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Thread: US Navy Officers Sword - a Few Questions

  1. #1
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    US Navy Officers Sword - a Few Questions

    Hi All, I picked up this UN Navy Officers Sword, Pattern 1854 and I'd confirmation on what I've discovered about it. I'd like to thank the many collector who've shared their examples on the Forum, as I was able to learn a great deal about these blades here. The sword is somewhat scarce here in Canada, common in the US. My sword was absolutely filthy and as this is ultimately a blade I will pass on to someone else, I didn't want to clean it too much but it deserved to tarted up just a bit.

    The blade is actually in great shape. Once cleaned a bit, the frosting is nice and crisp with no rust; just dirty. It's 1 in. wide and 29 in, long. The maker is W. CLAUBERG, SOLINGEN. It is marked IRON PROOF in frosted etching on the spine. It's my understanding that as time went on the blade width decreased and after WW1 fewer blades were marked with German makers although many were sourced from Germany but marked with US makers. Based on what I've read my sword is probably from the 1890's - Pre WW1. The blade has been peened to the pommel so there is no way to disassemble this sword.

    All the gilt is covered in a a fine patina which I may leave for the next owner to clean if they so wish. I would like to clean the grip as it's grey with dirt a gentle cleaning is needed for it to sell.

    Based on the supplied photos, have I missed anything? If so, please let me know.

    Greg
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    Last edited by Greg Nehring; 03-05-2019 at 11:38 AM.

  2. #2
    What I learned a long time ago is that before 1872, USN Officer swords were 1-1/16" at the ricasso. They dropped to 3/4" wide after 1872. Mine was made around 1975 or 1976 and is 3/4" wide.

  3. #3
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    I would be very interested in learning more about the chronology of the changes in the blade width of the M1852 Navy Officer sword. My understanding of the conventional wisdom on the matter is that from 1852 until 1872 the blade width was 1 1/16", give or take a fraction, and that in 1872 a thinner blade was adopted which measured about 1" at the ricasso. Some time in the late-1800s the width was again reduced to 3/4", and finally in the 20th century it was widened slightly to 7/8" where it remains today. I have never seen any documentation other than the initial reg adopting the M1852 to support these conventional wisdom dates, and in my researching USMC swords I have found the conventional wisdom is often far off the mark. Wayne in his note above states in 1872 the width was reduced to 3/4". He may well be right. If so, what do we make of the pictured sword with its 1" wide blade? It is obviously an early example - based on its markings and design features, if not for the narrow blade I would have no problem dating it to the CW. If Wayne is correct with his info on the 1872 modification, then it would appear 1" was within the limits of tolerance for pre-1872 blade widths. We know there was some variance in width of CW-era M1852s, so such a supposition would not strain credulity. Do any of our members have regulations, Bureau of Ordnance directives or correspondence, or any other documentation which would help nail down the dates of these changes?

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Where is Tim Graham's thread when we need it? Also Tuite in hand, I am being lazy again but maybe later after meetings. If Tuite lists an example of the mark in his book, he is discussing pre-1872 blades. We had a number of furbishers in the US importing Solingen blades, so the assembly may have been in the US. Iron Proof, hmmm, I would also think earluer than later, as the proved discs start to appear and then later the two triangles of strength. Scabbard stitching, fittings, pommel and other stuff. This is a peened and chased assembly before the pop cap routine.

    All these ramblings later than my prime research but I'll check the books again. Then also the Made in Germany marks. I generally think of the above width as transitional and no later than the turn of the century. As with earlier in the 19th century, there were expectations of regulations that were hoped to be met. Imports for officer's swords perhaps the least of the worries.



    the 1872-1942 thread
    http://www.swordforum.com/vb4/showth...s-1872-to-1942

    Why am I also thinking Clauberg without a W is also earlier than later?

    Cheers
    GC

    Edit to add an example on the net also marked to Melvain&Tomes NYC with very much the same blade etching and blade width. Curvature as well varies over the changes. I am only more convinced that without a W or proved plug, we are looking at possibly an ACW period sword. Look at all the listings for 1850 foot officer swords marked just Clauberg with a similar blade width and etching. The width just shy of the grip width. Just my wag speculations. Clauberg with proved discs on the non-regulation foot officer swords listed as ACW period, so I would expect such on this sword if it was later. I just don't know (still not at the shelves but there are listings to view).
    Last edited by Glen C.; 03-06-2019 at 07:38 AM.

  5. #5
    There is always an exception to the accepted rule. I have an M1852 imported by W.H. Hortsmann and Sons Philadelphia Pa with a blade width of 15/16" at the ricasso. It bears the name F.P. Haskell on the blade surrounded by a oval of stars. The sword has the typical Civil War style Hortsmann etching on the blade. It does not bear the mark of any blade maker that is typical on Hortsmann swords. The late Kevin Hoffman shows examples of these "small pattern" Hortsmann swords in his e-book. This is how I have my sword cataloged

    Small Scale Pattern 1852 Naval Officers’ Sword and Scabbard of Masters Mate Forbes P. Haskell by H. W. Horstmann & Sons Philadelphia.

    This regulation sword is atypical in that it has a blade that is thinner than most Civil War vintage swords but still wider than blades seen on swords starting around 1872. The blade is etched on each side with typical Civil War era naval motifs and within a oval of stars in script F.P. Haskell. The observe ricasso is marked W. H. Horstmann & Sons Philadelphia and on the top Iron Proof. Forbes P. Haskell was from the State of Massachusetts and enlisted in the Navy 10 September, 1861 for one year as a 1st Class Boy, was appointed an Acting Masters Mate on 25 June, 1862, and promoted 13 June, 1863 to Masters Mate. He served onboard the Barque Kingfisher, Storeship Release, Steamer Aries and the Steamer Howquah. He was engaged at St. Marks, Florida, with an ironclad ram off the Cape Fear River, N.C. and was present at both attacks on Fort Fisher and at various batteries along the coast. He was honorably discharged 22 August, 1865.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
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    I'd like to thank Wayne, Richard, Glen and GC for chiming in on my post. I'm profoundly happy that my sword is not a pedestrian example but an earlier one, Pre-WW1. Can I ask what "ACW" is? Is this After Civil War?
    I've been looking through my personal library to research W CLAUBURG. The trademark for this maker is a standing knight in armor. They are listed in John Walter's book German Tool and Blade Makers, 1850-2000. Unfortunately, there is no dates of production listed. I'll send a note off to the Deutches klingen Museum and see if I can some dates of production.

    Greg

  7. #7
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    ACW American Civil War

  8. #8
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    Of course! Thanks Glen!

  9. #9
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    So Tuite has the swords dated from 1857-1917 and selling blades to Schuyler, Hartley & Graham, Horstmann & Sons, Mitzner and Virgil Price. Then add Melvain & Tomes to that list and we will likely see more. haven't got to Bezdek yet.

    Cheers
    GC

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