Halfmann & Taylor

Field and Staff Officer's Sword

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Description and Photograph

Price

 

                

    


     Little is known about the Montgomery, Alabama based military goods dealers known as Halfmann & Taylor.  Taylorís identity is lost to history.

     Ethelbert Halfmann was a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania clothier in the 1850s, before coming to Montgomery, Alabama in 1856.  His tailoring and clothier business prospered in Montgomery so he closed his Philadelphia store in 1858.  When the War Between the States erupted he sided with the South.  He traveled to Europe to purchase clothing and military goods for the Confederacy.  The manufacture of the sword shown here must have been arranged at that time.  Swords and buttons bearing Halfmann & Taylorís firm name are the only known surviving tangible result of his trip to Europe.  His military outfitting foray came to an end only a few months after it began; he died in Havana in January of 1863 while trying to make arrangements to run the blockade.

     The swords that Halfmann had custom made in London, England are some of the most aesthetically appealing of the Confederate era.  The swords made for Halfmann & Taylor in London started out as British Model 1822 officerís swords with the standard iron basket.  The London maker cut out the engraved infantry horn that was centrally located in the basket and soldered in an iron disc engraved with the Confederate droop winged eagle surmounted by eleven stars.  

     The sword shown here follows the same 1822 pattern, but it is very different from all other Halfmann & Taylor field and staff swords.  Its basket was completely custom made for Halfmann & Taylor.  The entire guard was cast of brass, a material that the British would never use for their own swords.  After casting, the basket, knuckle bow, back strap and pommel were gilted.  The droop winged eagle surmounted by eleven stars was cast integrally with the rest of the basket.  The eagle bearing the letters CSA on its breast is cast in bold relief, making this stunning sword one of the most attractive swords of the Confederate era.  The swordís folding counterguard is another unique feature.  This sword, like other Halfmann & Taylor field and staff swords has the company name etched in relief on the ricasso and has the Confederate droop winged eagle with the letters CSA on its breast, surmounted with eleven stars, relief etched onto both sides of the blade. 

     The sword is in near new condition.  It is sheathed in its original lacquered scabbard.  It too, is in perfect condition. 

 

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