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Thread: US Model 1840 or 1860 or something else?

  1. #1
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    US Model 1840 or 1860 or something else?

    I have had both of these swords for many years; cant even remember where I got them. I always assumed they were both Model 1860 US Cavalry Swords. a) This was the only model I had ever heard of, and b) One of them said that's what it was right on the blade. More recently with a growing interest in my British Sword accumulation I looked a bit more closely at the these American Swords. Suddenly I am not sure what one of them is. The Roby one has a brass hilt and says its a Union procured Civil War Sword. But the other one has "Tiffany" on one side and the "PDL" on the other. The wire wrap is different, the hilt is iron and the blade is wider and slightly longer hence heavier. What do I have here?
    Any thoughts are appreciated. You guys have been so great in helping me sort out my accumulation and learn about my swords.
    Best, Charlie

    In the photos, I include both swords.
    Attached Images Attached Images      

  2. #2
    You are correct. The 1840 model was sold by Tiffany & Co in New York City (The present jewelry store). They imported the blades from Germany but the rest was made here in America. The Hilt is Iron instead of Brass. Most ones I've seen (if not all) and the one I have had brown leather for the grip. They sell for around $1000-1500.
    Also the 1860 Model is a Roby a company in Massachusetts. There is a gentlemen in California that does sword restoration at a very reasonable price that can replace the wire on the grip for you. Or you can buy it from him and do it yourself if you feel you can.
    I love goofing on the Sales Women in Tiffany since my Wife and Daughters love their jewelry and drive me broke. Reminding them that their Company dates back to the American Civil War and were War Profiteers. You should see the look on their faces!

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the response Jim. I only really looked at the sword this morning when I found some rust on the scabbard. In cleaning and oiling it, I realized that the thing I had always assumed was a M-1860 may not be. This became more apparent when I put it next to one that I was more sure was a M-1860. Its kind of embarrassing. In the same bucket of Not British swords (at least I got that right). I also found a sword that I had assumed was Fraternal (Hence in my mind not at all interesting). It turns out to also maybe be a US sword of some kind. Go Figure!
    Best, Charlie

  4. #4
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    Charlie the Tiffany & Co. m1840 is the only US m1840 with steel guard. The US m1906 is the only m1860 light cavalry with steel hilt. Both are a tad hard to find in decent condition. Congrats on a very nice Tiffany. 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

  5. #5
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    My congratulations on an excellent example m 1840 Tiffany.
    Unlike the saber m. 1860 in the reissue of 1906, 1840 with an iron guard is a rather rare saber.
    The condition of the sword is also excellent.

  6. #6
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    Apr 2018
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    Good luck with the restoration of the saber handle m.1860.
    The skin of the handle, judging by the photo, is not damaged, and it will not be difficult to install a new filigree.
    In the photo, my saber m.1860 made by Roby - the skin was lost almost completely.
    I myself glued the handle with new leather without disassembling the handle and installed the remaining filigree on the handle, carefully detaching it at the bottom, and then wrapped it again and fixed it.
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  7. #7
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    Excellent information, thank you so much. Vladimir, your work on the leather and wire of the Roby Sword is very impressive. I notice that mine has a seam in the leather that runs along the bottom of the grip. When you replaced the leather on yours, did you stitch it or glue it (or both)? I'm sure that this, along with the wire wrap is a result of years of learning.

    Eric, Thanks for your succinct explanation of the steel guard variants. I am not surprised that I missed the distinction between the M-1840 and 1860. Other than the steel vs. brass, the differences in blade size are more subtle than I would have expected.

    Best, Charlie

  8. #8
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    Charlie the m1840 is heavier and the spine of the blade is flat while the spine on the m1860 is rounded.
    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

  9. #9
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    Also, these swords are referred to in the period literature as a "Heavy Cavalry Sabre" = 1840 and a "Light Cavalry Sabre" = 1860 swords.
    "You can't please everyone, so you have to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

  10. #10
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    George, I assume that there was some Light Cavalry Sabre that was issued along side the M-1840 and prior to the M-1860. My only reference point is knowing that the British had both a heavy and light versions of the P-1796 Swords, and they were quite different from each other. A friend of mine has said that he would love to find a M-1840 Light Cavalry Sabre. This said, I have no idea of what it would look like.
    Best, Charlie

  11. #11
    also one other comment about the 2 swords are, the m-1840 i believe is also called a wrist breaker where as the m-1860 is not i can tell you the m-1840 is bigger and heavier than the m-1860 at least my 2 are .... bill

  12. #12
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    Charlie, no m1840 light cavalry sabers and in truth even though they were referred to only as the heavy cavalry saber and light cavalry saber and not by m1840 and m1860 that we use today they are neither. Heavy cavalry implies armored horseman and light cavalry implies lightly or non armored horseman. The terms used must have been hold over from previous use of m1822. I assume it refers to the m1822. The light version just being accepted 25 years later by US.
    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

  13. #13
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    Charlie, this was my first attempt at restoring a saber hilt - I had never done this before. I took the skin from a strictly female cloak and glued the wood of the hilt with leather. (If interested, I'll post a photo of the restoration process in the topic).
    I did not stitch the skin joint, but glued the skin with an overlap. The joint was treated with "liquid skin" (mastic for the restoration of leather products).
    The leather on the hilt of your saber m. 1860, judging by the photo, is without obvious damage, so you just need to pick up the twisted wire of the right diameter and install it on the hilt.
    The wire can be threaded under the brass head, having previously pulled out the remnants of the wire, which can be seen in the photo. I would start by inserting the wire from the head of the handle, running it under the head and supergluing the end under the brass. Having wrapped the handle, the end of the wire can be fixed with a toothpick, after piercing a hole at the end of the wire with an awl. Cover the hole from the toothpick with "liquid skin".

  14. #14
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    Vladimir, Thanks for this really helpful description. I had no idea how to go about doing any of this. I do think that my Roby is in good enough shape to warrant new wire.
    Best, Charlie

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