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M1902 Sabers used by ROTC & Academies


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I thought I would start a thread on variations of the US Model 1902 Army Officer Sabers used by various ROTC and Military Academies. This is a whole sub-section of M1902 Saber collecting.

 

The US M1902 Army Officer Saber has been used by ROTC and Military Academy students since its adoption. During WWII the sword was not worn by Regular Army Officers, they were to wear pistols, but it continued to be authorized for ROTC and MA students. Here is an early example of one worn by a ROTC student at West Virginia University. Notice it was awarded as a prize for excellence. Typically, these swords have a standard hilt and scabbard but the blades are sometimes etched with dedications or variations on the normal etching for each school.

 

 

 

 

1902 WVU presentation sword.JPG

1902 WVU presentation hilt.JPG

1902 WVU presentation blade.JPG

1902 WVU blade1.JPG

1902 WVU blade2.JPG

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Here is another example from the Viet Nam War period from Virginia Polytechnic. Notice the blade etching is unique to the school and the owner is named on the blade. The outside of the sword remains the standard US M1902 Saber style. Also, notice that the sword knot is black leather instead of the earlier russet color found on earlier swords.

 

 

 

 

VPI sword.JPG

VPI blade.JPG

VPI blade close.JPG

VPI Eickhorn logo.JPG

VPI Meyer logo.JPG

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Wish I had the WVU one (my Alma Mater). I have one given to a WVU graduate by his parents in 1918 but it is a stock Lilley version.

 

On the second one, about the black knot. My sword has both black and brown, I was told that the brown was standard and the black was used in Mourning (funerals etc.) when the black armband was worn. Did that change to black for everyone, or was I misinformed?

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Wish I had the WVU one (my Alma Mater). I have one given to a WVU graduate by his parents in 1918 but it is a stock Lilley version.

 

On the second one, about the black knot. My sword has both black and brown, I was told that the brown was standard and the black was used in Mourning (funerals etc.) when the black armband was worn. Did that change to black for everyone, or was I misinformed?

 

As usual... yes and no. The brown (russet) leather knot was regulation through WWII and a bit later. A gold wire with black silk highlights knot was worn for full dress and is still full dress regulation today. When the "brown shoe army" changed over to black accouterments in the 1950s the leather color of the knot changed as well. Of course there was a wearing out period and some schools retained the russet leather knot as they continued to wear brown belts and boots. I have seen photos of black cloth being worn on the swords that replaced or covered the knots but I have seen no regulations for this.

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Gary,

 

As to the WVU sword, it now has a full dress sword knot on it. This knot would be proper for US Army regulations from circa 1902 'til today. Most schools and ROTC programs follow those regulations but as I stated some do not depending upon the color of their leather.

 

 

WVU sword.JPG

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Here is another sword from the Millersburg (KY) Military Institute. This institution was founded in 1893 as a military school. Notice the neat art-deco style of blade etching. It too has an original black leather sword knot.

 

Also, notice the combined trademark of Carl Eickhorn in Solingen and Meyer in New York on the ricasso. This sword is marked "Made in West Germany" indicating postwar manufacture. Eickhorn and Meyer had a long relationship that was interrupted during WWII but resumed after the war.

Millersburg Mil Acad sword.JPG

Millersburg eagle.JPG

Millersburg Military Acad.JPG

Millersburg name.JPG

Millersburg proof.JPG

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One more military academy sword from this same post WWII time period. This one is from Eastern Military Academy that was founded in 1944. Notice the school specific etching on the blade. This is also a named Eickhorn made sword that was retailed by Meyer.

 

 

Eastern MA sword.JPG

Eastern MA proof mark.JPG

Eastern MA blade.JPG

Eastern MA blade front.JPG

Eastern MA blade flag.JPG

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Here is an interesting sword from the WWII time period. This is basically a stock M1902 sabre that has the blade factory etched with a presentation inscription. The scabbard is also engraved with a presentation to Cadet Captain Yee in 1940. This sword was presented to him from the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and he wore it through graduation. The interesting part is that he served in the US Navy during WWII so he only wore this Army Officer sword prior to his Navy service. The brown knot is original to the sword.

 

 

Yee sword.JPG

Yee sword maker.JPG

Yee blade pres.JPG

Yee scab pres.JPG

Yee photo.jpg

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Here is an example from WWI with a named blade etching. This one is from Ohio Northern University (ONU) and is circa 1914. This sword was from M.C. LIlley & Co. and is marked "Iron Cutter" on the blade ricasso. This generally indicates a German made sword blade and is the later version of the "Iron Proof" mark often seen on German imports from the US Civil War period. Of course this sword was made prior to US entry into the World War.

 

 

 

 

1902 ONU sword clean.JPG

1902 ONU Lilley .JPG

1902 ONU Iron Cutter clean.JPG

1902 ONU hilt clean.JPG

1902 ONU blade clean.JPG

1902 ONU hilt close clean.JPG

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Here is a rather unique presentation sword to a Major who was an instructor at the New York School for the Deaf Military School in 1938. This sword has a blued background to the presentation area of the blade. This is a seldom seem option on sword blades and tends to get polished off with time and subsequent owners.

 

I will also point out that presentations that were factory etched on the blade are seldom faked on these swords whereas engraved presentations on the scabbard are more easily faked.

 

 

1902 deaf presentation sword.JPG

1902 deaf presentation hilt.JPG

1902 deaf presentatin close.JPG

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Here is another sword that is a ROTC presentation from the Viet Nam War period. Actually, this sword was awarded to a Staff Sergeant from a group of ROTC instructors in 1964 but the sword itself is from a much earlier period of time. This sword is an early Lilley & Co. sword manufactured with a peened pommel and a solid cast one-piece ferrule, backstrap and grip. The grip would have been painted black originally. This makes it a candadate for a presentation since the grips are metal instead of being made of horn or wood and when polished presents a rather flashy appearance that sets it off from other M1902 sabers.

 

 

VN presentation sword.JPG

VN presentation sword hilt.JPG

VN presentation sword  marking.jpg

VN presentation sword maker.JPG

VN presentation sword  blade.JPG

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This is an interesting variation of the M1902 Saber worn by students at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia, that was founded in 1898. These straight bladed swords were worn in frogs by cadets over a long period of time. Standard straight bladed swords from Fork Union had a black grip while there was one variation with a white grip that was worn only by the Regimental Commander. This sword is such a Regimental Commander's sword and is from between the wars and has a white sharkskin grip. It is complete with the original red cloth sword bag that came with the sword.

 

 

1902 cadet sword.JPG

1902 cadet hilt.JPG

1902 cadet maker.JPG

1902 cadet scabbard.JPG

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  • 6 years later...

I have moved this thread to the new "Military Education & Training" section of the Forum.  I think this new section is better suited to this topic on M1902 Sabers used by ROTC & Academies.  

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