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St. George's Notes XI - The Bowie Knife...

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St. George:
St. George's Notes XI - The Bowie Knife...
« on: December 04, 2004, 11:40:19 AM »     

In an earlier Note - I spoke of period pocket knives - those indispensible tools of pretty much every male on the Frontier.

Today - the style of knife is a little more serious and was carried as a sidearm and as a tool and never failed in either application.

It's the legendary and deadly "Bowie Knife"...

I'm not going into its history, since numerous books have all featured the story of it's most famous user and that of its maker.
If you'd like to know all of that - a little personal reading and research is always a good thing.

A Bowie Knife's primary identifying feature is a single-edged blade with the slightly upswept false upper edge and if you think "Ka-Bar" -you've got the style down pat.

It was wildly popular as a fighting knife and utility knife - much more so than its counterpart - the double-edged "Arkansas Toothpick".

It was made by frontier blacksmiths, and by the big cutlery companies of the day - both domestic and foreign.
Some would feature silver and Ivory and etching and some would be plain
Some scabbards - were of metal - and some of the Indian-made ones are truly amazing works of art.

Here is a partial listing of its manufacturers - by no means all-inclusive - plus - as they were made for the Trade - you'll see all manner of supplier's and dealer's markings as well...

Who knows?

That next estate sale may be your lucky one.

I hope so.

The List as follows:

R. Alledon - Memphis, Tennessee
Jos. Allen and Sons
Ames Mfg Co. - Connecticut
W.W. Ayer Bros.
Edward Barnes and Sons
Bridgeport Gun and Implement Co.
Samuel Bell - Knoxville, Tennessee
Henry C. Booth and Co.
Broomhead and Thomas
Buck Bros. - Pennsylvania
W. Butcher
W.S. Butcher
R. Bunting and Sons
John Coe
Corsan, Denton, Burdekin and Co.
Chevalier - New York
Camillus Cutlery Co. - New York
T. Ellin and Co.
J. English - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Fenton and Shore
W. Greaves
Hall and Colley
Hardy, Hall Arms Co.
Hassam - Boston, Massachusetts
S. Hibbert and Son
Willian Jackson and CompanyA. Leon
John Lingard
Theodore Meyer
W.J. McElroy- Macon, Georgia
I. Nicholson
J. Nicholson and Sons
Nicholson's Xlent Cutlery
M.M. Nicholson
G. Nixon and Sons
A.W. Payne and Co.
Philip and Speye
Rose - New York
J.S. Russell and Co.
C. Roby - West Chelmsford, Massachusetts
James Rodgers and Sons
Joseph Rodgers
Reinhardt - Baltimore, Maryland
M. Price - San Francisco, California
H. Sears and Sons Celebrated Cutlery
Thomas Short
G. W. Taylor
H.H. Taylor and Brother
Unwin and Rodgers
J. Walters and Co.
James West
James Weston
Will and Finck - San Francisco, California
H. Wilkinson - Connecticut
H.V. Wilkinson
Wilson, Hawkesworth and Ellison
Wilson, Swift
G. Woodhead
Woodhead and Hartley
G.W. Wostenholm and Son I*XL
S.C. Wragg
Wraveley and Weekes - New York

Though these knives have been written about heavily - they are by no means all gathered into collections.

Good Luck.

Scouts Out!

 "When you side with a man, you stay with him"

Hi guy's, great to see a knife forum.
I am familiar with the Bowie in most of its forms, and don't wish to change this post but perhaps someone could post pictures of the Arkansas Toothpick please.
I have read about it in western stories, read about sizes and dimensions but have never seen a genuine example or a photo of one from the era we are talking about.
When did the common westerner leave off using butcher knives and start with the named knives?

Appreciate any answers, Angel Eyes

Major 2:
Here you go AE

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Books OToole:

--- Quote from: Angel_Eyes on February 14, 2009, 10:30:20 AM --- When did the common westerner leave off using butcher knives and start with the named knives?

Appreciate any answers, Angel Eyes

--- End quote ---

Bascally, with Jim Bowie and the Alamo.

Before that there were Poinards, Main Gauchs [sp?], boot knives, rifleman's knives, butcher knives and daggers.


Thanks Major 2, great photo, almost as what I imagined, but more wicked looking in the steel.
From some of the descriptions I imagined the toothpick to be broader in the blade at the guard, but I suppose that would depend on the maker.
I take it that the hilt is of leather?
Thanks again for the photo, it will join my archive.

Angel Eyes.


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