Where Does the Term “Walking Cane” Come From?
Posted by DAN ROTEM
People have been using badass walking canes for centuries to assist with their mobility and help them travel epic journeys on foot. However, have you ever wondered, “Where does the term ‘walking cane’ come from?”
If so, this is the guide for you. Here, you’ll learn the oral history behind the term and how we have come to know walking canes into the present day.
The Earliest Uses of the Term
Although people used walking sticks for centuries before the term “walking cane” officially dates back to the 16th century. Once the object gained an association with higher status, people made it out of rattan, bamboo, and cane. This is how the walking cane received its name!
The History of the Walking Cane as a Fashion Accessory
Canes gradually evolved from practical items for traversing uneven terrain and defending against animals and thieves to symbols of authority, power, and social status. As soon as the first humans started walking upright, walking sticks were by their side. Whether they were climbing mountains, crossing uneven terrain, or wading through rivers or bodies of water, our ancestors used walking sticks for many centuries.
However, the cane didn’t become a fashion accessory until the 16th century. This trend emerged when royalty began to associate themselves with scepters. In fact, the French tradition of bestowing two scepters upon the royals dates back all the way to 987 A.D.
Nonetheless, the cane became a fashion staple for everyone else by the 17th century. It then remained an essential accessory for any fashionable man until the umbrella outshined its popularity around the beginning of the 20th century.
Walking Canes vs. Walking Sticks
Once walking sticks became walking canes, the terms became interchangeable. However, many people today associate walking sticks with hiking and outdoor traveling, while canes provide mobility assistance to seniors and those with disabilities or leg injuries.
Overall, walking canes have a colorful history that is much more detailed than you would expect. After reading this guide, you won’t be asking yourself, “Where does the term ‘walking cane’ come from?” any time soon!