History Of Walking Sticks

Walking Sticks History

To this day there are many things we don’t know about the walking sticks history. Some of the questions we ask, are still a mistery. On this section we’ll go through some interesting information, history and funny facts about the walking sticks and canes, to try to answer all these questions.

When Were Walking Sticks Invented?

To this day we still don’t know exactly when were walking sticks invented. But we know that walking sticks were mentioned several times in The Bible, from shepherd’s walking sticks to Moses’s walking staff.

We even have records of gorillas using tree branches as walking canes, to check the depth of a pond, and other natural “tools”.

The precise time when men first picked up and used what we generally call the walking stick or cane is not known.

Moses and the Red Sea – Biblical illustrations by Jim Padgett, courtesy of Sweet

Where Were Walking Sticks Invented?

by Bibliothèque de Toulouse

As far as we know, there is not answer to this question. The origins of the walking stick only started to appear in the mid-fifteenth century.

It was during the reign of Henry VIII that the first recorded use of the term cane was made, used to describe any stick made with imported, more exotic wood. This meaning is still used today, though it can also mean any walking stick that does not have a bent knob, or tapered point.

According to records, the first types of walking canes appeared around 1650, and the most common were the malacca ivory-handed sticks, from Malaysia, Malacca Strait.

History Of Blind Walking Stick

Whlist most people call it blind walking stick, white cane is the original name of walking stick for the blind.

The name of “white cane” comes from James Biggs in 1921. A man from Bristol, UK, who painted his walking stick white, after he got blind. Around 1930, white canes became popular in Europe and also North America after World Word I.

While a stick of some kind has been frequently associated with blindness throughout history, literature, and art, the white long cane, as well as its longer usage as a standalone mobility aid, is a twentieth-century invention, coming into wider use in World War II, for the army veterans rehabilitation. More and more blind people began accepting the white cane, as its use was encouraged as a tool for independence, and social attitudes toward blind people began to improve.

There are different types of walking sticks for the blind. More information in our guides, to learn how to use them.

by Eric Li

Evolution Of Walking Sticks

During the late 17th century through the early 20th century, a high quality wooden cane was a indispensable fashionable accessory for men and women, used to demonstrate an air of gentleness and social decency. The displays of authority, status or power canes and walking sticks had in earlier times, makes it clear why became crucial accessories for the rich and powerful people in so many cultures.

As centuries passed, men changed handles, added stones, jewels, gold, and many more materials to the sticks, which later will became weapons, in addition to being aids in walking.

In an absolute turn, walking canes and sticks again became mobility aids in the 19th century. Canes became less artful and representative of the prevailing fashion, with the contemporary wooden stick with the knobbed handles becoming the standard walking stick.

Walking Sticks Today

The look of walking sticks became more standardized and rudimentary, and were no longer seen as signifiers of social status.

There was a time where no gentleman was seen walking without a walking stick, and a large selection of interesting vintage sticks and walking sticks are still available for collectors and historical enthusiasts to pick up.

Today, a walking stick is used more as a valued mobility aid than a fashion accesory. But it still has the potential to add a touch of flair or style when is well chosen.

The world offers so many unique styles and kinds, mixing different materials, handles and accessories for the needs of the users.

by Max Bender

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