Ames Manufacturing Company (American, Chicopee, Massachusetts, 1829–1935)
American, Chicopee, Massachusetts
Gold, brass, steel
L. 40 in. (101.6 cm); L. of blade 32 1/4 in. (81.9 cm)
Purchase, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Gift, 2012
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 372
This innovative sword incorporates a three-dimensional figure as its grip, a feature inspired by French sword designs of the 1840s. Here, the armored female figure holds a shield with the American arms and a wreath of victory, imagery referring both to Athena as goddess of war and Columbia, personification of the United States. This is a second casting of a hilt designed by the Ames Manufacturing Company for a sword presented to Mexican War hero General Franklin Pierce by the State of New Hampshire in 1849. The recipient of the Metropolitan's sword was Richard French, captain of the New York militia company known as the LaFayette Fusiliers. The sword was presented to him by the men of his company on June 21, 1850.