Today, antique canes serve as a direct reflection of earlier societies, each piece just as stunning as the last. Beginning as a tool for both travelers and shepherds, these accessories would soon take the world by storm. Canes and walking sticks didn’t just gain popularity for the sole purpose of providing extra stability, they also served as a decorative piece for both noblemen and elitists alike. In most societies, a walking stick or cane was a visual status symbol. The more ornate and decorated the cane was, the higher the class of the individual.
Although the popularity of canes may have shifted from being a fashion accessory to a thing of necessity, they’re still widely used throughout our society today. At M.S. Rau Antiques, we’ve preserved some of the most stunning antique canes and walking sticks you can find. In this article, we will be reviewing some of the most spectacular antique canes in our entire collection: system canes.
Looking for a unique piece to add to your antique collection? Shop our antique canes and walking sticks now!
The Hidden Secrets of the System Cane
In the mid 19th century, the walking stick was already a revered and highly utilized object. However, it experienced re-invention: craftsman now started to craft canes that adhered to a specific function. Dubbed “systems canes,” this new type of cane would contain all the necessary tools for a certain activity, to serve a specific purpose. While some canes could turn into a weapon in a moment's notice, others simply held built-in gadgets or precious metal detailing.
Now, as one of the most collectible items in the antiques realm, it's important to remember that systems canes truly embody a long history that widely dates back to the 17th century.
History of the Systems Cane
The widely spread industrial revolution in the 19th century ushered in new technical progress and invention. Communities were now run and centered around machine manufacturing, use of new basic materials (such as steel and iron), improved transportation, among many other aspects. Largely due to these effects and technical processes of the industrial revolution, artisans were now able to craft objects, specifically canes, that contained new features and devices known as systems canes.
Prior to this invention and high popularization of systems canes, walking sticks only appealed to the noblest of classes. Canes no longer appealed to the most aristocratic, wealthy classes, and all others were now able to enjoy the breadth of walking sticks. With walking sticks and canes, the wearer could express their individual personality and style through the design that they chose. While some may have chosen a simple carved knob, individuals with more wealth could get creative with their canes and opt for more intricate designs like a lion's head, or select a precious gemstone grip. That's the true beauty of antique canes with hidden features, they could be designed however one pleased, only limited by the wearer's imagination.
Shop our decorative canes today to take home a one-of-a-kind piece for your antique collection!
Both decorative and functional, systems canes speak to the incredible array of professions that these fascinating sticks appealed to. Read more to dive into our five favorite systems canes that each conceal incredibly unique characteristics inside.
Our Top Canes with Hidden Features
Hidden within the wooden shaft of this walking stick is a small latch. Upon pushing down on the latch, the hinge opens and a fully functional lighter reveals itself. This sturdy cane is just as much practical as it is beautiful. With its simple craftsmanship and it’s fun design, the cigar lighter cane serves as an excellent piece for any collector.
Upon unscrewing the handle, a Salter spring reveals itself. Any jeweler would have utilized this cane to gold, silver, and other precious metals and stones.
The handle of this ebony cane is an Otis King calculator. The device allows the user to multiply and divide, but unlike a typical slide rule, the calculations are placed along a helix (corkscrew) axis, allowing for more calculations to fit on the calculator.
From the outside, this cane is a beautifully hand-crafted piece of work, but from the inside it offers so much more. The barrel shaped handle unscrews to reveal a device used to measure the contents of a wine barrel. Both wine lovers and antique enthusiasts can appreciate the beauty of this timeless cane.
This cane can serve as a great gift for anyone who loves to get out on the water and fish. Aside from its timeless and simple design, it hides a few useful gadgets that become a practical accessory. The handle of this smart cane, when pulled, reveals a three-pronged spear to spear pike and trout.
Our beautiful canes with hidden features are stunning, timeless, and unique, serving as the perfect accessory for any gentleman. Experience the finer things in life by purchasing one of our sturdy walking sticks or decorative canes from M.S. Rau Antiques today.