Made popular in the 1880’s by George Washington Sears. Sears was a writer for Field & Stream magazine and wrote under the pen name “Nessmuk”. The most defining characteristic, the hump in the blade, was there for multiple reasons. It creates a more robust tip, could be used as a rudimentary spoon and some people have used it as a handhold to use their Nessmuk like an improvised draw-knife.
The primary purpose of the design was skinning. The hump helped to lift the tip of the knife after getting under the skin, which helped to prevent piercing organs. It can also be used to scrape fatty tissue from hides in preparation for tanning.
Today the design is used as an all around outdoors blade. Perfect for processing small wood for tinder and kindling, skinning, food prep or general outdoors use.