Cane Swords / Sword Canes / Stick Swords allow their users to conceal a self-defense sword blade within a normal looking walking stick. These weapons have become famous in Hollywood movies and now many sword collectors also collect sword canes.
A license was required to carry a cane in London during the 18th century, possibly because of the use as a weapon, in essence a fighting stick. Sword Canes and stick swords evolved out of this as a hidden weapon for carry.
A particular type of walking stick was created, called a Stick Sword. This concealed a blade within the stem, which can be made to appear from a cane so as to convert it into a (normally hidden) weapon. Today, sword sticks are called Sword Canes. Sword canes are great for those who are impaired or just want to “dress up” while still having the protection of a hidden sword.
Also known as a zatoichi or shikomizue in Japanese, stick Swords were common in Japan when the government outlawed the carry of Swords. Interestingly enough (beside the traditional Japanese Shirasaya) you will find a limited variety of sword canes available on eBay because of conflicting California (where eBay HQ is located) laws regarding them that influence their internet policies.
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The swordstick was a popular fashion accessory for the wealthy during the 18th and 19th centuries. During this period, it was becoming less socially acceptable to openly carry a sword, but there were still upper-class men routinely trained in swordsmanship who wished to go armed for self-defense. Swords concealed in ladies' walking sticks and parasols were also not unknown, as it was even less socially acceptable for a lady to carry a sword, or publicly admit that she knew how to use one.
In many jurisdictions the ownership, carrying, manufacturing or trading in sword canes is restricted by law.
Possession of a swordstick is prohibited in Belgium as it falls under concealed weapons.
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)
Handling of swordsticks (including those with short blades) is forbidden as concealed weapons.
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.
A swordstick may be illegal to carry in many jurisdictions as it is a concealed weapon, and is also 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).