The gentleman’s wardrobe in Europe went through a change around the 17th and 18th century. A powerful rigid pole became part of the wardrobe, replacing the sword. The walking stick became a replacement of the sword as a weapon.
Today the walking stick is more like a device to help people when they are walking helping them to balance themselves. There are numerous styles and sizes of walking sticks and they are even asked for by collectors.
Walking sticks also known as hiking poles or trekking poles or they are even known as pilgrim’s staffs. They are used by hikers for many reasons, for one they are used when walking to clear out spiderwebs or thick brush. They are used to support themselves going up a hill and even used going down a hill as a brake. Another use is to balance themselves while going across a stream, mud puddle and they are even used to defend off any wild animal they may encounter.
In North America canes walking sticks have a curved top just like candy canes and they are just a bit longer. They are made using strong wood or metal. Presidents of the U.S. have received them at times as a gift. Our first president George Washington received a beautiful cane from Benjamin Franklin, it features a gold handle and its form is like a Phrygia cap. If you visit the Smithsonian sometime you will be able to see it. Canes or walking sticks like these today are only seen when a person is wearing some formal attire.
Collectors are always seeking new, old or novel canes. They’re even searching for canes that are Retractable or have hidden compartments. Collectible canes with compartments that are concealed were used back in the day to hold a flask of alcohol. These typed of canes were known as Tippling Canes.
Today canes walking sticks are used to offer stabilization of anyone using it. It is frequently used in the hand opposite the weakness or injury. This permits the individual to shift as much weight as possible from the weak side. But there are times when a person has to use it on their injured side.
Here is a noteworthy story, politics as usual…
In a violent episode inside the U.S. Congress, Charles Sumner of Massachusetts called Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois a “noisome squat and nameless animal” and brutally insulted Andrew Butler of South Carolina for a congenital deformity. Whenever a relative of Andrew Butler, Preston Brooks, heard of it, he felt that Sumner’s behavior merited less than a duel and thus beat him senseless on the floor of the Senate using a wooden walking cane. Although this event is often generally known as “the caning of Senator Charles Sumner”, it was not a caning in the traditional (esp. British) sense of formal corporal punishment with a much more flexible and usually thinner rattan.
There are many kinds of canes, here listed below are just a few.
* The canes you see that are white are used for people who are blind or have a visual impairment. The white color and the style of the cane alerts others of the persons impairment. The cane is usually longer and thinner so the person using it is able to feel their way around.
Canes that are adjustable have a telescoping shaft, this allows the user to adjust the cane to the length they desire while taking a walk.
* Canes that can be folded have joints built into them, on the inside they have an elastic cord, this cord allows them to fold up the cane when not in use.
* The canes used for more stability are called Quad Canes, they have four legs and help the user to balance themselves while walking or standing.
The elderly and even the younger people with disabilities need canes walking sticks to get around. They are not use to much today as a type of fashionable item hooked to our arm. However to those who need them they provide a great service and allow the people using them to be able to do things that without the canes they could not and would be at a disadvantage.