The US Army Saber: A Proud Tradition

Posted by Bryan on 11/27/2012 to U.S. Military Sabers
Although swords in the United States Army have a history going all the way back to the day that George Washington took control of the Continental Army, they didn't become a mainstay with enlisted men until 1798. Nathan Starr, an armorer that had served in the Revolutionary War, was the first contracted producer of US military sabers and his style went on to influence the appearance of all US military sabers for the next century. These included using a single strip of iron to for the stirrup guard and an iron scabbard suspended from the waistbelt by two iron rings attached to slings, an improvement over the earlier style in which a stud was used to attach the scabbard to a shoulder belt frog.

Although many sabers continued to be manufactured in Europe, the presence of an eagle head pommel is a basic identifier of genuine US Army sabers. The United States National Museum at Washington includes one of the first of such officer's sabers. Produced in France in 1783, it includes an eagle head pommel, an eagle with wings spread decorating the blade, and the motto "E. Pluribus Unum".

Modern swords continue to be produced for the US military, but whether buying antique, new, or reproduction, there are a few qualities ever buyer should look for in a genuine US Army Saber. First, a saber is defined as a sword with a curved blade. All sabers produced since the Civil War should have the six-pointed Star of Damascus etched into the ricasso, the unsharpened blade base located at the hilt, to meet US military specifications. Modern sabers should also have the word "proved" engraved as well. The blade should be 31 inches, with a brass hilt, and a scabbard of leather or steel, if the carrier is an NCO or a cavalry trooper or officer, respectively.