Original U.S. Great White Fleet Era Naval Training Cutlass - circa 1900
Original Item: Only One Available. This has stumped us. It is clearly a TRAINING CUTLASS, however it has no markings indicating origin or model. It features a 24 1/2" rounded tipped blade, with a massive plate iron/steel basket type hand guard, a wood grip and a brass pommel cap. It is substantially made, but definitely not intended for actual combat use. Internet research unfortunately has been unclear on the exact designation. One source names it a U.S. M-1917 Naval training cutlass but an old Collector insists it was introduced in 1885. The Internet source stating M-1917 also indicated that there were only 5 or 6 other known examples. In any event it perhaps is very rare, but we feel it more likely that many were simply discarded, having no real use except training.
Well it is as ugly as sin and the idea it was introduced in 1917 seems much too late for Naval Warfare at that time, which had moved well past cutlasses. Traditionally Cutlass fighting was limited to repelling borders and assaulting other vessels, however firearms were now very widespread, and far more effective.
The sword being a model 1885 would make much more sense, and the construction does seem typical of late 19th/ early 20th century design. One can easily picture the Great White Fleet of Theodore Roosevelt with sailors undergoing boarding drills with this type of training sword.
Any information on this item would be much appreciated. So here it is, a "sleeper" right out of the attic, a U.S. NAVY M-1917 (or perhaps M-1885) TRAINING CUTLASS just as it was found as a sleeper, ready to display.
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