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American Made Revolutionary War Cutlass

American Made Revolutionary War Cutlass

  • Product Code: EWSK-1395-SOLD
  • Availability: Out Of Stock
  • $1.00

This is a lovely example of an American made, American Revolutionary War era cutlass. The sword is in very good condition and combines many features that are typical to American made edged weapons of the era. The sword is assembled with an imported blade, which is almost certainly of Spanish origin, combined with a locally produced hilt with an iron guard and bone grip. The celestial motifs and three fullers on the blade are typical of the Spanish blades that were used in the Colonies during the Revolutionary Era. The form of the sword is that of a European cutlass with a clamshell guard, circa 1700-1725 (see Neumann Battle Weapons of the American Revolution #177.SS p. 362). By the Revolutionary era, the naval cutlass had evolved to a weapon with an oval or round guard at the ricasso, but often retained the “D” or stirrup shaped guard bow. The cutlass in naval use often had a straighter, and heavier blade than those swords intended for mounted use on land, and large “figure 8” style guards were coming into fashion. This cutlass is 34 7/8” in overall length with a slightly curved 30 ““ long x 1 5/16” wide blade with 3 partial fullers close to the spine of the blade. The fullers vary in length from about 15” to 16 ““ The reverse of the blade is decorated with celestial themes, including a personified sun, personified waning crescent moon, and a small grouping of stars. A deeply struck, raised P proof is present on the reverse ricasso, at the hilt. The 4” long hilt is of iron, with a simple D-shaped guard and a short, crude quillon. There is a simple, clam shaped iron guard on the obverse of the hilt, and the exterior of the guard is decorated with six diagonal lines, suggesting the letter “V”. The grip is made of horn and is quite flat on the reverse and rounded on the obverse, which creates a hand filling palm swell. The grip is slightly tapered towards the center and is slightly swamped front and rear. The grip and guard are retained by the simple peening of blade’s the tang over the flat oval iron pommel cap. The cutlass weighs in at handy, yet solid 1 pound, 4 ounces, and is very well balanced. The fact that this sword has a slightly longer blade than the typical naval cutlass of the 1770-1790 era, suggests that it may have been intended for use on land, rather than aboard ship. However, the 30 1/3” blade is shorter than the typical Horseman’s Saber of the era that was usually found with a blade that was nominally 33” to about 36” in length. American horseman’s swords with shorter blades are hardly unknown, and good examples in Neumann (p. 350 #140.SS & #141.SS) are well documented. Of these two, the one labeled #140.SS shows many of the crude assembly features of the cutlass offered here, and also shows a distinct “retro” look, with a design reminiscent of the last part of the 17th century and early 18th century, rather than the 1770s-1790s.

The American Made Cutlass offered here is in about VERY GOOD+ condition for a 250 year old weapon. The blade sword appears to be 100% complete and correct with no modifications, repairs or restorations noted. The iron blade has an oxidized plum brown over gray patina, and has a sort of mottled appearance. The metal is mostly smooth, with only a few patches of rough surface oxidation, most of which are the size of an index finger print or smaller. The blade shows some very light period sharpening, but not abuse or recent attempts to improve the edge. As would be expected, the edges shows a number of dings and nicks, all signs of actual combat use. A couple of slightly larger nicks are present as well (about 1/8” wide), but appear to be from the period of use. The guard to blade juncture is quite tight and there is no perceptible wiggle in the guard or knuckle bow. The grip is likewise tight and secure with no wobble noted. The guard and knuckle bow have a slightly thicker, darker brown patina than the blade, and also show some scattered surface oxidation and minor roughness. The bone grip is worn smooth and slick from handling and use, and has a nice patina. A triangular section of the grip, 1 ““ but about 5/8” wide at its widest point is missing from the reverse of the grip, and appears to be the result of period combat damage, possibly when the pommel was used to strike an opponent. The pommel cap is dented into this area, and the grip is worn quite smooth, indicating the damage was from a very long time ago, almost certainly from the period of use. The amount of force needed to bend the pommel cap was likely very significant. The peened tang in the center of the pommel cap is unmolested and the entire cutlass has a wonderful, untouched look to it.

Overall this is a lovely American made Revolutionary War sword that follows the form of earlier cutlasses, but has a longer blade, more appropriate to mounted service. The crudeness of the hilt, with its hand wrought guard and knuckle bow, in combination with the imported blade, is very typical of the work done by local blacksmiths and cutlers who produced small numbers of edged weapons for use by local militia and volunteer units during the War for Independence. This cutlass has lovely, untouched appearance and would be a wonderful addition to any collection of American made Revolutionary War era edged weapons.


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Tags: American, Made, Revolutionary, War, Cutlass