The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

Jim Bowie, a tough guy with a big knife.

There are few knives on the market as iconic as the Bowie knife. Known for its long, curvaceous blade, which can extend up to 12 inches, the Bowie knife is a favorite of such cinematic knife-wielding warriors as Crocodile Dundee and Rambo.  However, it’s fair to say that no man has ever brandished a Bowie knife with the same violent precision as its founder, Colonel James “Jim” Bowie.

Who was this Bowie Guy Anyway?

He was not a man to be messed with, that’s for sure.  Born in Kentucky, Bowie spent most of his early life in Louisiana, where he worked as a craftsman and a land speculator.  He eventually moved to Texas,  operating a textile empire in between fighting in numerous disputes during the early periods of the acquisition of Texas from Mexico.  Bowie died defending the Alamo from the Mexican Army in 1836 at the age of 40.  Legend has it that he was shot by Mexican troops with his back to the wall, pistol in one hand, Bowie knife in the other.

Origin of the Bowie Knife

The Bowie knife was designed by Bowie in the early 1800’s.  The most famous version was produced by Arkansas blacksmith James Black in 1830.  Bowie wanted a knife that could function as a hunting tool and a weapon. The Bowie knife is known for its distinctive top notch, which was designed to catch an attacker’s blade.

The Sandbar Brawl

Bowie KnifeIt was the Sandbar Brawl that launched the legacy of Jim Bowie and the Bowie Knife.  Bowie was in Natchez, Mississippi, serving as a principal in a duel between Samuel Wells and Dr. Thomas Harris Maddox, both from Alexandria, Louisiana.

The duel concluded with both parties missing each other, which should have been the end, but tempers flared between those on the scene, including Bowie, and soon a brawl erupted.  We’ll pick up the action from Wikipedia, right after Bowie was shot in the hip.

Bowie, rising to his feet, drew his knife and charged at Crain, who struck him so hard with his empty pistol upon the head that it broke and sent Bowie to his knees. Wright appeared, drew a pistol, and shot at the fallen Bowie, missing. Wright then drew his sword cane and stabbed Bowie in the chest, but the thin blade was deflected by his sternum. As he attempted to pull the blade free, Bowie reached up, grabbed his shirt, and pulled him down upon the point of his Bowie knife. Wright died instantly, and Bowie, with Wright’s sword still protruding from his chest, was shot again and stabbed by another member of the group. As Bowie stood, pulling the sword cane from his chest, both Blanchard brothers fired at him, and he was struck once in the arm. Bowie spun and cut off part of Alfred’s forearm.

The Bowie Knife Today

Today hunters and survival enthusiasts all over the world carry Bowie knives, which can be used from everything from chopping small parcels of wood to scaling a fish.  Want one?  Luckily, we’ve got a huge selection of Bowie knives.  And they are all covered by a 30-day guarantee, as long as you promise not to use them in a brawl or duel.

Jonny Bear

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for this, it's great to get the history of this famous knife.

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