Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Starr Model 1818 Cavalry Sword

Before the end of the first quarter of the 19th Century, America had established itself as a nation. It had fought in two wars, engaged in treaties, engaged in international business and expanded its territory.   

Nathan Starr, Sr., manufactured arms for the fledging United States military was early as 1798 out of his shop in Middleton, Connecticut.  His company produced swords until 1837 under various names all in the same New England town.  

Starr's swords are on the crude side.  A hallmark of the earlier sword is a blade that extends from the grip on a severe downward angle -- appearing as if it were bent. 

Depicted below is a Starr pattern 1818 cavalry sabre from my collection.    It lacks the bend of the blade, but is distinctively a Starr. 

By 1861, the Starr sword was well past it's prime, having first been replaced by Ames Model 1833 dragoon sabre

 then by the 1840 heavy cavalry sabre (old wrist breaker)

and then the lighter 1860 cavalry sabre.

Still, Starr played an significant role in the development of US arms as the nation grew from a newcomer in the world to a military power. His descendants would seize upon the Civil War arms race and produce firearms out of a factory in Yonkers, New York from 1845-1867 under the name Starr Arms Co.   Notable arms developed by the Starr Arms Co. are a double action cavalry pistol (later produced in single action to simplify the production and improve reliability in the field)

and a carbine, originally percussion later centerfire metallic cartridge. 

The end of the Civil War meant the end of lucrative government contracts for arms supplies. Starr Arms fell victim while other more prolific manufactures such as Ames and Sharps survived.