Replicas of 18th-century French trade goods displayed on a French "veste" or sleeved waistcoat. Clockwise starting with the assortment of trade beads and crucifixes in the upper left, are knives, French "strike-a-lites" or fire-strikers, brass trade bells, copper trade bracelets, “tow worms," lead musket balls, trade awls, and a forged turnscrew.
Details. The knives include, from top to bottom: a Spanish "belduque," a typical French style trade knife, a lambsfoot knife typically associated with the Dutch, and a cheap trade knife of the French design. The "tow worms" (spirals) were used to screw on the end of a wooden rammer and wrapped with unspun flax or "tow" to clean fouling form dirty musket barrels. Natives utilized tow worms as personal decorative ornaments. Lead musket balls and gunpowder were used by French as specie (currency) on the frontier. Trade awls were used to perforate leather for sewing, as well as sewing birchbark canoes in the north. Forged turnscrews were used as fire strikers and as tools to work on muskets.
Photograph and identifications courtesy Robert Norment, a dedicated historical interpreter of 18th-century life in French Louisiana who is sometimes known as Rene Robert Moncoeur, Chevalier du Norment.