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Clip Point Blade History

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the clip point blade shape and was wondering where it originated from. Before we get into that, though, let’s talk a little bit about what makes a clip point a clip point.  In one post I did in the past, we talked about how a Bowie and a clip point are different. “Bowie” refers to the overall style of the knife while “clip point” refers to the actual shape of the blade. This is what a clip point blade looks like:


What is a Clip Point Blade?

In a clip point blade, the spine near the handle of the knife is straight, but as it nears the tip, the blade slopes downward in either a concaved or straight fashion. Clip point blades are great for slicing, piercing, and stabbing, but they don’t have the strongest tips. Realistically no knife should be used for prying, but this is especially true for clip point blades since their tips are particularly fragile.

Clip point blades on Bowie knives are useful for skinning, combat, and self-defense. The Bowie knife has been around for more than 150 years, but the clip point has been around significantly longer than that. Let’s take a look at the history of the clip point blade.

History of the Clip Point Blade

It’s kind of hard to trace back to the exact date that the first clip point blade was created. I mean, you can’t exactly go back in time and find out who the first person was to invent the clip point blade. I can’t tell you the exact date that the clip point blade was invented, but I can tell you when clip point blades date back to, as far as modern research can tell.

From what I’ve found, it looks like the clip point blade seems to date back to the Macedonian times. The ancient kingdom of Macedonia resided in northern Greece, and the era ranged from about 808 BC to 168 BC. Even though it’s not exact, knowing that the first clip point blade dates back to the Macedonian times tells you that at its youngest, the clip point is at least 2,000 years old. Pretty crazy, right? The clip point blades that have been found in that region been “knapped flint clip point knives.”

Truthfully, I wasn’t quite sure what that meant, so I looked up “flint knapping.” It turns out that in this case, it’s basically the shaping of flint into stone fools. This is accomplished through a process called “lithic reduction.”

Finding out the history of clip point knives was pretty enlightening for me. I don’t think it even occurred to me that the clip point could be more than a couple of hundred years old. Obviously, the clip point has been a useful blade shape for much longer than that, and it’s a staple in the iconic American Bowie.

What’s your favorite thing about the clip point blade shape? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below!