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Thread: Navy Sword Belt - Date?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    Annandale, VA
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    Navy Sword Belt - Date?

    I just bought a Navy sword belt which was listed as a "US Navy Captain Spanish American War Uniform Belt W Gilt Buckle". Both the belt and buckle remain in excellent condition. The leather body is covered with black cloth with 7 bullon stripes; the leather slings are similarly covered with black cloth, but with 3 bullon strips.

    I bought it as a bit of a lark as an accompaniment for one of my turn-of-the-century M1852 Navy officer swords, but I really know nothing about Navy sword belts, their variations and dates. Unfortunately, this belt has no markings to help with the dating. My guess would be this design was probably used for a considerable period of time which may or may not have included the S-A War. I also suspect it is not necessarily a Captain's belt. I would appreciate it if any members who are familiar with these items could tell me what time frames this design was used, and what, if any, differences there were in the design for different grade officers.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    I cannot help but it sure looks to be in excellent condition. I really want some belts, hangers and sword knots to go with some of my swords but sadly lack the knowledge to get it done but I am reading. What a nice looking piece. Eric
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

  3. #3
    Your belt with seven stripes is a dress belt for the rank of Commander and Captain. The buckle is of the 1905 pattern. Peter Tuite has a great book titled "Eagles and Anchors The belts and Belt Plates of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps 1780-1941" I have a three stripe belt for Ensign and LTJG, a five stripe for LT and LCDR and a wide three stripe belt for Admiral. The three strips belt has a Pattern 1883
    buckle and the other two the 1905 pattern.
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    Last edited by GC Roxbury; 01-28-2018 at 08:08 AM.

  4. #4
    I also have a pattern 1852 with the true two piece interlocking buckle with the variant laurel leaf pattern as the original pattern that Ames made had oak leafs and acorns. The two piece buckles were replaced with the false two piece ones in the 1870s. Also have a nice two piece Revenue Marine belt and buckle that is Civil War era.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Annandale, VA
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    Gene, thanks for the info - just what I needed. Guess I will have to get Peter's book if it is still available. I have his work on swords and dirks, but frankly wasn't even aware of his book on belts. I have just heard from the seller that he obtained the belt at an estate sale together with dress Navy captain's epaulettes which he assumed were part of a set. (Unfortunately, he sold the epaulettes separately some time ago.)

    One other question, what is the end-date for use of this pattern belt? I have three identified M1852 swords of the appropriate age to go with this belt, but only one whose owner was of the appropriate rank, and I suspect the belt was obsolete by the time he reached the rank of Commander. This is the sword of Rear Admiral George M. Lowry who was a 1911 graduate of Annapolis who won the Medal of Honor for actions during the capture of Vera Cruz in 1914. He left the Service in 1927 as either a Lieutenant Commander or a Commander (will have to go back to the records to check which) and became a very successful stock broker. In 1940, he came back on active duty and rose to the rank of Rear Admiral by the time he again retired in 1947.

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  6. #6
    While Pete does not give an end date in the book he does state that the 1905 pattern buckle was used up until 1941 when the eagle changed facing direction. I believe the full dress belts were most likely used up until 41 as well as I have seen a photo circa 1937 of 3 Admirals wearing their full dress belts with the three wide stripes.
    Jerry

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Annandale, VA
    Posts
    793
    Thanks again. I checked both Amazon and B&N, and both are sold out of Pete's book. Hopefully it will come back in stock.

  8. #8
    A number of new copies are available on ebay.

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