Sword and Scabbard

Object Number: 
1919.16ab
Date: 
ca. 1840
Medium: 
Steel, brass, bone, gilding; leather, brass, gilding
Dimensions: 
Overall: 34 1/4 x 3 7/8 x 3 in. ( 87 x 9.8 x 7.6 cm )
Marks: 
etched: on obverse of blade near hilt: "N. P. Ames / Cutler / Springfield" etched: on reverse of blade at center: "United States Navy" in relief: on throat of scabbard (reverse side), on panel with scrolled ends: "N. P. AMES / CUTLER / SPRINGFIELD / MAS
Description: 
Sword with slightly curved, single-edged steel blade with heavy rounded quill back; etched designs cover three quarters of the length of the blade on obverse and reverse, with design on reverse framing inscription, "United States Navy," at center; gilded brass hilt with bone grip carved with linear patterns; cross quillons with acorn finials; hinged oval counter-guards on obverse and reverse, the former decorated with oak leaf and acorn sprays in low relief; eagle's head pommel with backstrap extending to ferrule at base of grip; serpentine knuckle-bow pierced with slot for sword knot; leather scabbard with three gilded brass mounts with shaped edges decorated with engraving; mount at throat has oval frog stud with molded cruciform design and a single carrying ring with two clips attached; middle band has a fouled anchor engraved on obverse and a single carrying ring; mount at tip is engraved on obverse with oak leaf and acorn spray.
Gallery Label: 
According to the accession records, this sword was used by Admiral Stephen Decatur Trenchard from 1838 to 1862. Our example corresponds closely with a type of sword designated in 1841 as the only permissible model for naval officers; however, this does not mean that certain elements of this design and even swords completely of this pattern were not worn a few years prior to this time (see "The American Sword, 1775-1945," p. 159).
Credit Line: 
Gift of Edward Trenchard
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group