Category: cutlass

victoriansword: From Instructions for the E…


From Instructions for the Exercise of Small Arms, Field Pieces, etc., for the Use of Her Majesty’s Ships, 1859.

victoriansword: U.S. Navy Elgin Cutlass-Pis…


U.S. Navy Elgin Cutlass-Pistol by C.B. Allen

Serial no. 45, .54 caliber. 5 inch octagonal barrel marked on the top Elgins/Patent and CBA/PM/1837. Frame marked C.B. Allen/Springfield/Mass. Barrel, frame, blade and stock all serial numbered. Underside of barrel affixed with broad 11 inch single edged blade with beveled false edge and forged with integral triggerguard/knucklebow. Varnished walnut grips. Together with original German silver-mounted leather holster, (the leather restored) the throat fitted with frog stud and with rare brass-tipped steel ramrod.

One of 150 specimens manufactured by C.B. Allen, with blades by N.P. Ames, for a U.S. Navy contract specifically associated with the Wilkes South Seas Exploring Expedition of 1838-42. (Flayderman’s Guide, sec. 6A-038)

Authorized in 1828, the expedition was composed of six vessels, with a complement of scientists, under the command of Lt. Charles Wilkes. Leaving Hampton Roads, Virginia the fleet rounded South America, explored the Pacific coast of that continent, proceeded to the South Pacific, where they engaged in combat on Fiji in 1840 and then sailed on the map and explore the west coast of the United States. Nineteen scientific volumes were published after the fleets return and the expedition played a major contribution in the advancement of the U.S. scientific community. 

victoriansword: British Police Cutlass, c.187…


British Police Cutlass, c.1870-90

Made by Robert Mole of Birmingham. The blade of this police cutlass (hanger) is incredibly robust, with a spine that is 3/8″ thick until it transitions to a diamond cross-section for the last ¼ of the blade. The blade design is similar to those found on cavalry troopers’ swords after 1853, but shorter and more curved. The hilt has a small spring mechanism that locks the sword into its scabbard to prevent the wearer from being easily disarmed by an adversary.

Police were issued cutlasses when so authorized by superior officers (e.g., for riots, special assignments, etc.) or when on night duty. Some examples are marked to prisons, so guards likely wore them when so authorized. The police cutlass was also used by private citizens and companies (factory guards, railway guards) to protect their property.

Similar cutlasses had been in use since the Georgian period, mostly by the constabulary and night watchmen. The design changed little save for the shape of the knucklebow, which was originally more of a stirrup shape, which later (early Victorian period?) changed to the D-shape guard seen on the example above.

Matt Easton recently posted an excellent two part series on Victorian police weapons. Part two covers police cutlasses.

victoriansword: Weapons storage on board the H…


Weapons storage on board the HMS Warrior: Pattern 1889 Cutlasses, Pattern 1888 Boarding Pikes (I think), Colt Navy Revolvers.

victoriansword: British Police Cutlass, 19th …


British Police Cutlass, 19th Century

The Marshall’s Office, Mansion House, London, Official’s Side Arm c. Mid 19th C, the 44.5 cm curved broad blade with single fuller and spear point is unmarked, ribbed black composition hand grip with stirrup shaped hand guard, quillon and back strap, this engraved with ‘Marshall’s Office, Mansion House, London No.5’, together with its black leather brass mounted scabbard.

This is the second cutlass from Mansion House to come to the market this month! 

Mansion House is the home and office of the Lord Mayor of London. The Marshall’s Office may have been associated with the magistrates’ court which was located in Mansion House. I assume that a store of similar swords was kept there for whatever law enforcement officers were present at Mansion House.

victoriansword: A Pair of British Private Pur…


A Pair of British Private Purchase Cutlasses, 19th Century

A pair of British Victorian private-purchase cutlasses. I own a similar cutlass to these, but that is marked to Wilkinson. My research suggested that it may have been made by Wilkinson for sale to a private customer seeking to arm a private yacht or merchant vessel. Sailing in those days was rather more dangerous than now! I suspect that these are a similar case, intended to arm a yacht or trade vessel. There is no maker’s mark on either, but they are good quality and in excellent condition. Neither has been sharpened and it is clear that they were made as part of the same contract. The 24 inch blades are in original polish, with only some blemishes. The guards move a little, but the grips are tight on the tangs. The brass guards and backstraps are in very nice condition and the leather and brass wire grips are also very good. There is a little wear to some of the leather grips, but generally they are very good for the age. The scabbards are both present, but both of them have lost the stitching on the inside seams and one has lost the bottom brass end. They sheath well nevertheless. A fine pair of cutlasses – I’m willing to sell them separately or as a pair.

