Rare Original Model 1841 US Naval Cutlass by N.P. Ames



Rare Original Model 1841 US Naval Cutlass by N.P. Ames– Although many of these that are offered today are skillfully created reproductions, this M1841 cutlass is completely original, retaining its original scabbard. These pre-Civil War cutlasses were originally patterned after the U.S. M1832 Foot Artillery Sword, issued to the United States Army until 1870. The M1841 naval cutlasses proved to be heavy and cumbersome and therefore not very popular with the enlisted sailors. As a result, only 6600 of these were manufactured between 1841 and 1847. The Model 1841 was replaced, just prior to the Civil War, with the M1860 naval cutlass, of which over 24,000 were produced. Research on the use of the Model 1841 cutlass indicates that they were intended for general use as ship defensive weapons, as the sword’s relatively short blade was adaptive to fighting in close quarters; the wide brass guard was designed to protect the sailor’s hand. Due to its unpopularity and resultant limited production, original examples of these cutlasses are somewhat rare today and, therefore, care must be taken to avoid reproductions and outright fakes.

This cutlass and leather scabbard are in overall, untouched condition. The cast, brass hilt exhibits the typical, fish scale or feathered grip, held to the tang by three steel rivets; evident is the D-style, protective knuckle guard and cup. The cutlass’ pommel exhibits the Federal Eagle cast into both sides; the blade is double edged and slightly diamond shaped, with a raised center line. Although the ricasso of the blade was originally marked, in 3 lines, either “N.P. Ames, Cabotville, Mass” or “N.P. Ames, Springfield, Mass”, these maker markings can no longer be discerned, as they have been worn off via period use or age; the reverse side of the ricasso is usually marked “USN” and a date – a trace of this lettering remains, with most of the letter “N” of “USN”, still evident on this example. Sometimes the cup or guard on the hilt of many of these cutlasses had both numbers and letters stamped onto them, post-production, designating the rack number where the cutlass was stored aboard a particular ship; this cutlass’ brass hilt cup is stipple-stamped with the number “15” – assumedly, its ship’s rack number. Overall, this Model 1841 remains in good condition; there appears to be one small crack in the knuckle guard, and the finial for frog attachment appears to have been reduced in size, a long time ago, perhaps even during the period of original issue. The leather scabbard is strong and pliable; it retains the majority of its original black finish, with some small areas of loss and minor crazing.

Measurements: Overall length – 27.5”; Blade length – 21”