British 1845 Pattern Naval Cutlass with Brass Hilt
Slightly curved, unfullered spear pointed blade, black leather washer, brass bowl hilt, cast iron ribbed grip, brass teardrop shaped pommel cap. No scabbard. Blade 29 1/8 inches in length, ¼ inch wide at the shoulder, the cutlass 34 inches overall.
Experiments during the early 1840s for a new naval cutlass design to replace the venerable 1804 Pattern resulted in a design by George Lovell, the Inspector of Small Arms, being accepted in 1842. A fire at the Tower of London destroyed early stocks and the design did not enter service in bulk until three years later, hence being termed the 1845 Pattern. It was considered very successful, handling well compared to its bulky predecessor the 1804 Pattern and being simpler to manufacture.
Being a clone of the 1845 Pattern but with a brass hilt and an entirely unmarked blade, this is almost certainly a commercially produced version intended for sale to merchant shipping or export.
May and Annis state quite conclusively in Swords for Sea Service (Vol. 1 p.92) that with regard to British cutlasses: “It is possible that unmarked blades may still be naval but it is more likely that they were made for foreign navies or for civilian use. This would also account for cutlasses sometimes found with brass guards, for brass guards were never used in the Royal Navy.”
Like other swords of the period it has a low carbon tang and shoulder, forge welded to a higher carbon steel blade, and the differential aging of the two materials can be seen clearly at the transition point. The two pieces were chamfered to increase the surface area of the weld: one can see the diagonal line of the weld on the spine and the iron surface extends further up the blade on the right face than the left (roughly 1½ inches vs 3¼ inches).
The blade has a few very small nicks to its edge, mottled patination and some patches of light pitting. The hilt has an even patina with no verdigris, one dent to its top edge. The grip has an even dark patina with a rough surface finish.