Author Topic: Trade Knife Distribution Mid 18th century  (Read 1675 times)

Offline DHouse

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Trade Knife Distribution Mid 18th century
« on: September 06, 2023, 06:34:21 PM »
I am trying to educate myself to make a purchase and have a ton of questions! How far south, how far east, and how early have trade knives been found or were known to have been in use by natives? By early I mean mid 18th century and a little later, 1750s-1790s. What kinds of knives were the Shawnee carrying when they kidnapped Jemimah Boone, for example? From what I understand the big crown antler handled frontier long knives were pretty rare and youíd be much more likely to see heavy usage of trade knives on the early frontier. Is this true? Thanks for any help pointing me in the right direction! -Dillon

I will also want to ask who makes an accurate reproduction so thatís why I put this in the Contemporary Accoutrements section but I suppose this might belong in the Antique or Over Back Fence as well. Mr. Tim please let me know Iíll gladly move this topic to appropriate area. Thanks
« Last Edit: September 06, 2023, 06:42:26 PM by DHouse »

Offline rich pierce

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Re: Trade Knife Distribution Mid 18th century
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2023, 06:46:51 PM »
English trade knives were ubiquitous then and there. Often called scalping knives. Hereís mine by Wick Ellerbe. I use it every day. The blade is 7 and 1/8Ē long.



Andover, Vermont

Offline Tim Crosby

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Re: Trade Knife Distribution Mid 18th century
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2023, 06:49:10 PM »
 No problem it's good here, hope you get the info your looking for.

   Tim

Offline DHouse

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Re: Trade Knife Distribution Mid 18th century
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2023, 07:36:30 PM »
Great accurate looking knife Rich, thanks for pictures. It looks well loved! Adding Wick Ellerbe to my list but it looks like heís not taking orders at this time.

Offline MeliusCreekTrapper

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Re: Trade Knife Distribution Mid 18th century
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2023, 07:42:37 PM »
Ken Hamilton makes some really nice English and French trade knives, of various styles.

Offline jrb

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Re: Trade Knife Distribution Mid 18th century
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2023, 09:28:09 PM »
Kyle Willyard at Old Dominion Forge makes the simple eglish and French one piece blade trade knives.

Here are original English





Offline jrb

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Re: Trade Knife Distribution Mid 18th century
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2023, 09:50:46 PM »
Table knives are very common at Native sites here in Ohio in the time period you're interested in. These 2 are from Wyandot Half King's town where the Battle of Sandusky, June 1782, happened. These same village Natives were at the Blue Licks Kentucky battle.


Offline DHouse

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Re: Trade Knife Distribution Mid 18th century
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2023, 10:23:56 PM »
jrb, I have not seen those and I am very intrigued to learn that table knives were so common, thank you for these pictures and sharing your knowledge. It makes sense that they'd repurpose table knives, and it's something I've always speculated might've been done, but having archeological evidence is exciting to see and think about. Do you know what these knives measure by chance?

Offline jrb

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Re: Trade Knife Distribution Mid 18th century
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2023, 10:36:03 PM »
The top one not including the handle tang, is 6 and 5/8".

Offline okieboy

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Re: Trade Knife Distribution Mid 18th century
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2023, 12:14:26 AM »
 What seems interesting about the two Ohio found knives, is that they are very different styles of knives, but the handles appear made of the same material and with similar decoration.
Okieboy

Offline jrb

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Re: Trade Knife Distribution Mid 18th century
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2023, 12:37:22 AM »
Those are the knives original handles , probably made in Sheffield? England. In the late 1700s-early 1800s that type decoration was pretty common on English table knives.

Offline jrb

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Re: Trade Knife Distribution Mid 18th century
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2023, 01:19:56 AM »
Folding knives were popular too, on Indian sites. This one was found in Michigan.



Offline DHouse

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Re: Trade Knife Distribution Mid 18th century
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2023, 01:46:32 AM »
Thatís cool, I didnít know natives were fans of the folders. Seems like folding knives were wildly popular on the frontier. I like the one you linked jrb, thank you for posting!
« Last Edit: September 07, 2023, 02:16:19 AM by DHouse »

Offline jrb

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Re: Trade Knife Distribution Mid 18th century
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2023, 02:16:44 AM »
There's a great article on quilled sheaths at researchgate.net. Not sure if i'm allowed to post a link to a pdf though. You can get to it though by a Bing search, "Quilled Knife Cases from Northeastern North America."
John

Offline Tim Crosby

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Re: Trade Knife Distribution Mid 18th century
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2023, 03:55:22 PM »
There's a great article on quilled sheaths at researchgate.net. Not sure if i'm allowed to post a link to a pdf though. You can get to it though by a Bing search, "Quilled Knife Cases from Northeastern North America."
John

 No problem with posting the link.

