Thomas Haney’s Cane

Around the 17th century, a stout stick took over from the sword, as an essential part of the European gentleman’s wardrobe. It was used primarily as a walking stick, to facilitate balance, but was also used for fashion purposes.

Historically, it has been known to be used a defensive or offensive weapon, concealing a knife or sword. More ornate sticks or canes are often made for avid hikers, and can be adorned with small trinkets or medallions depicting “conquered” territory. They can be individually handcrafted from a number of woods, and may be personalized in many ways for the owner.

On July 26, 1888, the paddle wheeler “Beaver” ran aground off Prospect Point, in Vancouver. Built sturdily of elm, oak, teak and fir; for four years the ship lay on the rocks, slowly being stripped for souvenirs. One of those collectors was Thomas Haney, who visited the wreck with his son Frank Haney.

Thomas salvaged a piece of what appears to be teak wood from the ship’s rails and from that piece he constructed this walking stick. Thomas gave the stick to his son Frank when he left home in memory of their trip together and a memento of home. At some point, the cane was broken and repaired with a different piece of wood and a copper band. The donor, Rita Haney, daughter of Frank, believes that her father made the repair.