Memphis Novelty Works History

  Leech & Rigdon (Memphis Novelty Works) Memphis, Tennessee

Thomas leech and Charles H. Rigdon, principals of Leech and Rigdon, also known as the Memphis Novelty Works (sometimes plain "Novelty Works"), are well known for the imitation Colt Revolvers which they supplied the Confederacy.  Their sword making activities have never been fully explored.  It is known, however that they were engaged in sword making while in Memphis and later at Columbus, Mississippi, Georgia and at this point the partnership ended.  It has been established that the firm made 1,500 revolvers. No estimate has ever been given as to their number of swords and probably never will be.  However, from the existing specimens their operations in this respect were not small.  Manufacture included all types of swords, sabres, knives, bayonets and probably cutlasses as well.  They are best known for foot officer's swords with "CS" in an oval on the reverse side of the counterguard and for cavalry sabres of same general design with the "CS" in an oval on the top rear counterguard, although this last may have been copied by another manufacture,  In addition to these, they also supplied innumerable other swords and sabres of all designs.   It also appears the firm was not adverse to dressing up a sword made by someone else by profuse blade etching which usually included a "CSA" and the firms name on the ricasso.   Some swords by this firm are found with "W. Rigdon / etcher" on the blades.  We assume that "W. Rigdon" was a brother of Charles.

William Albaugh, A Photographic Supplement to Confederate Swords