Arkansas toothpick

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A replica Arkansas Toothpick on display board

The Arkansas toothpick is a heavy dagger with a 12–20-inch (30–51 cm) pointed, straight blade.[1] The knife is balanced and weighted for throwing[citation needed] and can be used for thrusting and slashing. James Black, the inventor of the Bowie knife, is credited with inventing the Arkansas toothpick.[1]

Some sources use Arkansas toothpick as a synonym for the Bowie knife, as opposed to the image of a large dagger.[2]

Legal status[edit]

Although many jurisdictions worldwide have knife legislation regulating the length of a blade or the dagger-like profile of the Arkansas toothpick that can be owned or carried, certain locales in the United States have legislation mentioning the "Arkansas Toothpick" in particular. These laws were passed in the late 1830s, in Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia, as an attempt to prevent dueling.[3]


  1. ^ a b Hunt, Robert E. (2004). Randall Military Models: Fighters, Bowies And Full Tang Knives. Paducah, KY: Turner Publishing Company. p. 304. ISBN 978-1-56311-953-8. 
  2. ^ Flayderman, Norm (2004). The Bowie knife: unsheathing an American legend. Indiana University. p. 266. ISBN 978-1-931464-12-3. 
  3. ^ Cramer, Clayton (1999). Concealed Weapon Laws of the Early Republic: Dueling, Southern Violence, and Moral Reform. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 110, 192. ISBN 978-0-275-96615-7.