MODEL 1906 AMES “IRON GUARD” LIGHT CAVALRY SABRE –
VERY NICE SPECIMEN:
Based on available
information, the Model 1906 “Iron Guard” Light Cavalry
Sabre was the result of a cooperative effort between the
U.S. Army Ordnance Department and the Ames Sword Company
of Chicopee, Massachusetts to produce a sabre in
response to the dwindling stocks of the brass guard
Light Cavalry sabres. As with so much other military
equipment, the quantity of Light Cavalry Sabres produced
during the Civil War was so great that the sabres held
in inventory continued to supply the army’s needs until
after the turn of the 20TH Century.
After some discussion between the Ordnance Department
and Ames, and various considerations taken into account
regarding the metallurgy and design characteristics, a
contract was let out to the Ames Sword Company for
20,000 sabres (in fact, Ames eventually delivered
18,961). The design adhered to that of the Light
Cavalry Sabre, however the guard was changed from brass
to iron, and the space between the scabbard rings was
reduced to improve the balance when the sabre was
carried (see comparison photograph below). As the final
evolution of the Light Cavalry Sabre, the Model 1906
holds an important place in the lineage of US Cavalry
Sabres, being the last curved blade sabre carried by the
This specimen is in excellent condition with no damage
or misshaping, very little sign of wear or use and
features a very attractive blade. The iron guard is
full form, is not misshapen due to wear or use. The
surface of the guard is overall smooth with no pitting,
and the original blued finish is still present on the
majority of the surfaces, worn on only the high points,
and has aged to an attractive even plum brown color.
The grip leather is original and overall smooth, showing
minor wear through to the wooden core on a few of the
ridges on the right side of the grip. The original wire
wrapping is present, still very tight, and complete.
The leather washer on the face of the guard is present.
The pommel of the guard is stamped with a “C” – the
significance of the “C” is unknown as it is larger than
the font commonly used by inspectors, however I have
noted this same single letter stamped in the same
location on at least two other Model 1906 Sabres, so
there is some consistently in the application of this
stamp. There is a unit inventory stamp “M 34” on the
flat of the main branch of the guard next to the pommel,
indicating this sabre was issued in Company M, inventory
The blade is full form, the metal surface is overall
bright, and the ricasso cross polishing is still present.
There are a scattering of light frosting on the length
of the blade on both sides – small darkened spots, but
no perceptible pitting, just an aging of the steel.
The edge is clean and
smooth with no nicks.
The ricasso is stamped with a legible Ames Sword Company
maker’s stamp, the Ordnance “flaming bomb”, and the
date, “1906” on one side, and “US” and the inspector’s
initials “J.H.C.” on the other.
The correct Model 1906 scabbard is full form without any
dents, and is complete with the throat, the properly
spaced carrying rings, and a full form drag. One of the
finest of the Model 1906 Scabbards I’ve handled, this
scabbard still retains 99% of the original blued finish,
with much of the blue color still discernable, the
balance having turned a natural plum brown with age.
The metal is overall smooth and bright with light
pitting on one side of the scabbard, the balance
retaining a smooth clean finish.
The period the Model 1906 Light Cavalry Sabres were
issued involved considerable and strenuous campaign
service along the Mexican Border and in the Philippine
Islands – environments that were extremely harsh and
consumed so much equipment. That exposure, coupled with
later poor storage and handling, left so many of the
sabres that did survive in “NRA Embarrassing” condition
with heavily pitted guards, blades and scabbards. This
is a very respectable and attractive example of the last
Light Cavalry sabre and the condition of this specimen,
coupled with the historical context of the waning days
of the U.S. Cavalry, combine to make this sabre a very
nice addition to your collection. (1020) $775