of earlier knots.
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  16. #41
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    A fancy 1902

    This one went post auction a little while ago. Appears to be little above regular quality.
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  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon R. View Post
    This one went post auction a little while ago. Appears to be little above regular quality.
    Yes, a little bit above the regular quality 1902 swords indeed. The last one of these I saw was named as a presentation to a General Officer but the dealer would not sell it. Why he drug it to the militaria show and it was not for sale is still a mystery to me. Oh well...

    Along this line... here is a gilt presentation (grade) version from the Governor of Rhode Island to a RI Militia Cavalry Captain for his service in the Mexican Punitive Expedition. The officer later served overseas in WWI but this sword only just pre-dates US involvement in the "European War".
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  18. #43
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    Ames or Lilley? Part 1

    I could have put this in the Cadet sword thread, but I think it belongs here.

    At first glance this appears to be just an early M1902, retailed by Wm. Read & Sons, Boston. Personalized for a public high school cadet program.
    But look carefully: the hilt is the Ames 'square' type with the heavy branches and the scabbard has the plain throat with one screw. But, it also has Lilley type 1 commercial etching on the blade.

    When I mean Lilley type 1 etching, I mean the early etching pattern they used before they started using the 'Springfield' pattern on their own and German (WKC) import M1902's.

    What, you thought Springfield made their own M1902's. We will save that for another thread.
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    Last edited by T. Graham; 01-25-2012 at 10:51 PM.

  19. #44
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    Ames or Lilley? Part 2

    Because it had a tang screw and needed some touch up, I took it apart. (Not that the lack of a tang screw would stop me.) The tang screw is more typical of Ames and WKC for Lilley Imports.

    Lets look at some more details.

    There is a part numbers on the back of the horn grip and a matching number on the strap and grip band. Assembly numbers are more typical of Lilley.

    The blade and possibly the blank scabbard were imported from Germany. This is also, typically a Lilley feature.

    Now this is strange; look at the knuckle guard ridge. It is off center. I went through my 02 collection, currently about 125 pieces. I found several variations in the small details of all the makers guards, a few of the pre WWII 02's have a thicker guard and branches and lack the ridge, but this is the only off center ridge I can find. Look through your collections; are there any other off center knuckle guard ridges? I even checked my French swords. now if any swords would have an off center ridge it would be on a French sword; but, theirs is on center.

    I also have in my collection other Ames 02's for Wm. Read & Sons, Boston.

    To avoid confusion, where possible, there is Jacob Reed & Co., Boston or Jacob Reed & Sons, Philadelphia, both of whom bought Ames 02s.

    Conclusion; Made by Ames with mostly Lilley components. Sword makers are an insestuous lot.
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    Last edited by T. Graham; 01-25-2012 at 11:11 PM.

  20. #45
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    Another unusual 1902

    Here is another interesting 1902 that popped up on e-bay - #170775681915




    "Fear knocked at the door, faith answered, no one was there" - Hinds Head Pub fireplace - Bray, England

  21. #46
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    Other German made 'Standard' presentation grade 02's

    This feebay 70775681915 is the standard Gerrman made presentation grade 1902. You could get them with minor variations, such as: eye color, grip type, all nickle or all brass or a mix of finishes etc. The one in the feebay listing was made by Eickhorn; they made these into the 1970's at least.

    Photos 1 &2 was made by Eickhorn and sold at Culver Military Academy in the mid 1970's.

    Photo 3 is by Horster. It has a gold and blue blade.

    Photo 4 is also by Horster. Not the 'German' grip.

    Photo 5 is marked 'Ames Sword Co' but has the lilley etching pattern, so I think it was made by WKC.
    They are not all that rare.

    I also have other 'American' style presentation 02's.
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  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by T. Graham View Post
    What, you thought Springfield made their own M1902's. We will save that for another thread.
    This I've got to hear....
    Motivated buyer of US Cavalry sabers.

  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Scott View Post
    This I've got to hear....
    This 'Springfield' sword topic is the bases for a small book. Consider this; Springfield Armory is not a battlefield, but it seems to taken on the status of 'hallowed ground'.
    There was a book out several years ago about Springfield, Harpers Ferry and the US Armory system in general. It was called Misfire by Hallahan. Jobs at a National armory were often patronage prizes and could be subject to considerable political and military pressure and abuse. They were government facilities, any 'official histories or reports' must be carefully scrutinized.
    Examine the weapons designed and made at Springfield; The M1 is not what John Garand originally designed. A list of poor weapons choices such as the Krag, obsolete and incredibly expensive to make and that abomination called the 'trapdoor' makes you wonder what was going on. Harpers Ferry had that North/Hall breach loader that the soldiers did not want. (It worked better upside down or sideways.) But, do not get me started.
    The success of the 'Springfield' non weapon swords is because they were not made by Springfield. I contacted "The Springfield Edge" about this, pointed out some contradictions and never heard back. The data is the swords themselves.
    This topic would require a thread all of its own, but is really too complex for this forum. I will leave you with this hint: 'Gaylord'.
    Copyright 2012 Tim Graham all rights.
    Last edited by T. Graham; 02-14-2012 at 05:19 AM.

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by T. Graham View Post
    The success of the 'Springfield' non weapon swords is because they were not made by Springfield. I contacted "The Springfield Edge" about this, pointed out some contradictions and never heard back. The data is the swords themselves.
    This topic would require a thread all of its own, but is really too complex for this forum. I will leave you with this hint: 'Gaylord'.
    Copyright 2012 Tim Graham all rights.
    The historical record is quite clear through the internal communications of the Armory and the Ordnance Department that Springfield made M1902s through to 1918. In fact, one series of exchanges shows that the Ordnance Department looked to create contract sources of the M1902 to relieve the Armory of the responsibility, and that all of the major manufacturers contacted professed an inability to provide contract sabers without considerable time to build the capability.

    You have a lot of written record to explain away, and it will take more than "it was a government conspiracy" to do that...
    Motivated buyer of US Cavalry sabers.

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    Tim Graham will be at Maryland Arms Collectors table X26. March 16, 17, & 18. Please stop by and visit. This is the best antique weapons show in the world.

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