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Copy of Spear point Bowie original by Memphis Novelty Works


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Copy I made of an original 19th century Bowie by the Memphis Novelty Works. Hand forged and ground blade Fifteen inch long with both hollow and convex grinds, aged to match the original. Hand cast bronze sturrip-hilt and mahogany grip. Tinsmithed scabbard with leather lining and pinstriped japaning.
www.irontreeforge.com

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Genuine question not meant to 'start' something. But why is this a Bowie? i know there are broadly varying styles of Bowie, and it changed over time, but this seems more like some sort of sabre hilted dagger? no clip point, pretty much symmetrical etc.

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This fits into three different subcategories of "Bowie" unique to the American Civil War period.  It's a spearpoint Bowie, which while not necessarily double-edged often were.  It's a D-guard Bowie, which while usually iron-hilted do appear in cast brass on rare occasion, and it's a Confederate Bowie, being made at the Memphis Novelty Works (great name for a company that made knives, swords, and pistols, eh?) in Memphis, Tennessee.  

 

Not your typical "Bowie" knife, but still a representative of what can be called one.  Here's a tablefull of American Civil War Confederate Bowie knives of all types:

 

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One could argue they're actually short swords, but it's accepted that they are a legitimate class of the Bowie family.

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James Simonds prefect question!

Modern typologies of what makes such and such this instead of that - are inherently a modern invention. At the time, in the 1850s, any large side knife was called a Bowie in relation to the famed knife fighter of the Alamo. Later companies marketed a certain style of knife as a "Bowie" for its marketing value - and it is style with its clip point and other features that we classify as a "bowie knife" today. But we have never known exactly what type of knife (or multiple knives) James Bowie actually cared throughout his life....

So in historical reproduction work, I choose to use the terms that were used in the period of the original piece, rather then modern names for the same thing. Today this knife would most likely be called an Arkansas Toothpick, but that term has connotations that don't historically fit this piece either... Personally I would rather have this conversation and hopefully teach people history, rather then use modern typologies that dont quite fit

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excellent work! nice influences, too

 

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