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History of Cane 14

Importing Cane to America

Disembarking from the Mayflower in 1620, some settlers carry a cane , as simple as their clothing. A great part of these European migrants, will introduce the cane in the New World together with the way they dress.

Soon all presidents and gentlemen, will follow and adopt it. An American style is born, and the industrial production of the cane will start in the middle of the 19th century. The cane takes on, a very special significance and acquires, a symbolic value, whether as a gift, in recognition of a special event, in a man’s career or public life, as the mark of a political event, or to commemorate a hero

This custom becomes usual in daily life : canes are offered as a demonstration of friendship, as a rewards to a deserving employee in a Company, or a birthday present.

These “presentation canes” are unique. These mementos, were symbolically handed down, to next of kin or to institutions. Benjamin Franklin bequeathed a cane in 1788 to Georges Washington with these words : I give my friend and friend of humanity, my beautiful cane, made up of apple tree with its golden knob shaped as a headdress, symbol of freedom. Had it been a sceptre, he would have deserved it .

Post-war period gives back some fantasy, and it is the famous Charlie Chaplin who arrives on stage.

Among Indians of America.

In the seventeenth century, Philip the third, gave each chief of western Indian tribes, a cane with a silver knob, called a “vara” which symbolised the power and authority of the King of Spain.

President Lincoln did the same in 1863, to thank the 19 tribes which had remained neutral during the Civil War.

Indian chiefs usually carry a stick, decorated with caribou bones or pearls .Such a stick which belonged to Geronimo can be seen at the NY museum.

After the death of a chief, his eulogy is pronounced by his successor holding the stick of the deceased.