Cane Swords, also known as swordsticks, are a type of concealable weapon. Designed to resemble a common walking stick, they secretly contain a blade inside. Often, the blade released by pressing a button near the handle, which detached the sheath and freed the handle and blade. Cane swords were typically intended to be self-defense weapons.
Cane swords are a relatively modern invention. In earlier centuries, it was more common to openly carry swords or daggers on one’s person. In Europe, this practice began to fall out of favor around the 17th Century, which in turn led to the development of cane swords as a way to maintain more discreet options for self-defense. Canes were likely chosen for this role due to already being a common item carried by upper-class individuals; additionally, it had already become common by the 17th Century for fencers to develop and teach modified fencing techniques intended for canes. When affluent society became established in North America, cane swords also became a common accessory for wealthy urbanites.
In the modern day, cane swords have lost some of their popularity, in part due to several countries classifying them as concealed weapons and consequently prohibiting or restricting their use. Today, they occasionally make the news when an unsuspecting owner tries to take their walking aid through airport security, and in the process discovers that their (now confiscated) cane contains a secret.