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Today, the butcher knife is used throughout the world in the meat processing trade. The heftier blade works well for splitting, stripping and cutting meat. The French chef's knife is a derivation of the butcher knife, and is used as a general utility knife. Other similar meat-cutting knives include the carving knife and the cleaver. The carving knife is usually designed for slicing thin cuts of meat and often has a blunt or rounded point, with a scalloped or Granton blade to improve separation of sliced cuts of meat. The cleaver is similar to the butcher's knife, but has a lighter and thinner blade for precision cutting.
From the late 18th century to the mid-1840s, the butcher knife was a key tool for mountain men. Simple, useful and cheap to produce, they were used for everything from skinning beaver, cutting food, self-defense, and scalping. During this time, John Wilson, of Sheffield, England, was a major exporter of this type of knife to the Americans. These knives can be identified by brand markings and the stamp I. Wilson. Heavy cleavers were traditionally hung up on a hook for ease of access. A hook through the blade keeps the blade under control and leaves easy access to the handle when hung at chest height or a little bit higher.