The model 1840 heavy dragoon saber was manufactured by N.P. Ames in Springfield, Massachusetts although many were made in Prussia.
Blades are slightly less than 36 inches long and about 1 1/4 inches wide. The saber knot is lightweight white buff leather 1 inch wide and 18 inches long over-all.
For centuries the weapon considered most essential to cavalry had been the saber. Oddly enough, the US Army, from its beginning, rarely saw fit to emphasize the training of its mounted men enough to make them sufficiently proficient with the saber to be deadly swordsmen in battle. Of course there were saber exercises in the dragoon and mounted riflemen regiments, but these were hardly on a level with the training European cavalrymen experienced. In spite of the general disenchantment with the saber as an effective cavalry weapon, all the mounted units of the US Army, from the Continental Dragoons to the modern cavalry, were armed with one type of saber or another, until that weapon was finally discontinued as a cavalry weapon in 1934.
The 1840 saber had the nickname, "Old Wristbreaker," because it was fairly easy for the soldier to break his wrist in combat if he held the saber wrong, The proper way to hold the saber was inverted and away from your body. Sabers were not sharpened because they were intended to be a thrusting weapon not a slashing weapon. The saber was used exclusively from horseback in close combat. The saber knot would be used as a strap and wrapped around the wrist to prevent the saber from being lost if it should be dropped in battle.