Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Nashville Plow Works

A well known Biblical verse concerns the beating of swords into plough shares.  It is ironic that a Nashville, Tennessee firm did the opposite. Nashville Plow Works, also known as Sharp & Hamilton, beat plows into swords during the early days of the Civil War. 

The firm was in operation as a weapons manufacturer from 1861 until the Federal capture of Nashville in 1862.  During that brief period of time, the firm manufactured a large number of swords for the Confederacy ranging from enlisted men's sabres to staff and field officer's swords. 

The sabres produced by Nashville Plow Works tend to be on the crude side and are often associated with the western Confederate armies.  

One if the most desirable swords of this firm is the cavalry officer's model which bears CSA on the underside of the guard as depicted below.

Note the dimpled design in the brass guard which is another hallmark of the firm. 

Swords are found unmarked, marked with Nashville Plow Works or Sharp and Hamilton on the underside of the guard or stamped into the ricasso. 

Please note that these swords, especially the officer' cavalry sword, have been mass reproduced.   Due to their popularity, originals command significant prices.  Buyers should beware of fakes as a mistake will be costly. 

  Original sword 

Reproduction.  Note that the CSA is too raised and the overly deep dimpling on the guard.   Also, any sword this shiny should be a red flag. New brass is easily distinguished from old brass.  However, and experienced faker will artificially age brass to give it the patina of 150 years. I would buy a Confederate sword only from a reputable dealer who guarantees the authenticity of the piece.  

The sword shown immediately above  is a reproduction that is commonly found on the market. It is produced for reenactors and collectors of reproductions and can be obtained  from a variety of sources on the Internet.  The price tag for the reproduction is dwarfed by that of the original.