American Civil War Surgical Antiques

Research and Identification

Civil War Era Surgical Sets, Surgeon's Images

Civil War Surgeon Education & Medical Textbooks

Established 1995    .     Dr. Michael Echols Collection

 

As seen in:  Warman's Civil War Collectibles, Antique Week, Northeast Antiques, Antiques & Collecting publications, and various TV programs

 

Genuine Civil War U. S. Army M1840 'Medical Service' Sword

by Horstmann & Sons, Pennsylvania

 

Written regulations for the Medical Corps specified the requirement for Surgeons and Assistant Surgeons to obtain and wear dress swords.  See additional information on Civil War Medical Service swords.

The U. S. Army M 1840 Medical Staff sword was fairly unique when compared to the sword patterns for both Staff and Field/Line officers and Non-Commissioned officers of the same time period.  These swords were elegant in design and completely ceremonial in purpose.  The sword is European in origin, imported by Horstmann for US sales.  Marked 'M.S.' for Medical Service.

 

The sword shown below, is a Model 1840 'Medical Service' marked sword, which is uncleaned, in original condition as found, with full patina of the brass scabbard and handle with no dings or dents.  Over-all length 35 in.  Marked: "W H HORSTMANN / & SONS / PHILADELPHIA".  Ornate brass handle, blade is etched with patriotic symbols. Scabbard is brass with ornate brass mountings.  Handle and cross-guard are marked the same, so both are original to this sword.  

 

See a M1840 Medical Staff sword  for comparison

Click on any image to enlarge

Horstmann & Sons, Philadelphia;   Eagle crest;      E. Pluribus Unum

Comments from a fellow Civil War Medical sword collector regarding the condition of this sword on viewing these photos:

"Untouched, aged, not buffed/polished, etc.  The brown on the scabbard is really aged, oxidized brass.  It means it is hundreds of years old and can't be faked with acid, etc..  That's what really convinced me this is the real deal, and not an 1880 to 1900 later post-Civil War MS sword. 

Originally, all of the brass was gold/gilted plated.  You still have much of the gilt on the hilt fittings.  That's because the metal composition of these fittings differs from the plate pounded-brass of the scabbard.  These fittings were poured with molten metal into moulds.

I would recommend light machine oil on the blade every 6 months and don't polish the brass, if it's really dirty, then simple moist rag with soap and water and really dry it well.  As far as a date, probably in the original initial 1861 shipment batches, more like 1863, but that's just my opinion/speculation."

See: Horstmann Medical Service sword

See: Ames Medical Service sword

 

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Civil War Medical Collections 

 

Direct links to all medical & Civil War collections on this site

American Surgical Sets:

Pre-Civil War:  1 | 2  -   Post-Civil War:  3  -  Civil War 1861-1865:  4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8   INDEX

Medical Text-Books:

1 | 1a | 2 | 2a | 3 | 3a | 4 | 4a | 5 | 5a | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 9a | 10 | 11 | 12    INDEX

Surgeon General's Office Library printed catalogues: 1840 | 1864 | 1865

Medical Lecture Cards:

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INDEX

Navy Surgeon Exams:

1863 Navy Surgeon Applicant Exams with Biographies   INDEX ONE | INDEX TWO

Surgeon CDVs, Images:

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Hosp Dep't Bottles, Tins, 

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American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques