September 20, 2012
The bowie knife (shown here on an unidentified Union soldier) was made popular in the 1830s and has evolved into a specific form in current use. Originally, the bowie knife was worn for defensive purposes; its primary function was for personal combat. It was designed to be part of a gentlemans attire, and the key difference between the bowie knife and a hunting knife, a dagger, or a dirk was, initially, the quality of finish of the bowie. Bowie knives came in a variety of formswith or without guards, with differently shaped bladesand often were adorned with silver and other decoration, sometimes including etching and/or engraving on their metal surfaces.