Canes & Walking Sticks

Canes & Walking Sticks

Posted by  //  March 3, 2014  //  Articles

Man has been using a stick to support himself when walking or hiking since the human race began.  Walking sticks and canes are still a stylish way to support oneself while strolling.

Not all canes and walking sticks were used just for support.  Their uses, and fashions, have varied greatly through history.  Some are known as gadget, or system, canes or sticks.  Some could be used as weapons of stealth.  They had daggers or swords hidden inside them.  Others had hidden pistols.  Some walking sticks had figural heads that looked cartoonish.  The real purpose was to have elongated noses, sharp edged ears, pointed heads, etc., so when used to defend oneself, it would inflict the most damage.

Other system canes were geared to specific professions.  One would contain a tuning fork for a musician, a shoemaker or coffin maker’s cane might contain measuring devices.  A walking stick for a doctor could be an emergency kit holding medicines, needles, and other doctor’s tools.  A surveyor’s cane contained a tripod.

Practical canes were made for all sorts of uses.  Canes with umbrellas inside are still available today.  Canes can still be found with a flashlight, a dog whistle, or a convertible seat.

Canes as fashion accessories were once popular with both men and women.  Made of precious woods and metals, and sometimes inlaid with jewels, they were a status symbol in past centuries.  More recently, how can one think of Fred Astaire in a top hat, tails, and spats without a dandy walking stick?

Fancy and unusual canes and walking sticks are still used today, though their popularity as a fashion accessory has faded.  Many people who use canes today out of necessity still enjoy adding a dash of style with an unusual “stick.”

By Karen Hewitt

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