Franklin relics, North America, Polar Equipment and Relics

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Snow knife

Franklin relics

Object details:

Object ID AAA2099
Description A relic of Sir John Franklin's last expedition 1845-48. Snow knife bought from the Inuit by the McClintock Search Expedition on 3 March 1859, near Cape Victoria, on the Boothia Peninsula. The item is made from materials salvaged from equipment that had belonged to the Franklin expedition. The knife has a two-edged blade, riveted to a wooden handle with copper and steel rivets and two steel reinforcing plates. The handle has a bone terminal, rawhide binding and has a rawhide suspension loop halfway down. The item is referred to by McClintock: 'seven knives made by the natives out of materials obtained from the last expedition'. He continues: 'The knives are made either of iron or steel, riveted to two strips of hoop, between which the handle of wood is inserted, and rivets passed through securing them together. The rivets are almost all made out of copper nails, such as would be found on a copper-fastened boat, but those which have been examined do not bear the Government mark. It is probable that most of the boats of 'Erebus' and 'Terror' were built by contract and therefore do not have the broad arrow stamped upon their iron and copper work'.
Date made 1848-1859

Artist/Maker Unknown
Place made Canada
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.
Materials steel; musk ox (Ovibos moschatus) horn; copper; caribou (Rangifer tarandus) sinew; wood
Measurements 505 x 35 x 25 mm
  • Snow knife (AAA2099)
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