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US Navy Model M1841 Navy Cutlass or Naval Cutlass used during both the Mexican War and Civil War: Photographic History, Identification, Technical Information, Price and Availability Produced by the N.P. Ames Manufacturing Company of Cabotville and Springfield, Massachusets just prior to the Civil War
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ames model m1841 naval cutlass, brass hilt, double edge, short sword
The M1841 model of Naval Cutlass was originally patterned after the U.S. M1832 Foot Artillery Sword used by the United States Army until 1870. Additionally, the M1832 Foot Artillery Sword was patterned after and is almost an exact duplicate of the French Model 1816 Foot Artillery Sword.

The Ames Model M1841 cutlass was a dramatic shift in design for the Navy and this model naval cutlass was not very popular among the enlisted sailors who needed to wield it on pitching and rolling decks. It was heavy and cumbersome at best. As such only 6600 of these were manufactured between 1841 thru 1847, and was replaced just prior to the Civil War with the popular M1860 naval cutlass for which over 24,000 were produced.

m1841 brass hilt and scabbard Due to its unpopularity and limited production there are not that many of these cutlasses available. One must be careful of reproductions and fakes, as well as the M1833 Artillery Sword of which there are plenty, trying to be sold as an M1841 naval cutlass. There are differences between these two swords: 1) the M1833 sword has a fullered double edge blade, while the M1841 cutlass has a double edged blade without fullers. 2) the M1833 sword has an open hilt and cross guard, while the M1841 has a knuckleguard cup to protect the hand and fingers. Both units have the hilts made entirely of brass with the handles having the fish scale or feathers pattern.

The M1841 Naval Cutlass had an overall length of 26.5" while the straight dual edged blade was at 21" and resembled the Roman Legionaires short sword. Had an all brass hilt with a grip resembling fish scales or feathers with a D-style knuckleguard and cup. The pommel had the Federal Eagle on both the right and left sides. Sometimes the cup or guard on the hilt had both numbers and letters stamped onto them post-production which designated the rack number where the cutlass was stored aboard the particular ship it was on. Sometimes you will see more than one set of stamps if the cutlass served aboard more than one naval vessel.

The M1841 was manufactured by the N.P. Ames Manufacturing Company, and was factory maker mark stamped on the ricasso of the blade in 3 lines, either N.P. Ames, Cabotville, Mass or N.P. Ames, Springfield, Mass.

Additional manufacturing marks will also be found on the reverse side of the ricasso and these are sometimes varied but they usually consist of a either the intials U.S. or U.S.N and the date of manufacturer, typically between 1842 thru 1846. Sometimes there will also be an inspector's initials, in the case of the above cutlass dated 1846 the letter "R" is found below the initials USN and above the date, 1842.

The U.S. Naval Cutlass model M1841 will also have two more inspector's marks will also be found on the quillion atop the guard and these initials will be "JL" on one side and "RC" on the other. These initials are thought to be Rufus Chandler and Joseph Lenmand, both aresenal inspectors at the Ames plant.

The Model 1841 also came with a scabbard which was made of leather.
 
Description
 
Dimensions
 
Additional Information
 
Overall Cutlass Length (point tip to pommel):
 
26.5"
 
Much shorter than a traditional naval cutlass
 
Blade Length (point tip to quillon):
 
21"
 
Additional Information
 
Blade Width (at ricasso):
 
1 5/8"
 
In true Roman Legion fashion the middle of the blade was ever so slightly larger, producing a bulging look
 
Blade Thickness:
 
n/a
 
cutlass was double edged and we do not have calipers to accurately measure
 
Blade Fuller Width:
 
n/a
 
no fuller
 
Blade Fuller Length:
 
n/a
 
No Fuller
 
Brass Hilt (from outer edge of quillon to tip of pommel:
 
5.5"
 
Almost same size as the M1832 Ames Artillery Sword
 
Brass Hilt Construction:
 
One Piece
 
Feathers or Scales? What say you?
 
Brass Grip:
 
Fish Scale or Feathers Design
 
You Decide!
 
Brass Quillion:
 
Curved Quillion above blade w/ inspection marks on either side
 
very distinctive and well marked
 
Brass Pommel:
 
oval ball with button
 
American Federal Eagle Clearly Emblazoned on Both Sides
 
Weight (cutlass only):
 
2.5 lbs
 
unbalanced and heavy


m1841 brass hilt, one piece, eagle m1841 brass hilt, one piece, eagle

Above photos show the left and right hand brass hilt of the M1841. Note the Federal American Eagles on each side of the pommel. The round brass quintillion is also where you will find the intials "RC" (left) and "JL" (right) of the military inspectors. Note also the fish scale or feather design of the grip gives a good handhold.

m1841 brass hilt rack numbers on guard, post production m1841 brass hilt rack numbers on guard, post production

Above photos clearly illustrate the rack number or inventory number that many of these cutlasses had stamped on by the Navy post-production. These stamps identified where each cutlass should be located on the ship.

m1841 initials rc on left side of brass quintillion m1841 initials rc on left side of brass quintillion

The intials "RC" and "JL" will be found on the left and right hand side of the brass quintillion on the M1841 naval cutlass. These were the two inspectors located at the N.P. Ames manufacturing facility in Cabotville, Mass.

m1841 n.p. ames cabotville, mass on ricasso m1841 n.p. ames springfield, mass on ricasso

The N.P. Ames Manufacturing Company made the M1841 naval cutlass at both the Cabotville and Springfield, Massachusetts plants and it is believed that the production move from Springfield to Cabotville occured sometime in 1843.

m1841 n.p. ames cabotville, mass on ricasso m1841 n.p. ames cabotville, mass on ricasso



Here are two date marks found on the obverse side of the ricasso of two cutlasses; both have a date of 1846 yet one has the letter "R" between the US and 1846. Both were made in the Cabotville plant. One should find military inspector marks on the obverse ricasso and on either side of the round quillon.

