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Thread: N. P. Ames Model 1833 US Cavalry sword with silver plated guard

  1. #1

    N. P. Ames Model 1833 US Cavalry sword with silver plated guard

    I was surprised after I carefully cleaned the very age darkened (barn/attic fresh) guard and found it silver plated. This model 1833 Ames cavalry blade is marked N. P. Ames Cutler Springfield 1837 United States TW and the guard is marked HKC. ORD. WS

    The attached page from the 1856 "Leading Pursuits and Leading Men. A Treatise on the Principal Trades and Manufacturers of the United States" by Edwin T. Freedley details the high involvement of N.P. Ames with the then new process of silver electroplating.

    This guard seems an early example of Ames silver electroplating and I wonder if other silver model 1833 guards exist. May the uniform regulations or government records of the era reference the silver guards?

    Edwin Freedley writes using run-on sentences and lots of commas. His detailed explanations make for careful reading!

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Birmingham Alabama
    Jim: In those days, many Militia members preferred silver over gold or brass, I am not sure why they did this, but a lot of the edged weapons from that era seem to have silver fittings, rather than gold or brass..It is possible that Ames sold these to Militia units, or that Members of these units had this work done..It is hard to say after 170+ years what went on then...


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    North West US
    The Ames m1833 Dragoon is one of the shortest lived US issue swords. Its use by 1839 minimal with the m1840's introduction to main stream although as the 1822 French model had gained acceptance for nearly two decades. While the m1833 did retain some usage after 39 in Militia units the coloring of the hilt furniture in my mind would be for memento reasons and not unit significance. Silver for infantry or yellow for artillery would not apply to cavalry. While copied from the ever elegant, light and fast British 1821/22 pipe back, the Ames sword is more akin to a club. I have an 1821 pattern, RM&S US early issue m1861 with silver and gold electroplating. I assume a war memento and a few Ames m1833 and will look for any signs of electroplating on my return home. 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

  4. #4
    Here is a clearer copy of the 1856 electroplating article including the involvement of N.P. Ames.

    In 1969-70 I was in A Troop 1st Squadron 1st Cavalry Regiment in Vietnam. Formed at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri in 1833 as the United States Dragoons, the regiment later became the First Dragoon Regiment, and soon after the outbreak of the Civil War became the US 1st Cavalry Regiment. Last August a reunion of 1st Sqdn. 1st Cavalry Assn. was held at Jefferson Barracks. For the first time in fifty years I was reunited with several of the men I served with in combat.
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