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Object Name: Naval officer's sword and scabbard
Date: 1800-1826
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Medium: Steel, brass, bone; leather, brass, gilding
Dimensions: Overall: 30 3/4 x 4 3/8 x 7/8 in. ( 78.1 x 11.1 x 2.2 cm )
Place made: North America, United States, Springfield
Description: Sword with slightly curved, single-edged steel blade with etched designs on obverse and reverse; brass hilt cast in five pieces; bone grip carved with fan and feather motifs and parallel diagonal lines; cross quillons with acorn finials cast in one piece with serpentine knuckle-bow (hinged oval counter-guards missing on obverse and reverse); eagle-head pommel with backstrap; leather scabbard with gilded brass upper band, middle band, and tip, all with shaped edges with engraved decoration; the upper band has an oval frog stud with molded floral decoration, and each band has a single carrying ring; fouled anchor engraved on reverse of middle band, and oak leaf and acorn spray engraved on reverse of tip.
Credit Line: Gift of John Sanford Barnes
Object Number: 1925.106ab
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Marks: maker's mark: on obverse of blade near hilt: "N. P. AMES / CULTER / SPRINGFIELD"

Gallery Label:

According to the accession records, this sword belonged to U.S. Navy Captain Richard Dale (1756-1826). This example is very similar to a type designated in 1841 as the only permissible model for naval officers; however, this does not mean that certain elements of this design and even swords completely of this pattern were not worn a few years prior to this time (see "The American Sword, 1775-1945," p. 159). Note that this example appears to be somewhat smaller than the standard model.