Bowie Knives

The Bowie period in American History was a turbulent one. It was born on a sandbar on the Mississippi River near Natchez, Mississippi in 1827. A political duel became a free-for-all. James Bowie, who was an observer at the duel, was shot and stabbed through with a sword cane, but he managed to dispatch his major opponents with a Bowie knife, even though his wounds were so grave that his life hung by a thread for weeks afterwards. The infamous Sandbar Fight, as it was later called, took the imagination of the country by storm. Newspapers far and wide copied the stories from the Natchez papers and soon every man wanted a knife like Bowies – a Bowie knife. American cutlers (many of them surgical instrument makers) and Sheffield, England cutlers began to make Bowie knives to fill the market demand. The Bowie Period only lasted about forty years – from the Sandbar Fight to the end of the Civil War. When pistols became reliable and plentiful the size of the knife shrank. By the 1870s and 1880s, the Bowie knife was used as a hunting knife much more than as a primary defense arm. The Bowie was made in a period of hand labor, the industrial revolution had not touched the cutlery trades. All the work on the old knives was by hand, with an artisans craft skills that were learned during a long apprenticeship to master forgers, grinders and cutlers. We carry popular bowies from manufactures Cold Steel, C.A.S. Iberia and Hanwei. All our bowies are great for hunting, survival, camping as well as collectibles.


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