| The hatchet was essentially a small-sized version of a standard European felling ax. The example shown here is typical of the trade axes brought to the New World during the 1600s and 1700s. They were called trade axes because they were produced in large quantities to be traded to the Indians of North America. The trade hatchet was commonly called a tomahawk because it resembled the stone mounted club of that name used by the Indians when they were first encountered by the Euro-Americans.
It should be noted that this hatchet does not have a "poll" (i.e. a quantity of metal on the side of the eye opposite to the blade which helped to counterweight felling axes). Without a poll, an ax was harder to handle when striking an object, such as the trunk of a tree. Therefore, poll-less axes, of which this hatchet was one, tended to be used for small-scale jobs, rather than for the felling of trees and clearing of forests. In the hands of Indians, the hatchet took on an aura of danger since it was ideal for use as a bodily weapon.