Monday, October 8, 2012

Can your can do this? Gadget Canes Part I

As a lover of gadgets, particularly those that are not electronic, I am fascinated by system (or gadget) sticks (or canes).  What are they?  They are canes that have functions - canes that are more than canes.  They make up the most collectible category of canes.  The above cane features a handsome silver corkscrew, but they get much more complex as you will see.  There are flask canes, weapon canes, professional canes (like those used for horse measuring or cheese weighing!) and just plain fun canes.  It amazes me that so many varied functions were crammed into a simple cane.  Over the course of a few postings I will present you with the canes that I think are the most interesting.  If you check out some of the links below you will see many clever and unique canes.  Enjoy!   

Some great references:

Rau Antiques - they have great canes for sale, but also a reference library with articles on cane collecting.

Cane Curiosa by Katherine Dike - the most coveted book on gadget canes (out of print but available used from $100 and upward). 

An artists cane.  From Rau Antiques:

6 hole flute cane.  Very cool.  French.  1860.  There's a whole sub-genre of musical canes  - flutes, guitars, violins.   

8 ball lighter

This is a clock cane with a sterling silver top.  To wind the clock you twist the top (1890).

This one is described as a hansom cab cane.  The top lights up and can be used to hail a cab.   Antiques are retrofit with batteries, but I'm unsure how they were illuminated in the 1870s.  (1870).

Sword cane.

English (1890).  Space for storing ciggies.

Compass and sundial.  English 1820.

Pipe cane

Conductors baton.

Double sword cane. 

This is not a pencil sharpener!  It's a ear trumpet hearing cane.  French, 1870.

English. life preserver cosh stick, 1900. 

Bamboo cane that turns into a fishing pole, 1870.

A novel fan cane.

Elegant silver tipped dagger cane. 


  1. wow, I had no idea there were so many different kinds of canes. I love the one with the art supplies inside!

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