The 19th century canes. New audio story

Our regular column "Audio Stories" features a new story, narrating the history of cane, some interesting facts about its emergence and evolution.

A cane has a long history – it starts more than a thousand years ago and goes far back in time. At that time, the main purpose of the "staff" was to help a person walk. The ancestor of cane was an ordinary knotted stick, used in ancient times by almost every traveller. Over time, the stick was shortened and ornamented, until by the 17th century has not become familiar to all of us cane – an integral attribute of any secular person of that time. Later, to the main function of the cane another one was added – it became part of the image of the owner. Refined and beautiful cane evidenced of reliability and staidness of an important person.

In the modern sense for us, canes appeared relatively recently – only in the middle of the 17th century.

Today's audio story introduces us to the history of cane, we will learn how from an ordinary household item cane became a fashion accessory obligatory for a gentleman, how and when exclusive canes appeared and the ability to handle them in accordance with the rules of etiquette of the time. And also about the fact that many canes had interesting technical solutions – in addition to their direct function, they could be used as hiding places or storages. In addition, the cane could be used for self-defence or as a combat weapon. There were canes with built-in binoculars and lorgnettes for convenience when visiting theatres, some canes could unfold into a compact chair.

A cane was a favourite gift among nobles and royalty. There were also award canes, and some canes of noblemen cost a fortune, often with a jeweller working on it after the cabinetmaker.

Over time, canes became mainly the dreamboat for collectors and antiquarians.

Any cane consists of a knob (handgrip), a tip and a shaft (stick). A knob or a handle is the most variable and fashionable element. The material used for it was very diverse. It could be glass, crystal or porcelain. There are also handgrips decorated with gold, precious stones or made of ivory and silver.

The museum Collection repository features a variety of canes, by the example of which one can get acquainted with the main types of handgrips:
rounded (538/ДПИ),
T-shaped (494.1-2/ДПИ, 3818.1-2/ДПИ, 489/ДПИ),
L-shaped (8770/ДПИ, 285.1-2/ДПИ),
figured and hook-shaped, in the form of an animal or bird's head (20/ДПИ).