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This form of cutlass dates from the period when arms makers began making hangers and briquettes (short swords) specifically for the maritime trades.

This form of cutlass dates from the period when arms makers began making hangers and briquettes (short swords) specifically for the maritime trades. Before that time, shipmasters were expected to make do with whatever surplus or condemned military weaponry was available.

By the 1750s, Mariners were being provided with cheaply-made cutlasses, pikes, boarding axes and muskets designed for use at sea. They were virtually disposable items, made of old parts and low-grade materials. This, of course, makes them rare today.

Here is one of those early cutlasses. I think it was made early in the 19th century. The cutlass is 30 inches long, with a 1.5 inch (3.8 cm) wide blade, a simple iron guard, knuckle bow and wood grip. The whole cutlass runs to 34.5 inches. The metal is dark with traces of old, inactive rust. It is very solid with no looseness between blade and grip.

These were made by many forges in Europe and exported throughout the world. Few have survived.

 
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