Believed to have borrowed the name of the French city of Bayonne, the bayonet rose to prominence as a vital military weapon during the last half of the 17th c. Arriving in Virginia in the 1670s, the first of the type are referred to as “plug” bayonets, being little more than daggers with tapered handles which were “plugged” into the muzzles of the muskets. Earlier iron-mounted examples were quickly replaced by cast-brass hilted bayonets by the late 1680s, and all were obsolete shortly thereafter.
The French folding knife, a.k.a., “clasp knife” imported into the North American Fur Trade was one of the earliest known type of knife to be introduced to the New World – dating back to the 1600’s, possibly earlier. These blades have been recovered from French influenced sites throughout the territory of New France, which extended from Louisiana to Canada.
This was an old knife found in the yard. Fortunately it still had a little bit of the bone handle with the cross cut design on it. Those get really crumbly and want to fall off. Moreover, it’s difficult to restore/preserve the iron portion of the knife without destroying the bone. I did my best though, and glued the bone to the tang, and also put a sealant on it to stop any further crumbling.
There are plenty of books out there on swords, powder horns, and other objects. But surprisingly, there’s not a whole lot out there on antique American knives. In his 1984 book, Madison Grant wrote one of the definitive books on antique knives, with pictures of many examples, albeit in black and white, and with a …