Question about a 1821 LC saber
I have heard that the 1821 light cavalry sabers made for the US market had a blade of 33". Th other one, for the other markets, had a blade of 35" 1/2.

For example, I own this type of saber which dates from 1838-1839 with a 33" blade. Can I assume tht it was made for the US market?

Thanks for your answers!
Could you post an image of the saber?

Sounds like it could be a Nathan Starr saber.
Are you talking about troopers' swords or the officers' swords?

Thank you,
Here's are two photos of my saber. It is a trooper's sword.

[ Linked Image ]
Are there any marks on the blade like inspection stamps or a maker's name?
Yes, the blade and the guard are stamped "WL&H Sargant" which dates the blade to 1838-39. The blade was sharpened and it has some nicks on the blade. It has also some marks like "A4" on the blade.
I am not sure if Sargant sold to the US or had agents in the US. The US equivalent, the M1833 dragoon saber, had a pipe back blade and no ears on the backstrap of the grip. I will take a look through Robson's Swords of the British Army and see if he mentions variations in length for the P1821 LC trooper's sword.
Thanks, Jonathan, I will wait for your answer.

Anyone has other informations?
Robson does mention that the US swords were the same but smaller and cites Harold Peterson's The American Sword in his endnotes for that statement. I checked Peterson and the swords he shows are the M1833 dragoon sword and M1838 topographical engineers sword--both of which have pipe back blades. The British P1821 Robson pictures does measure 35.5", but other examples in Charles Martyn's The British Cavalry Sword vary between 34.5" and 35.5". I think your sword is probably just on the shorter end of the spectrum for a British P1821 LC trooper's sword. Maybe it was for a yeomanry regiment for which regulation lengths were not a concern. Does the blade length match that of the scabbard?
Forgive my ignorance, but what is a pipe back blade? Is it a blade with a fuller starting near the guard?

The scabbard fits with the lengh of my saber
Below is a P1821 LC officer's sword with pipe back blade (c.1840). The name is derived from its long cylindrical spine. The blade is wedge-shaped and not fullered.

A rough illustration of the cross section of a pipe back blade:

I think I don't save pictures of the Ames 1833 because of sticker shock but I must have some around here somewhere.. They do look very much like the officer's sword Jonathan posted above except the back edge of the point is not so pronounced but display another term often used as a quill point, where the spine runs out to the center of the blade's point. Plug Ames 1833 dragoon into an internet search and there are many to see, in many conditions. A relic condition example without a scabbard can still easily reach three or four hundred dollars (then skyward on the demand at the moment).

Jonathan seems to find some real bargains on some of these and there are later Portuguese examples of the form in almost pristine condition at the four hundred dollar level. There were a lot more German made of the same general flavor that were also widely imported for U.S. consumption but I have never noticed a real trend in blade length.


I am glad you chimed in here--you have a much broader knowledge base than I do when it comes to US swords!

A Google image search for US M1833 Dragoon Saber:;bih=929


PS--I just wanted to add that Swords of the British Army by Brian Robson, the "Bible" of British military swords, is available as a reprint from Naval & Military Press. I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in British swords.
The 1833 looks really like the 1821... I can assume that mine is a 1821 because of the maker's mark, I think.

I understand also that the lenght of the sword does not show for which market it is destined. Is that exact? So, my sword have been used anywhere in the world after 1838-39 (making date). The only thing I am sure is that my sword saw combat and it show the famous "A4". I don't know what is the meaning of this marking by the way...
Aside from the 3-bar hilt, the British P1821 LC trooper's sword and the US M1833 dragoon sword are not that similar. Yours is definitely a P1821 because of the blade shape (fullered blade with spear point as opposed to pipe back blade with quill point) and the ears on the backstrap of the grip.

Your sword was probably intended for British or colonial troops and not for the world market. Birmingham's sword industry did not have the same international scope as Solingen's sword makers, so "anywhere in the world" seems too broad. I suppose it could have been used by foreign troops, but without unit or other markings it is impossible to know. Can you provide a photo of the A4 marking you described?
Aside from the 3-bar hilt, the British P1821 LC trooper's sword and the US M1833 dragoon sword are not that similar.

True in many ways but without some time spent in looking at the differences, it can be easy to play a flash card profile silhouette game of overlooking the differences.

If we were to list some major differences; Ames was the only manufacturer of the U.S. 1833 patter. All of these have brass hilts and quite distinctive grooves in the hilt branches and counterguard, even on the little curly cue quillon. Most imported sabers of this general pattern will have no maker/manufacturer clearly marked aside from such the Tiffany markings. It is quite often that an unmarked sword will be regarded as a Tiffany import but that is no less a stretch than clearly marked British 1853 sabres being listed as obviously Confederate. :wtf: It is though an easy argument to make in considering that a completely unmarked sword was destined for American use. However, in this day and age, the circulation of arms worldwide make absolute provenance difficult. My one example of a German made French 1822 pattern could truly as easily have been meant for a number of markets but was sold to me in the U.S. Does that make it an American Civil War sword? All I can claim is that it is an example of the general type while leaving all possibilities open for further discovery.

Sellers and then owners themselves have a responsibility in looking more than going with the flow of "its always possible" and that growing out of some texts that do list such possibilities while leaving the question unanswered.


Her's a picture of my saber. You can see the "A4" on the blade near the ricasso.

[ Linked Image ]

Could you tell me what it means?

Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum

All contents © Copyright 2003-2006 — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Full-featured Version of the forum