   Tim C.

Offline Frozen Run

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Re: Trade Knife Distribution Mid 18th century
« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2023, 06:21:24 PM »

Offline DHouse

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Re: Trade Knife Distribution Mid 18th century
« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2023, 11:27:02 PM »
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263657448_Quilled_Knife_Cases_from_Northeastern_North_America

Great article John, thank you for the tip, and thanks to Tim for letting us post for others.

You have to wonder about the practicality of these neck knives. I made a quilled sheath with a 10" OAL knife and I do wear it hunting and on special occasions. It is a little impractical due to it's length but when you need a knife, it sure is nice to have a big'un.

Would y'all be more apt to buy a neck sheath thatís historically accurate and maybe somewhat impractical? Or something smaller & more practical, just not that historically accurate? I don't think I've ever seen an original neck knife sheath that didn't carry a 6"+ long blade.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2023, 11:46:25 PM by DHouse »

Offline rich pierce

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Re: Trade Knife Distribution Mid 18th century
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2023, 12:05:38 AM »
For a Native impression, it seems a standard length butcher/scalping knife would be appropriate. I donít know much about short fixed blade knives of the period - of paring knife size, which I see a lot of in neck sheaths today.
Andover, Vermont

Offline teakmtn

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Re: Trade Knife Distribution Mid 18th century
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2023, 12:42:01 AM »
If you have some time to spend and want to read the most comprehensive treatise on the English Trade knife, go to Frontierfolk.net. Forums. Then "18th Century Native American Reenacting", then "What is a "Typical" English Scalper Knife". Lengthy discussion, moderated by and tons of research by Ken Hamilton. Pictures and arrows, etc. Everything you'd ever want to know about Trade Knives.
Doug T.

Offline jrb

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Re: Trade Knife Distribution Mid 18th century
« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2023, 01:27:59 AM »
Do the Frontierfolk forums still exist? i used to go there all the time but haven't been able to get on for a long time now? I used to have the good pages of that thread screen captured but that was a couple computers ago and those computers are recycled. I used to really enjoy Galban and Oles posts.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2023, 02:22:15 AM by jrb »

Offline jrb

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Re: Trade Knife Distribution Mid 18th century
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2023, 04:44:30 PM »
Here's a smaller rat tailed blade found in 2019, Springfield Ohio, Peckuwe battle area, by Ball State University.


best image hosting
 
A similar one found by Greg Shipley (his photo) at the Wyandot half Kings town North of Upper Sandusky Ohio



Offline DHouse

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Re: Trade Knife Distribution Mid 18th century
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2023, 06:08:06 PM »
Wow these pictures are fascinating. Were the rest of the things in the photo found on the Wyandot Half Kings Town site? I wonder if the rat tailed ones were repurposed table knives or what kind of knives they were.

Offline bluenoser

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« Last Edit: September 09, 2023, 02:33:33 PM by Tim Crosby »

Offline jrb

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Re: Trade Knife Distribution Mid 18th century
« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2023, 07:34:23 PM »
Dillon, you can see them on Mr. Shipley's facebook page.

There were 3 articles in a quarterly magazine (now out of business) a few years ago "Journal of Early Americas" by Kevin Gladysz Galenas and Ken Hamilton, titled "French Knives in North America". Part 1 flatin clasp knives, Part 2, samois knives, Part 3 Boucheron knives. The pdf downloads can be found here and there on the internet but i'm not going to post the links because i don't think they have the authors permission,  but they're awesome and worth searching the net . The same 2 wrote a 3 part series on French axes. Gelinas is Canadian, speaks French, and translated lots of old writings  and is an incredible researcher on what was the New France area of America, he used to have a website full of fascinating stuff. A few years ago he wrote the ultimate book on French fusils, i saw it several times at a muzzleloader supply i go to, but was too stupid to grab one. Now it's out of print and he said unlikely to be available again.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2023, 07:58:12 PM by jrb »

Offline DHouse

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Re: Trade Knife Distribution Mid 18th century
« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2023, 10:59:01 PM »
That Scavengeology article is a great compilation of trade knife research, thank you bluenoser for linking I read the whole thing. Thanks John I will check out those articles as well, these guys are so knowledgeable! It's a shame the fusil book went out of print.

I think it's time to start shopping! Does anyone know of a way to get in touch with Ken Hamilton or if he still makes trade knives?