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christek 14th June 2012 09:25 AM

Reproduced Light Cavalry sabre, pattern 1840??
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I thought I would ask if this is a (reproduced) Light Cavalry sabre, pattern 1840. I purchased this sword, only knowing it is a reproduction built before 1990. Besides that, I know very little about it. After some research, the closest sword this resembles appears to be the pattern 1840 sabre. It would appear obvious that this was made in India, but by who and where? (The only mark is the 'India' on the blade; shown in pic) I wonder if that is even possible to tell on a reproduction. The sword feels like its well-made and 'combat ready' but how can one really tell? I am almost certain itís not stainless steel, and it appears like it would have been quite sharp in its day. Sorry for posting a reproduction, but I am using this sabre to learn about its historical counterpart and the fact some reproductions are more collectable than others. Regards.

In any case I love the design and I am currently searching for a genuine pattern 1840! :)

Here are some pics of three sabres; the Indian made sword (top) and what I believe is a genuine pattern 1840 (bottom) and a similar US cavalry sabre (middle):

Lew 14th June 2012 01:54 PM

Sorry Christek

This really does not belong in the ethno forum.

fernando 15th June 2012 09:12 AM

So moving this thread to the European section, where this sword style suits better.

This can not go without reminding you that, the universe of modern reproductions is not the scope of this forum, be it Ethno or European section.
Let's just say that we keep the thread alive due to the real cavalry sword you also posted in it :shrug: .


Jim McDougall 18th June 2012 05:26 PM

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Hi Christek,
As has been pointed out, on these forums we focus on genuine historical weapons though we do occasionally see reproductions which are crafted quite faithfully to the originals. These are typically heavily researched and our attention to the historical details of course coincides well.

As your inquiry was so courteously and thoughtfully placed it seemed clear that in this same light, your sincere interest in the actual weapons thought to be represented in these items made it seem that response was well warranted.

As you already know, these swords are reproductions, with the exception of the middle one which appears to be a European cavalry sabre of early to mid 19th century, the exact type unclear but perhaps Prussian.

The other two are reproductions of most likely French types of sabre, however they seem somewhat fancifully interpreted and as far as I know do not correspond with one particular form. Obviously made in India, these are commercially produced in areas of Rajasthan and it would be difficult to establish which commercial entity mass produces these, whether entirely or components alone.

The US M1840 was in fact a design taken from the French M1822 sabre, and the first examples were actually produced in Solingen for the US. These are readily found with dealers and in auctions with prices varied according to certain details among them, some can be reasonably priced while there are rarer examples, which fetch remarkable prices. I would suggest contacting one of us privately for further details if you do seek a genuine M1840, and we will be glad to help. These have outstanding history, and we would be delighted to see one on these pages!
Attached is genuine "old wristbreaker".

All the best,

christek 20th June 2012 01:08 PM

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Hello Jim and fellow forum members/ and moderators.
Thank you for allowing this opportunity to discuss this sabre.

I sincerely apologise for posting the replica sabre and will refrain from doing so in the future. I only purchased it for the reasons stated and have since passed it on to my brother who, unlike me, does not ill-consider the pretentious. :) I have been attempting to learn as much as possible about these arms as I find this particular model (or range of models) quite fascinating. The scope of these sabres makes it difficult to isolate particular models as they appear to oscillate in design (I admit I need a better range of scholarly contexts). It would appear that French cuirassiers in the Napoleonic era were issued with the strait single edged XIII model 1810 (shown in photos). This sabre could, of course, be used as a cutting weapon but according to my sources its design, combined with the coordinated and disciplined charge of the cuirassiers made it first and foremost a thrusting weapon. The French M1822 was off similar design that incorporated a curved single edge. Could one presume a change of tactics or conditions that occurred between the patterns that facilitated the amendment? I wonder if the defeat of the cuirassiers at Waterloo (as they charged into the British square formations) fundamentally changed the thrusting attributes of these cavalry sabres?

It would seem that the designs of the US Light Cavalry sabre, pattern 1840 or "old wristbreaker" (if I have this correct) are definitely modelled after the French swords, as the similarities are undeniable. The sabre was heavy at 2 kilos (or 5 lb) and menacing. What is not so easy for me to attain, is a certain date when these were not standard issue for the cavalry, Iím quite sure that the troopers pursuing Crazy Horse in 1876 were ordered to carry only carbines and probably revolvers. Does this provide a potential timeframe when the sabre became realised as obsolete?

Thank you again for allowing me to follow up my fascination on a sabre I have not yet acquired. I hope to be the proud owner of one shortly and will certainly share it with my fellow forumites. :)

Is it considered the norm to discuss prices and values in private messages?

fernando 20th June 2012 04:32 PM

Originally Posted by christek
... Is it considered the norm to discuss prices and values in private messages? ...

Naturally; that's why they are private ;) .

Jim McDougall 20th June 2012 11:08 PM

Hi Christek,
Absolutely no problem, and I appreciate your sincere interest in learning more on the history and development of the actual swords represented, at least nominally, in some of these reproductions. I look forward to your further posting of your future acquisitions for discussion, and hopefully we can help with any questions you might have.

The M1840 cavalry sabre has a most interesting history, despite the fact that it came into use at a time when the use of the sword was waning, especially in the U.S. Virtually one of the only sword makers here at the time was Ames, and they were not well situated for production when new swords were sought in 1840 and actually the first ones were produced in Solingen (Schnitzler & Kirshbaum) delivered in 1841.
By the time of the Civil War many of these were on hand, though the M1860 (actually first made 1857) were becoming available. The cavalry sabre did not see a great deal of use, but was still a regulation weapon.There are almost no records of wounds caused by swords except for blunt trauma type instances, but of course there are various narrative and incidental accounts which may not be entirely accurate.
The reason these M1840's were termed 'old wristbreaker' was reputedly due to the poor training and ill perceived concepts of maintainance, typically they werent even sharp. They were heavy and when incorrectly used one could easily injure thier wrists in awkwardly executed manuevers.

By the time of the Indian wars, there was some degree of use or at least wear of these sabres (hence the American Indian term 'long knives) at first but by the time of the Little Big Horn in 1876 these were left behind. There are instances of some swords apparantly captured among some tribal members but these were held ceremonially as status symbols and not as weapons.

After the Civil War these swords were sold literally in heaps as surplus, despite not being officially obsolete. Many ended up in armouries while many went to surplus vendors and by the time of the Spanish American war it is said swords needed to be obtained from some of these vendors.
The M1913 Patton sword is considered generally the last U.S. regulation cavalry sword ( a M1931 prototype also existed) but never saw use in combat. The official order rendering the cavalry sword officially obsolete was on April 18, 1934 (pers. comm. West Point 7/10/00) and it is said that General Patton himself wept as his men turned in thier swords as ordered.

If I can be of any further help please reach me privately.

All the very best,

christek 21st June 2012 07:42 AM

Originally Posted by Jim McDougall

If I can be of any further help please reach me privately.

It would seem that I have not the sufficient level of membership to allow this. I will as soon as my membership reaches this level. Thank you.

Thanks for the fascinating read Jim. I always appreciate a discussion with a fellow historian. My field is modern history (albeit only at BA level), Australian history in particular; so I find your insight both fascinating and educational. Let us hopefully continue this discussion when I have the piece in my hand. :D
Kind regards, Chris.

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