Swordstick

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Illustration showing a swordstick

A swordstick or cane-sword is a cane incorporating a concealed blade. The term is typically used to describe European weapons from around the 18th century, but similar devices have been used throughout history, notably the Roman dolon, the Japanese shikomizue and the Indian gupti.

Popularity[edit]

The swordstick was a popular fashion accessory for the wealthy during the 18th and 19th centuries. 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. Instead of a blade, these would hold the tools of one's trade, compasses, and even flasks for keeping alcohol.

Construction[edit]

Malacca wood was the most commonly used material in making the cane shafts,[citation needed] and the standard grip was rounded and metallic.[citation needed] Today, designer and collector canes have sterling silver handles, and are made with wooden shafts made from various woods, including Malacca and bamboo. Ornate designs, such as animal heads, skulls, and various emblems may also be carved into the wooden handles; these may make them harder to wield, but some find them more attractive. Sword canes are most often made with stainless steel, rapier-pointed blades. While various mechanisms exist to lock the blade in place, accidents have been known to happen regularly[citation needed] with the simple push-to-release mechanism. Twist-lock mechanisms work well, as do double-locking mechanisms.

Legality[edit]

In many jurisdictions the ownership, carrying, manufacturing or trading in sword canes is restricted by law.

Belgium[edit]

Possession of a swordstick is prohibited in Belgium as it falls under concealed weapons.

France[edit]

Having a swordstick is considered as having weapons of the 6th category. It is legal to own, however, specific care must be taken in case of transportation. (French defense code; Article L2331-1) [1]

Germany[edit]

Handling of swordsticks (including those with short blades) is forbidden as concealed weapons.[2]

United Kingdom[edit]

The Criminal Justice Act 1988 (Offensive Weapons) Order 1988, ISBN 0-11-088019-6 also made it illegal to trade in sword canes in the United Kingdom. However, antique swordsticks which are 100 years old or older are exempt.

United States[edit]

A swordstick may be illegal to carry in many jurisdictions as it is a concealed weapon, and is sometimes considered a disguised weapon. U.S. states with statutes that expressly prohibit the carrying of swordsticks include Arkansas (Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-120(b)(3)(B)) and California (Cal Pen Code § 12020(a)(1). Other states may include swordsticks under the general ban on carrying a concealed weapon or a weapon disguised so as to conceal its true nature; an example of such a case can be found in State v. McCoy, 618 N.W.2d 324 (Iowa 2000).

See also[edit]

References[edit]