Although you might think that walking canes are only for helping with mobility, there are many unique cane designs that give them a regal quality. Canes are very classy fashion accessories, but their popularity peaked a few centuries ago.
If you are asking yourself, “When did walking canes become a status symbol?” don’t worry. In this guide, you will learn all about the history of the walking cane as a status symbol.
Walking Canes and Ancient Royalty
People have been using walking sticks to help them walk since human beings first started walking upright. In ancient times, Egyptian pharaohs would use a staff as a symbol of their higher status. Walking sticks were also popular status symbols in ancient Greece and Rome.
In fact, people in these civilizations used canes to denote someone’s rank in the military, politics, or the clergy. Canes were also popular gifts for the gods of ancient Greek and Roman mythology.
The Golden Age of Walking Canes
Canes reached their peak popularity in Victorian England, where you had to have a license to sport certain types of canes. The English elite saw canes as a means of showcasing their wealth, power, and place in society. This popularity also transcended into the newly formed United States of America.
During this time, innovation in cane-making also reached an all-time high. People designed canes for many different purposes, from novelty to defense.
Cane designs became increasingly elaborate and complex during this time, and some canes even hid blades inside of them, such as a sword! Many people posed with their canes for portraits, such as Queen Victoria, Napoleon, and George Washington.
Walking Canes During The 20th Century
The rise of the Industrial Revolution led manufacturers to produce canes at a mass scale. By the start of the 20th century, everyone in the world seemed to want a walking cane of their own.
However, what goes up must come down, so by the middle of the 20th century, walking canes saw a stark decline in their popularity as a fashion accessory. Nonetheless, many famous figures from the early 20th century can be seen with a cane, such as Charlie Chaplin, Sigmund Freud, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Overall, canes have a long and storied history as status symbols for the societal elite. After reading this guide, you won’t be asking yourself, “When did walking canes become a status symbol?” ever again.