Trade Axe

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This “trade axe” was used in trade between the British merchants and Native American trappers during the mid-19th century. The axe has a single piece of curled iron on a wooden handle. Beaver fur trading was central to the North American economy from the 16th until to the mid-19th century. British traders exchanged one beaver pelt for one axe head. The pelt was sold in England for 16 shillings, while the trade axe cost a mere 2 shillings to buy, leading to a massive profit for the traders, and the associated Hudson’s Bay Company, who monopolized the beaver fur trade in North America.
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Work and Industry: Hand Tools
American Enterprise
American Enterprise
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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