victoriansword: Royal Naval Artillery Volunt…


Royal Naval Artillery Volunteer Cutlass

Description Royal Naval Artillery Volunteer cutlass, the hilt of the cutlass consists of a steel half-basket guard. The cutlass has a brass lion’s head pommel and back-piece, the mane extending the length of the back-piece. The cutlass has a black shark-skin grip, the binding of which is now missing. There is a catch on the reverse of the grip, which engages in the upper locket. The cutlass has a prominent tang button. The slightly curved flat steel blade has a double-edged spear point. The obverse of the blade is engraved with a shield motif in which the owner’s name is usually engraved, along with a motif of a rayed crown over a foul anchor, all of which are surrounded by foliage motifs. The reverse of the blade is engraved on the shoulder with the words ‘SILVER & CO, LONDON’. The reverse of the blade is also engraved with a rayed crown over the letters ‘R.N.A.V.’ with a foliage motif above and below. The brown leather scabbard has one brass locket and chape. The mounts are ornamented with lines.

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British Police Cutlass, 19th Century A nice …

British Police Cutlass, 19th Century

A nice example of a Victorian police cutlass – this example etched on the blade to the Staffordshire Constabulary. The sword is complete with its scabbard and the spring catch which secures it is fully operational. The blade, unusually for a police sword, has been service-sharpened. The tip is a little rounded from wear and tear. The sword is in good condition overall, with a bright blade firm in the hilt, the shagreen in good condition on the grip. The scabbard is also in good condition, though the end chape needs re-gluing back onto the end of the leather and some of the stitching has gone from the back of the seam.

victoriansword: British Cutlasses, 1804-1900 F…


British Cutlasses, 1804-1900

From left to right: Pattern 1804 Cutlass, Pattern 1845/58 Cutlass, Pattern 1859 Cutlass Bayonet, Pattern 1889 Cutlass, Pattern 1900 Cutlass.

victoriansword: British Pattern 1900 Naval Cut…


British Pattern 1900 Naval Cutlass

A few years ago Matt Easton posted some videos on British cutlasses; one on how they would be good weapons to use against zombies, a few short videos of him cutting with an antique Pattern 1845 Naval Cutlass, and maybe one or two more on cutlasses and boarding axes. After those videos I decided that I really wanted a British regulation pattern cutlass. I guess Matt really sold me on them! After a few years watching eBay and other online sources for a good deal, I ended up with the cutlass pictured above, a Pattern 1900 Naval Cutlass. 

The P1900 was the last regulation pattern cutlass for the Royal Navy. It is similar to the Pattern 1889 Cutlass, but has several notable differences. The swords share similar 28 inch blades, but the P1900 has a short fuller near the bottom half of the blade, whereas the P1889 has a flat unfullered blade. The hilts have the same Pattern 1882 Cavalry Trooper’s Sword inspired guard (but without the “Maltese Cross” cutouts), but the grips are different. The P1889 has a ribbed iron grip, and the P1900 has chequered leather grip slabs (making it the first British regulation pattern cutlass without an iron grip) which are riveted to the tang, and a finger rest for the little finger–more design features of the cavalry troopers’ sword patterns. The P1900 Naval Cutlass is a heavy sword (not unwieldy), weighing in at about 2.5 lbs. The P1900 was officially withdrawn from service in 1936.

My example was made in 1902 at the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield. The blade and the steel hilt pieces were plated at some point.  I’m not sure if the plating is original or not, but it appears to have some age to it. The leather on the grips has deteriorated and shrunk a bit, making the rivets stand out more than they would have originally. Unfortunately I do not have a scabbard for this sword, but at the price I paid for it I wouldn’t expect one.

After acquiring this cutlass, I am definitely interested finding some more to add to my collection–ideally an example of each regulation pattern. If you haven’t seen Matt’s excellent videos on British cutlasses, I will link to some of them below. You’ll also want to check out this concise summary of British cutlasses, and this relatively recent book on British naval swords and swordsmanship.

Matt Easton’s cutlass-related videos:

Cutlasses, Pirates, Axes, Zombies and the Royal Navy

Cutlass compared to sabre

Cutlass and sabre bottle cutting

Cutlasses and Pirates