Springfield Armory Museum - Collection Record
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|Title:||SABER - U.S. SABER MODEL 1902 STAFF & FIELD OFFICER'S|
|Date of Manufacture:|
|Catalog Number:||SPAR 6667|
|Measurements:||OL: 90.1C 35 1/2" BL: 76.2C 30"|
U.S. SABER MODEL 1902 STAFF & FIELD OFFICER'S
Manufactured by M.C. Lilley & Comany, Columbus, Ohio.
Complete with scabbard - Army# 5020.
Blade: M C LILY & COMPANY COLUMBUS OHIO.
Weapon transferred to the Museum on 23 June 1932.
Notes: "Lilley-Ames Co.- Columbus, Ohio. Began the production of swords in 1872 and continued until 1936 or later. Supplied the commissioned personnel of the U.S. Marine Corps and the cadet bodies of both West Point and Annapolis as well as numerous foreign military and police services. Also known as M.C. Lilley Co." - Robert E. Gardner
"Mitchell C. Lilley (1819-1897) started as a bookbinder in partnership with Charles Siebert of Columbus, Ohio and his brother Christian (gunmaker from Circleville, Ohio) about 1840. The Siebert family were printers of Lodge material. Lilley served in the Mexican War as Captain of Co. E., 4th Ohio Volunteers. Later, as Commander of Co. H, 46th Ohio Infantry during the Civil War, he was wounded at Shiloh and returned to Columbus to resume his printing business.
In 1865, Lilley started a regalia business form war surplus material and extended sales to include Lodge regalia, printed publications, and fraternal swords. Charles Siebert continued to work for Lilley as a die sinker. In 1887, a report of the Inspector of Workshops and Factories noted that the M.C. Lilley Co. employed 420 employees in the manufacture of Masonic and Odd Fellows regalia, etc., and was 'said to be the largest establishment of the kind in the world.'
Unlike Ames, Lilley advertised widely in fraternal publications, many of which Lilley printed or published. After Mitchell Lilley's death in 1897, the company continued to operate and expand. In 1923 the Lilley Co. bought out the Henderson-Ames Co. of Kalamazoo, Michigan. The following year, Lilley absorbed the Ames Sword Co. to become the largest sword and regalia manufacturer in the United States until bought out in turn, by the C.E. Ward Company of New London, Ohio, in 1851." - Hamilton
Notes: "VARIATIONS OF THE MODEL 1902 OFFICERS SABER - The Model 1902 Officers Saber is often neglected by collectors as they are relatively common given the hone hundred years plus that they have been in service, a period of time which witnessed massive troop buildup during World Wars I and II. Nevertheless, there are sufficient variations to be intriguing.
The Model 1902 Officers Saber wa adopted on July 17, 1902 by authority of General Order No. 81. The saber was authorized for all officers with the exception of Chaplains. There is little variation in the standard saber but there are a few noted below.
The blade was made in three different lengths to accommodate the height of the officer. The lengths were 30, 32 and 34 inches respectively.
The etched design on the blades, while showing some variation depending upon the manufacturer, are generally similar with floral patterns, stand-of-arms and the letters 'U.S.' in old English style. On the obverse is a spread eagle holding a ribbon or banner with the words 'E Pluribus Unum'. The eagle may be left or right facing which is probably of no significance although it has been suggested that the eagle faces the olive branch during peace and the arrows during time of war. In some cases the spread eagle was replaced with a panel for etching the officers name and yet other blades have the Great Seal of the United States in place of the spread eagle.
Initially the guards and scabbards were made of German silver but this was later changed to nickel plated iron. Polished black horn was used for the grip on early sabers but this was soon changed to black hard rubber and still later to black plastic or similar synthetic material.
Springfield Armory was the primary manufacturer initially but only manufactured a total of 5,735 Model 1902 sabers between 1902 and 1918 when production was halted.
The Ames Sword Company is one of the few, perhaps only, commercial firms to manufacture the Model 1902 saber domestically.
By far the majority of Model 1902 sabers produced betImported swords are generally not marked as to manufacturer but are found marked with the country of origin such as 'Germany,' 'France,' or 'Toledo-Spain.' 'Carl Eikhorn-Solingen,' has been noted on some blades. A common proof mark found on German made swords is the six pointed star containing the word 'PROVED' in a circle. 'Vanguard U-21' is found on some Spanish made sabers.
These European made swords were imported and sold by numerous purveyors of military uniforms and equipment and will be found with various markings on the ricasso. A list of those encountered to date include:
E.A. Armstrong Mfg. Co. - Chicago
Wendall Minor Co.
Horstmann Bros. - New York City
Francis Bannerman - New York City
The M.C. Lily Co. - Ohio
N.S. Meyer - Washington, D.C.
J.M. Litchfield & Co. - San Francisco
Rosenfield Uniform Co. - Boston
B.F> Pasquala - San Francisco
Army & Navy Cooperative - New York City
Oak Hall Clothing Co. - Boston
Ridabock, New York
Henry V. Allien & Co. - New York
Harding Uniform & Regalia Co. - Boston
W.A. Rhodes - New York
Cincinnati Regalia Co. - Cincinnati, Ohio
Of special interest are the presentation grade Model 1902 sabers. These rare sabers may have eagle or lions head pommels, ornately decorated guards, sharkskin grips, scabbards with special ornate fittings and gold wash." - Edward Scott Meadows, THE GUN REPORT, January, 2005.
Hamilton, John D. THE AMES SWORD COMPANY 1829-1935. Mowbray Company. Providence, R.I. 1983.
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