Original U.S Civil War German Made M-1840 "Wrist Breaker" Heavy Cavalry Saber by W. Clauberg Solingen
Original item: Only One Available. Straight from an old collection! This heavy Cavalry Saber, known as "Old Wristbreaker" among troops, was designated the U.S. Model of 1840, but was widely used in the War between the States on both sides. This nice example is marked by the maker on the spine of the blade by the crossguard:
This indicates that the sword was made in the legendary "City of Blades" in the mountains of Western Germany. Wilhelm Clauberg AG, Waffen- & Stahlwarenfabrik was founded in 1810, and exported large numbers of blades to England and the U.S.A. By 1887 however they had ceased weapon production, and were mainly making razors and steelware.
Both North and South imported Swords and guns from Europe and European Manufacturers, mostly in Germany, and they did not want the eventual "winning side" to be able blame them for "supplying the enemy". This is a typical example that could have been used by the Confederacy or the Union.
Overall gray patina on blade. scabbard good but painted black.
This sword conforms quite well to the M-1840 U.S. Heavy Cavalry pattern, and is approximately 40" inches in overall length. It has a brass wire bound leather grip, and a brass three branch hand guard. The grip however has deteriorated quite a bit, with the leather mostly gone, exposing much of the underlying rope. The guard is also somewhat loose, partly because the original leather blade buffer is missing.
It has the correctly wicked heavy curved blade measuring 34 1/4", with the flat back of the Model 1840. It may have been shortened at the tip a bit, as the blade is about 2 inches shorter than usual, and the end profile is a lot more spear shaped than usual. The blade is in good condition, but does have an overall gray patina. It shows signs of being cleaned repeatedly, which has removed the very top of the maker marking.
The included scabbard is in good shape, however it was at some point painted black over a lightly oxidized surface to protect it. It still retains both original hanger rings, and is a good example of this type of scabbard.
A great example of a Civil War Era M-1840 Wristbreaker Saber from a German maker. Complete with scabbard, this sword is ready to display!
Blade Length: 34 1/4"
Blade Style: Single Edged Curved Saber with WideFuller
Overall length: 40“
Basket dimensions: 5" width x 5” length
Scabbard length: 38”
The Model 1840 Cavalry Saber was based on the 1822 French hussar's sabre. Unlike its replacement, the Model 1860 Light Cavalry Saber the M1840 has a ridge around its quillon, a leather grip wrapped in wire (rather than grooves cut into the wooden handle) and a flat, slotted throat. It is 44" long with a 35" blade and weighs roughly 2.5 lbs.
The M1840 was designed for slashing and because of its heavy flat-backed blade was given the nickname "Old Wristbreaker." It was adopted due to the army's dissatisfaction with its predecessor the model 1833 Dragoon Saber, the first cavalry sword adopted by the US Army. The iron-hilted M1833 was based on a Napoleonic-era British sword used by heavy cavalry and reputed to wrap "rubber like around a man's head and was only good for cutting butter" An ornate gilded version of this earlier sword was used by General Philip Sheridan during the Civil War; Sheridan had its sheath engraved with the battles he participated in. It was evident a replacement was needed so in 1838 the US Ordnance Dept bought British, French and Prussian swords and field-tested them. The troopers overwhelmingly preferred the French saber, and a copy of it was put into production in 1844. A total of 2000 were ordered and by 1846, 600 were in frontline service.
The 1840 saber was used during the U.S.-Mexican War by US Cavalry. The main contractors were Ames of Cabotville, Horstmann, and Tiffany but due to the large number of swords required at least 1000 were made in Germany by S&K and imported. Some troopers used Prussian sabers as an alternative, which in contrast to the M1840 had straight blades.
When production ceased in 1858 over 23,700 were made. During the US Civil War it continued to be issued to Union Cavalry as in the early years it was more readily available than the M1860. George B McClellan carried one at the front, keeping his regulation officer's sword for full dress occasions. Many were also used by the Confederacy including General Nathan Bedford Forrest who had both edges of his sword sharpened to increase combat effectiveness.
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