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Old South Military Antiques

Confederate ’33 Dragoon by Haiman Brothers!
Item #: OS-7599

Columbus, Georgia sword makers Louis and Elias Haiman operated the largest sword manufactory within the Southern Confederacy. They rented the top floor of a building at the corner of Thomas and Short streets, right beside the Haiman armory. Here they set up the Confederate States Sword Factory. They produced more cavalry swords for the Confederacy than all the other manufactures combined. They also made fine officer’s swords, though in very limited number. The officer’s swords were made not for the Confederacy, but for the retail trade to Confederate officers. They were etched by a local Columbus jeweler by the name of T.S Spear, and a man named C.M. Kinsel. The Haiman’s sold their officer’s sword at a street level showroom on Broad Street. These swords were made with an etched panel, which could be personalized at the purchaser’s request. This example has the panel, but it was never filled in. The company advertised "at reasonable prices for officers and sergeants, finished in the best quality for sale at the Confederate states Sword factory of Columbus, GA. We can furnish officers swords with belts for $25 or $22 if four were ordered in one lot. Our swords are tested according the rules laid down by the Manual of War.” The company also produced brass belt plates and cartridge boxes, leather bayonet mountings, camp stove parts, shotgun bayonets, rifle bayonets, wagon covers, revolvers, (they had a contract for 10,000, but very few were produced) mess plates and tin cups.

There are examples known of swords made by Boyle & Gamble, Kraft, Goldsmith & Kraft, Thomas, Griswold & Co., E.J. Johnston and W.J. McElroy that used all or part of pre-war Northern or foreign swords in their production at the beginning of the War. This was because they were available, and of better quality than these new manufacturers could make.

I believe this N. P. Ames, Model 1833 Dragoon officer’s sword is the first example to be discovered of a Haiman Brother’s sword that used a pre-war sword as its foundation.

Ames first contract for the enlisted ’33 Dragoon was in February, 1834 and the last in January of 1840. In these seven years Ames produced 6,380 of these swords. They were purchased by the Federal Government, the States of Texas, North Carolina, and the State of South Carolina.

In addition to the state or Federal markings, the swords were engraved "N.P. AMES, CUTLER, SPRINGFIELD,” along with the date of manufacture, ranging from as early as 1834 to as late as 1840. After proving, the swords were stamped by military or Civilian sub inspectors. This sword was inspected by civilian sub inspector "JM” Justin Murphy.

When the War broke out, this ’33 Dragoon was accessible to the Haiman brothers so they polished off the original Ames’ etching. Then their artist etched it in suitable southern style. Beginning with a large and ornate C.S.A., and even at this early date the Haiman brothers adopted the Phoenix rising from the ashes of the old tyrannical republic into the glorious day of the reborn free republic seen on most of Haiman’s officer’s swords. It also includes the familiar Haiman Gorgon and floral etchings so familiar in C.M. Kinsel’s etchings.[i] Later, the Haiman brothers copied this pattern to make their own version of the ’33 from scratch, though the pattern is among their rarest styles. The most important sword etching as far as the collector is concerned is the "L. HAIMAN & BRO. Columbus, Ga.” deeply etched into the ricasso.

The sword is in good condition. The brass guard remains completely tight; about half of the leather grip wrap, and all of the twisted brass wire remains intact and tight. The throat washer is a replacement. A small chunk has come out of the wooden grip but this has caused no play or looseness. The blade was sharpened during its period of use, which took out some of the etching near the edge. The sword’s correct original Ames scabbard has been lightly cleaned and is dinged up a bit and the rings are missing, but it is good and solid. The blade’s etchings are deep and stand out prominently.

This has to be the most reasonably priced, etched Haiman officer sword you will ever see.

[i] Charles Moritz Kinsel was born Karl Moritz Küntzel on January 17, 1830 in Dresden, Saxony, Germany. Karl immigrated to the U.S. via New York, from Hamburg on the ship Rhode Island on October 3, 1849. His occupation was listed as a goldsmith. He soon Americanized his name to Charles Moritz Kinsel.