The US military had inspectors at each of the manufacturing plants that produced parts for the war effort. It is well documented who these inspectors were, their names, how long they were employed by the government, their tenure at each manufacturing facility, and the specific types of equipment they were charged to inspect and approve.



m1841 brass knuckleguard date, inspector initials, but no initials on quillion

Photo to the left shows the M1841 brass knuckleguard from the bottom.

The photo on the right shows the initials U.S.N., date of manufacture 1843, and inspector initials "RWP", but note however that there are no two-letter inspector initials on the quillion, and on the obverse side there is no Ames maker mark so we do not where this particular M1841 was actually produced.

This brings us to the conclusion of our technical dissertation on the U.S. Navy Model M1841 Naval Cutlass. We hope that you found it both interesting and factual, and a help in finding that special Navy M1841 cutlass for your collection. Below you will find pricing and availability of the Navy M1841 naval cutlass' being offered at The Pirate's Lair.

 
M1841 Ames Naval Cutlass #6
Rare Naval Cutlass - Only 6600 Produced from 1841-1847! The arsenal marks "US R 1846" are clearly visible on the ricasso. The "NP Ames Cabotville" maker mark is also clearly visible on the obverse ricasso. The military inspector initials "JL" and "RC" are also clearly visible on each side of the quillon. The Federal Eagle Motif is plainly visible on either side of the pommel. No scabbard. Blade and tip are in EXCELLENT condition with some very minimal pitting and a dark patina as to be expected with no with no nicks or damage whatsoever.
 
Antique civil war naval cutlass model m1841
Click Photo!
 
$1495
 
To Order Call
540 659 6209
 
M1841 Ames Naval Cutlass #8
Rare US Naval Cutlass with STAMPED RACK NUMBER "No 56" on the inside guard so as to be visible when stored for shipboard use! Based upon this rack number and the two battle nicks on the blade the indication is that this particular cutlass has seen action!! Only 6600 were ever produced from 1841-1847! The arsenal marks "USN 1845 R" clearly visible on the reverse ricasso. Only the "NP A" maker mark is visible on the obverse side. The military inspector initials "JL" and "RC" are also clearly visible on each side of the quillon. The Federal Eagle Motif is very clear and plainly visible on either side of the pommel. No scabbard. Blade and tip are in very condition with some very minimal pitting, and two battle nicks on the blade, with an overall dark patina as to be expected. No damage or rust whatsoever.
 
Antique Ames Model M1841 naval cutlass used during Mexican War
Click Photo!
 
$1695
Sold!
 
To Order Call
540 659 6209
 
M1841 Ames Naval Cutlass #9
Rare Naval Cutlass - Only 6600 Produced from 1841-1847! The arsenal marks "USN 1843 JEB" are clearly visible on the ricasso. The "NP Ames Springfield" maker mark is also clearly visible though faint on the obverse ricasso. The military inspector initials "WAJ" and "NWP" are also clearly visible on each side of the quillon. The Federal Eagle Motif is very clear and plainly visible on either side of the pommel. No scabbard. Blade and tip are in very good condition with some very minimal pitting, a single battle nick on the blade, and a dark patina as to be expected. No damage or rust whatsoever.
 
Antique Ames Model M1841 naval cutlass
Click Photo!
 
$1595
 
To Order Call
540 659 6209
 
Custom Wooden Wall Brackets for the Naval Cutlass
Elegant in Their Simplicity! Custom Crafted Wooden Wall Brackets Specifically for a Cutlass Display or Sword Display for a Secure, Beautiful and Professional Presentation.

These Handcrafted Wooden Wall Brackets or Wall Mounts Are Made for the Wide and Large Hilts Normally Found on Cutlasses and Some Swords and Prevent the Hilt or Cup From Touching the Wall. The TPL Wall Brackets Come Complete with 2 Brackets and 2 Mounting Screws, and are Available in 3 Sizes with a Choice of Oak or Walnut Woods!
 
The Pirates Lair Custom Made Handcrafted Oak or Walnut TPL Wall Brackets to Safely, Securely, and Properly Display Your Cutlass or Sword Without Damaging Wall or Weapon
Click Photo
 
$35. Pair

2.25" 2.75" 3.75"

specify length and either Oak or Walnut when calling.
 
Call To Purchase
540 659 6209


Below are links to other Antique Nautical and Naval Artifacts that may be of interest:

Click Here For Antique Navigation Lights

Click HERE for WWII US Navy Anchor China

 
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OPTIONAL - Trunk Wood Engraving Examples and Prices
Custom Designed, Handcrafted, and Hand Lettered in Caligraphy on your Antique Chest
 
Personalized Burnt Wood Engravings
Click Here To Review Sample Engravings
 
Personalize Your 100+ Year Old Antique Trunk in Perpetuity!
 
Antique Trunks as a Shadow Box and Storage Chest!
Customer Photographic Examples of our Antique Trunks Being used as a Military or Naval Retirement Shadow Box and Storage Chest!!
 
Military or Naval Retirement Ceremony Shadow Box
Click Here for Sample Shadow Box Photographs From Customers
 
Why just get a shadow box or a newly made trunk with no history! One of our 100+ Year Old Nautical Antique Trunks can be used for both a Shadow Box and Storage Chest for your Uniforms, Photograph Albums, and Memorabilia!


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The naval cutlass m1841 was also sometimes known as a navy sword or naval short sword as the blade was significantly shorter than some of the 30" plus blades found on infantry and calvary swords.

moreover the sweeping blade of the cutlass was called in french the "falchion" which distiguishes it from the straigher sword blades.