Original U.S Civil War German-Made Model 1840 "Wrist Breaker" Heavy Cavalry Saber by P.D. Lüneschloss with Scabbard
Original Item: Only One Available. The model 1840 saber, often called the wrist breaker, was a relatively heavy cavalry saber. This sword was manufactured before the Civil War so it saw extensive use by both sides during the war. On the ricasso there is only one marking, P.D.L. in an oval, which indicates that it was manufactured by P D Lüneschloss, Solingen Prussia. P.D.L. was one of the oldest and most respected German manufactures of swords. They made blades, hilts and scabbard, all of which were high quality. Contractors, including Tiffany of New York imported officers' P.D.L. sabers.
Both Northern and Southern armies imported swords and guns from Europe and European Manufacturers, mostly from Germany, and they did not want the eventual "winning side" to be able to blame them for "supplying the enemy". This is a typical example that could have been used by the Confederacy or the Union.
This sword conforms exactly to the M-1840 U.S. Heavy Cavalry pattern, and is approximately 42 inches in overall length. It has a very nice brass wire bound leather grip, brass three branch handguard and wicked heavy curved blade measuring 36", coming complete with its heavy all steel scabbard. The scabbard is in good shape, with no significant dents, though it does definitely have some rust damage.
A great example of a Civil War Era M-1840 Wristbreaker Saber: Fully cleaned and ready to Display!
Blade Length: 36"
Blade Style: Single Edged Curved Saber with Wide Fuller
Overall length: 42“
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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