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Old 22nd February 2010, 05:27 PM   #1
celtan
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Default Strange US CW Horstmann Artillery? Hanger?

Hello guys,

Found this blade between my old acquisitions. I can't quite place it, have checked Peterson. Bezdek, Albaugh etc...

When I bought it, it was supposed to have been a "confederate" sword, albeit the Philadelphia manufacture mostly rules that out.

The interesting feature of this piece lies in the _solid hilt, pommel, grip and D-Guard_, something akin the french M1816 hanger. OTOH, it has a separate grip doubly-stranded wire, which is usually only seen when the grip is made of wood, or covered by either leather or fish skin.

The sword is beautifully made, well balanced and solid, its blade gorgeously covered with exquisite etchings. The importer's name quite clearly etched "W. H. Horstmann & Sons" , Philadelphia.

The knuckleguard seems to be decorated with a four leaf clover (Vermont's state flower). It could also conceivably be a mustard flower, or perhaps hydrangea/whipplevine aka "Philadelphus Lewisi" (Idaho's state flower). There are other four leaf flowers decorating the guard, and a five leaf flower on the quillion.

I have never seen another sword quite like it. Looks similar to a Horse Artillery M1852. Private order perhaps? Seems strange to see a gorgeous blade like it coupled to a relatively cheap solid brass hilt.

Any ideas ? Glen, Dmitri ?

Regards

Manuel Luis





Last edited by celtan : 22nd February 2010 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 22nd February 2010, 07:21 PM   #2
Jim McDougall
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Hi Manolo,
As always you come up with some beautiful examples, and while I defer to the expertise of Dmitry and Glen on these U.S. swords, I just wanted to say it certainly looks like Peterson #108 to me. I know you've already checked this and I dont have Bezdek, but Peterson notes on p.119 that in the ordnance manuals of 1841 and 1850 the mounted artillery officers were to wear the same sabres as the enlisted troops of the light horse artillery M1840, but with ornamental gilt mountings.

This example surely seems much more ornate than most Civil War period officers sabres I've seen, especially with as you note, the hilt entirely cast.
The blade is if course from the well known Horstmann & Sons house in Philadelphia, the military outfitters who were in business long after the war.

While the simple stirrup hilt pattern of the M1840 light artillery sabres were known in both North and South, you're right, I doubt if the South had Philadelphia blades!!

Nice sword, looking forward to Dmitry and Glens comments as always as they have stockpiled treasure troves of key notes on U.S. swords.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 22nd February 2010, 07:46 PM   #3
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Hi Jim,

Yes, I agree with you, it was the only one found even remotely similar to our piece, but it has a leather and wood traditional grip, and the knuckle guard is differently designed.

OTOH, ours has a shorter blade, perhaps 10" less than the regular m1840. It is substantial, and yet comparatively dainty to the regular m1840. Our scabbard is black leather, with two supporting brass bands / rings.

A militia connotation? Irish Unit? I read in Bezdek that W.H. Horstmann did accept private orders, and that they got to make the swords themselves in their PA factory.

Best-est

M




Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Hi Manolo,
As always you come up with some beautiful examples, and while I defer to the expertise of Dmitry and Glen on these U.S. swords, I just wanted to say it certainly looks like Peterson #108 to me. I know you've already checked this and I dont have Bezdek, but Peterson notes on p.119 that in the ordnance manuals of 1841 and 1850 the mounted artillery officers were to wear the same sabres as the enlisted troops of the light horse artillery M1840, but with ornamental gilt mountings.

This example surely seems much more ornate than most Civil War period officers sabres I've seen, especially with as you note, the hilt entirely cast.
The blade is if course from the well known Horstmann & Sons house in Philadelphia, the military outfitters who were in business long after the war.

While the simple stirrup hilt pattern of the M1840 light artillery sabres were known in both North and South, you're right, I doubt if the South had Philadelphia blades!!

Nice sword, looking forward to Dmitry and Glens comments as always as they have stockpiled treasure troves of key notes on U.S. swords.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 22nd February 2010, 10:01 PM   #4
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Hello,
There is no consensus on these swords, but the common knowledge has it that they were assembled post-Civil War by Bannerman from existing surplus blades and the hilts that were newly-cast. There isn't a single example that definitively dates to CW. That's all I know about them. Hope that helps.
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Old 22nd February 2010, 11:12 PM   #5
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Hi Dmitry,

Thanks! Could you please guide me to some references, if possible? I'm aware that many of the things we learn are caught on the fly through our collector's experience, and are as valuable as the formal refs. But at least I could read something to bide my curiosity.


: )

Best regards

Manolo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dmitry
Hello,
There is no consensus on these swords, but the common knowledge has it that they were assembled post-Civil War by Bannerman from existing surplus blades and the hilts that were newly-cast. There isn't a single example that definitively dates to CW. That's all I know about them. Hope that helps.
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Old 23rd February 2010, 03:26 AM   #6
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PM with a link to more info sent.
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Old 22nd February 2010, 10:03 PM   #7
Jim McDougall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by celtan
Hi Jim,

Yes, I agree with you, it was the only one found even remotely similar to our piece, but it has a leather and wood traditional grip, and the knuckle guard is differently designed.

OTOH, ours has a shorter blade, perhaps 10" less than the regular m1840. It is substantial, and yet comparatively dainty to the regular m1840. Our scabbard is black leather, with two supporting brass bands / rings.

A militia connotation? Irish Unit? I read in Bezdek that W.H. Horstmann did accept private orders, and that they got to make the swords themselves in their PA factory.

Best-est

M



Hi Manolo,
I didnt notice that blade was shorter, but this is clearly a dress sword. The black leather scabbard would seem to support that and I think your special order suggestion is well placed.
I just opened the current "Man at Arms" magazine and in an unrelated article noted Horstmann's cast hilts. Perhaps special orders were indeed cast.

All best
Jim
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Old 22nd February 2010, 11:08 PM   #8
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Hola Jim,

Thanks for giving me an excuse to visit Borders, drink a couple lattes, and browse the 'zines...!

: )

Best

Manolo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Hi Manolo,
I didnt notice that blade was shorter, but this is clearly a dress sword. The black leather scabbard would seem to support that and I think your special order suggestion is well placed.
I just opened the current "Man at Arms" magazine and in an unrelated article noted Horstmann's cast hilts. Perhaps special orders were indeed cast.

All best
Jim
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