Though made famous by Jim Bowie in an 1827 sandbar fight, the large fixed blade knife with exaggerated clip point we now know as the Bowie Knife was actually designed and developed by Jim’s older brother Rezin. An Arkansas plantation owner, Rezin Bowie came up with the design after an altercation with a mad bull inspired him to dream up the biggest and most fearsome knife possible. 150+ years later it is safe to say Rezin succeeded with the Bowie Knife having become largely synonymous with large Hunting and Survival knives.
Somewhat like machetes, true Bowie Knives occupy a middle ground between smaller knives and other blade tools like axes and swords (since machetes originate in South America and South East Asia while the Bowie Knife is a thoroughly American creation, it could be considered the American version of a machete). Originally conceived as a close combat weapon, the basic design elements of the Bowie Knife truly represents the needs of outdoorsmen on the early American frontier- a large cleaver-like blade almost as long as a short sword with substantial heft, an upper guard bending forward at an angle (an S-guard) intended to provide protection to the owner's hand, a notch on the bottom of the blade near the hilt known as a "Spanish Notch" which is used to as a tool for stripping sinew and repairing rope and nets and perhaps most notably, a very pronounced clip point at the top of the blade which brings the tip of the blade lower than the spine for better control and produces an extremely sharp, stabbing point ideal for skinning and use as a hunting knife.
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