A Rare Combination System / Gadget Walking Stick Cane & Camera Tripod


Origin: English
Period: Late Nineteenth Century/ Early Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1900
Length: 36 inches as cane / 31.5 inches as tripod
- or 56.5 inches fully extended with telescopic legs
Thumbscrew Mount Diameter: 0.6 cms

The faux wood trick cane with the handle and ferule both unscrewing to allow the metamorphism to a fully operational camera tripod with telescopic legs.

Condition is good with the tripod in fine order, the gilt brass collar has some wear as does the faux wood cane but this is to be expected when you consider a gadget cane such as this would have been assembled and re-assembled many a time over. More importantly, no parts are missing or have been replaced.
System canes, also known as gadget or trick canes, are probably the most highly sought after variety of walking stick and have been in existence since around the sixth century when two Persian monks smuggled silkworm larvae out of China inside hollowed-out staves.  The premise is that they are used with dual purpose, both as a stick in the conventional sense, as well as some additional hidden meaning or function; in this example, a professional photographer’s tripod.

Amongst the four categories that exist for trick canes, this example falls into that of professional sticks, which were used, by various tradesmen and professionals to carry tools and accessories. Other examples could include a doctor’s cane hiding surgical instruments, syringes and medicines or that of a horse auctioneer carrying a horse measuring cane.

In original condition, this is a highly desirable piece both for photographers and collectors alike; being functional, beautiful and very ingeniously made.