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The Armory

Springfield, MA | 1794 to 1968

It has been over 240 years since General George Washington, with the advice of General Henry Knox, selected a high bluff overlooking the Connecticut River in the small town of Springfield, Mass., as the site of our nation’s first arsenal, dedicated to storing weapons for the American Revolutionary War. Only 17 years later, in 1794, it became America’s first and foremost armory, producing the large number of weapons needed by America’s armed forces during the ensuing decades of peace and war.

While the National Armory at Springfield, as it was then known, was most active in producing muskets, rifles, and bayonets for the U.S. Army, there had always been a part of the Armory that quietly manufactured or assembled sturdy swords and sabers for American servicemen. We have only tantalizing references to a horseman’s saber produced by the Armory in 1807, but to date no examples have been identified. We also know that sword blades were mounted at the Armory during the War of 1812, with follow-on activity as late as 1817, but again no surviving examples known.

The Armory’s special focus on edged weapons did not begin in earnest until 1872, when it designed and introduced a series of well-finished swords and sabers that became premier examples of the regulation patterns adopted after the Civil War.

Written by Jack Bethune
Author of the ‘Foreword’ in Swords and Sabers from the Springfield Armory