Here is the Model 1840 US Cavalry Saber – the famous Old Wristbreaker. The M1840 is often regarded as the US heavy cavalry sword, in comparison to the M1860 light cavalry sword. With a thick, flat spine and M1840 was a brutal slashing sword. It was based on the 1822 French Hussar Saber and was seen as a necessary replacement for the M1833 dragoon saber. The M1840 was produced throughout the Civil War and was used alongside the M1860, particularly in the early years of the war when it was more available. The Model 1840 was chosen among a selection of British, French and Prussian swords that the US Army acquired in 1838 – the soldiers who tested them overwhelmingly preferred the French sword, which became the template for the M1840. The sword was manufactured by various US companies, but blade production was also sometimes outsourced to foreign countries, particularly Germany to keep up with demand.
This M1840 US Heavy Cavalry Saber has an unsharpened, tempered high carbon steel blade. The blade is stamped with the recreated 1862 marking of the Ames sword manufacturing company – the foremost producer of these swords. The hilt is of brass and the grip is covered with black leather and inlaid with twisted copper wire. The scabbard is of steel with two steel hanging rings.