Classic Early America Roach Bellys & Scalpers

Authentic Reproductions of 18th & 19th Century American Frontier Knives

There was no special scalping knife used to remove the scalp and skin from one's enemy; colonists and Native Americans used their regular knife for that purpose. Thus, the name scalping knife did not come from removing the scalp of one's enemy. The term was first applied by the early fur traders to designate a certain type of knife for trade to Native Americans. They were basically "any cheap butcher knife." Yet, there seems to be a particular style for these trade knives that developed.

Alexander Mackenzie (1764 - 1820), noted explorer and the first to cross continental America to the Pacific, twelve years before Lewis and Clark noted that: "These scalpers are of the simplest pattern possible-a generally straight or very slightly curved blade 6 or 7 inches long, fairly straight and unsharpened on the top, ending in a point from which the sharpened bottom edge begins and runs along the bottom back to the grip, making a curved edge suitable for skinning and slicing. The grip is a single piece of wood split with a saw for two-thirds of its length. The short tang of the knife blade was shoved into this split and fastened by two or three rivets inserted into holes drilled from side to side. With a minimum of machine polishing, the knife was completed and ready for sale."