U.S. Model 1850 Naval Officer's Sword made by Collins and Co., Hartford Conn. and marketed by Ball Black & Co., New York
Dated 1862. The slightly curved double fullered blade etched with two extensive panels of scrolls surrounding US Naval motifs. Etched panel at ricasso bears the company name of Ball Black & Co., NY, stamped Collins & Co. Hartford, Conn. 1862. Twisted brass wire wrapped ray-skin bound grip. The gilt brass hilt with USN in pierced oak leaves surround and dolphin guard. Pommel cap hand-engraved with the American Shield and surrounded with 13 stars. An American eagle with shield and a federal shield above a pair of crossed oars and flagpole flying a pennant with the letter U.S. stand among the delicate foliage etching pattern. The reverse side with etched designs including acanthus leaves, C-scrolls, the Capital letters U.S.N. , the American eagle clutching branches and arrow with delicate foliage below on curved blade. 28 inch blade. Measures 34 inches overall.
Ball, Black & Company operated in New York City 1851-1875. In 1876 Ball, Black & Company was succeeded by Black, Starr & Frost, with William Black being an owner in both companies. Author Dorothy Rainwater notes in her reference, "Encyclopedia of American Silver Manufacturers," that Ball, Black & Company in the 1860s "bought Reed & Barton wares in the metal and operated their own plating establishment."
Collins and Company was one of the smaller producers of swords for the Civil War. The company had contracts for 1000 musician swords and 648 NCO swords, in addition to its orders for officer swords. Marine NCO swords were also made by this company. There only appears to have been one style of marking used during the war, but the date may be found placed on either side of the blade. Oddly enough, these swords were not inspected by the US government, and therefore are missing the US mark and the inspection mark.