W & S Butcher
Date Made/Found: Mid 1800s
Material and Medium: Steel, nickel, bone
Dimensions: Overall: 65 x 317mm (2 9/16 x 12 1/2in.)
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: 1981.810
This Bowie knife is made of bone scales with an etched steel blade depicting a decorative scroll design, the American eagle and motto, a buffalo hunt and the words:
“CELEBRATED AMERICAN BOWIE KNIFE THE UNITED STATES
THE LAND OF THE FREE AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE
PROTECTED BY HER NOBLE AND BRAVE VOLUNTEERS”.
It was made in Sheffield in the mid 19th century for the American market by W & S Butcher. This style of knife is named after James Bowie, who famously fought and won a duel with his hunting knife in frontier Mississippi in 1827. Sheffield cutlers were quick to respond to the demand which followed in the wake of the legend and soon dominated the trade in this style of knife.