Monday, December 7, 2009

one deadly walking stick

Leigh alerted me to an interesting 18th and 19th century device we had previously thought was an invention of the horrible 2002 movie "Sherlock:" the cane sword, or sword stick.  It's a sword that is hidden in a stick:

image source: The Steampunk Forum at Brass Goggles

According to the Wikipedia article on the cane sword that she found:

While the weapon's origins are unknown, it is apparent that the cane-sword's popularity peaked when decorative swords were steadily being replaced by canes as a result of the rising popularity of firearms, and the lessening influence of swords and other small arms. Soon after their introduction, other "gadget canes" became popular, holding the tools of one's trade rather than a blade, compasses, and even flasks for keeping alcohol.
Nowadays cane swords are generally made as novelty items and collected rather than used as actual weapons.  Despite this, cane swords are illegal in some areas in the U.S., and all of the UK, because they are considered to be a concealed weapon. 

There are several different makers of modern sword canes, such as Swords Direct, Fashionable Canes and Walking Sticks, and Burger Knives.  And a poor-quality video review of one sword cane here.

3 comments:

  1. Very interesting. I would love to see one of these cane-swords. I wonder if there are any in the Pittsurgh area. Now you've got me interested because my husband loves canes and swords. If you find out any information, let me know and I will do the same for you.

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  2. Hi Lauren,
    Have a look at my swordstick blog on Blogspot.
    These items were once common in the UK, even used for official purposes!

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  3. I bought my other half a cane, and very quickly realised the handle design was not that of an ordinary cane and would make a very good hilt for a sword cane... It was heavy and the right length. I'd bought it cheaply in a curio shop, and was wondering if anyone had actually thought to take it apart and check, because sword canes, as you mentioned, are illegal in the UK. I then unscrewed the top of the handle, which was easy but of no use, and then had to try and disengage the handle/hilt from the wood because I thought someone might have gone "I know! I'll just fill it full of glue, then I keep my pretty cane and it won't be illegal any more", but it turns out they'd gone one further, done a butchered attempt at removing the blade and attached a new shaft. You could see where the blade once was in the handle. I'd almost it had rather gone to a country where it was legal so it could have been preserved as an interesting weapon antique. It does now make a rather fancy cane and Raven looks very dashing carrying it.

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