Elias Haiman, owner of the Southern Agricultural Works in Atlanta, Georgia. Signed by Elias Haiman. Haiman was an inventor and held a patent for THE EMPIRE PLOW. During the Civil War, Elias and his brother Louis turned their Columbus, Georgia tinsmith into one of the largest and best sword manufacturers for the Confederate Government called Confederate States Sword Factory. After the War, Elias opened Southern Agricultural Works in Atlanta -eventually with branches in New Orleans and Houston and employing about 300
L. Haiman & Bro. initially produced one to two hundred swords and sabres weekly and was the largest sword manufacturer in the Confederacy. By September, 1861 they had expanded or moved their sword production onto the fourth floor of the Carter Factory, a former mill at the river on Front Street below 14th Street. In April, 1862, the Confederate government leased and took control of the Columbus Iron works for the Navy so the Haimans purchased and moved production to the Muscogee Iron Works, on the block northeast of 1st Avenue and 14th Street. They also opened leather shops for making sword and pistol belts, saddles, harness, cartridge boxes and other leather accoutrements. An August, 1862 report by the Superintendent of Confederate Armories said they employed 160 workmen, producing 80 sabres per day, and had delivered nearly 7,000 contract cavalry sabres. They also had 150 presentation-grade swords on hand for private sale. Finally, the report noted, “They do better work than any factory I have inspected. Their blades are tempered beautifully to which they pay particular attention.”
In 1862, on the northwest end of the block, they constructed the ‘Confederate Firearms Manufacturing Company’, a three-story brick building for the production of Colt style revolvers. In March, 1863 they advertised to hire “one hundred good gunsmiths and machinists” and by May it was reported that they were “engaged in the manufacture of repeating pistols.” By war’s end their various operations covered most of this block and employed over 500 workers. Metal stocks were in short supply throughout the war so Elias went to Europe to send supplies back through the Union blockade.
Louis served on the city council in 1865 and temporarily acted as mayor on April 17, 1865, the day after the city was captured by Federal forces. Refusing to take an oath of allegiance, his factories were destroyed.
After the war, by August, 1865, the Haiman Brothers were operating the Phoenix Foundry and Machine Shop on the site of their old Muscogee Iron Works, advertising to “make to order saw-mills and mill work generally, of brass or iron, and all kinds of castings, hollow-ware, ploughs, iron railing, and anything the public may desire made of brass or iron.” Although Louis died in 1871, his Haiman Plow was so successful in the following decades that Elias renamed the firm Southern Agricultural Works. It became one of the largest companies in the South, expanding production to Atlanta, New Orleans, and Houston, with sales across the US and extending into Mexico. Headquarters moved to Atlanta in 1876 and in 1882 a corporation was organized. The company was known as the Empire Plow Company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio at the time of Elias’ death in 1914.
Columbus, Georgia sword makers Louis and Elias Haiman operated the largest sword manufactory within the Southern Confederacy. They rented the top floor of a building at the corner of Thomas and Short streets, right beside the Haiman armory. Here they set up the Confederate States Sword Factory. They produced more cavalry swords for the Confederacy than all the other manufactures combined. They also made fine officer’s swords, though in very limited number. The officer’s swords were made not for the Confederacy, but for the retail trade to Confederate officers. They were etched by a local Columbus jeweler by the name of Spear, or a man named Kinsel. The Haiman’s sold their officer’s sword at a street level showroom on Broad Street. These swords were made with an etched panel, which could be personalized at the purchaser’s request. This example has the panel, but it was never filled in. The company advertised “at reasonable prices for officers and sergeants, finished in the best quality for sale at the Confederate states Sword factory of Columbus, GA. We can furnish officers swords with belts for $25 or $22 if four were ordered in one lot. Our swords are tested according the rules laid down by the Manual of War.” The company also produced brass belt plates and cartridge boxes, leather bayonet mountings, camp stove parts, shotgun bayonets, rifle bayonets, wagon covers, revolvers, (they had a contract for 10,000, but very few were produced) mess plates and tin cups.
With the exception of their enlisted cavalry sword, Haiman swords are extremely rare and beautiful. This Haiman copy of a model 1833 Dragoon sword is likely their rarest. This particular example has the defect of having three inches of the tip replaced. It is otherwise virtually perfect. The grip and wrap are virtually perfect, the guard is perfect. The guard is tight. The throat washer is a replacement. It is a thing of beauty. The guard is heavily gilted. The blade has several edge nicks and is deeply etched with the maker’s name: L. Haiman & Bro. Columbus GA. The blade is profusely etched with vines, flags, artillery, shields, horns, drums, battle axes, quivers, and right in the middle, written large in Latin: DEO VINDICE surrounded by a laurel wreath. Deo Vindice translates “God will Vindicate”, meaning of course, that God will vindicate the course chosen by the states in defense of their homes and hearths.
Louis Haiman is pictured below. This Elias Haiman autograph reproduction woud make a wonderful addition to any album of display.