Bowie Knife (500×206)(15884 bytes) – a typical James Black/Musso pattern S-guard Bowie knife, with its hallmark large blade and unique shape. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A Bowie Knife is a heavy-duty cutting knife used in the early days of the United States.
It was used in the Arkansas backwoods for chopping through dense underbrush and hacking or stabbing at fierce animals that got too close. In fact, while hunting, Davy Crockett was attacked by a bear and his hunting rifle struck away! So, in the dark (the bear was kept busy with the hunting dogs -for the moment) he managed to grapple behind the bear and plunge his Bowie Knife in the bear’s shoulder up to the hilt. And Bowie Knives were long: around a foot long!
The beginning of the edge begins to curve up and then down a bit, providing an indent where the branch you are intending to sharpen for a spear goes, preferably the sharpest part of the blade. You can also put your thumb on the back of the blade for leverage and pressure. A little further forward of this, it begins to curve up again. This “bump” was used for slashing or hacking. Finally, it curves up into the point, where, on the back of the knife, it curves down into the point.
The Bowie knife was invented, well, not exactly invented, but was first made by a blacksmith named James Black, renowned in that area for his knives. It was named after a man named Jim Bowie who used one of Black’s knives to very good effectiveness in the sandbar fight (I read it off of wikipedia, and let me just say PG13). After Black heard about this, he made a new type of knife made specifically to Jim’s uses, the Bowie knife.
Among the more “civilized” states, people said that the people down in Arkansas (a frontier state) picked their teeth with big hunting knives. The English heard about this and developed a knife similar to the Bowie knife which they called the “Arkansas toothpick” and sold them to the Americans.