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Antique police batons?

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by Owen Sparks, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

    The recent thread about the nearly obsolete black jacks and saps has me curious about other old police weapons. I have seen wooden police batons at gun shows and swap meets and they usually seem short and light by todays standards. Does anybody have one made before the days of polycarbonate and PR-24's? If so could you please post a picture and give an idea of the weight and length? Does anyone collect these like they do badges and handcuffs?
  2. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

  3. ThorinNNY

    ThorinNNY Well-Known Member

  4. glistam

    glistam Well-Known Member

    Ah, now you're talking my neck of the woods (being a life long Marylander). Sadly I don't have my own espantoon...yet...but I've had a long standing fascination with stick weapons (and sticks in general) so I might just add these to the collecting.

    A handful of antique shops off MD 97 have old wooden batons for sale. I'll have to see if the sellers can tell me about them and, if I don't have the cash, if they'll let me take pics.
  5. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

    Look what I found:


    A bored cop turns the habit of fidgeting into an art form by twirling his espantoon. This is supposedly a tradition in Baltimore though it was suspended for a number of years because the chief saw it as an intimidating form of brandishment. Espantoons are back by popular demand and even twirling is encouraged. Deffinitly worth a look.
  6. Carl Levitian

    Carl Levitian member

    About time!

    When I was a kid growing up in Washington D.C., you never saw a cop waking his beat without his stick right in hand. Back in those days, cops knew how to put on a show with those sticks, and we kids loved to watch. But it also sent a good message to the street punks. Don't mess with the cop. This was decades before they started to require college degrees for cops, and you had big beefy guys who knew the streets and didn't need a degree to deal with the bad guys.

    Maybe more cities ought to go back to the 1950's.
  7. ThorinNNY

    ThorinNNY Well-Known Member

    I don`t ever recall seeing any police batons or night sticks for sale at any of the gun shows I`ve been to.In NYS it might be illegal for an non-LEO to purchase & possess them.I`d have to check on that.
  8. sidheshooter

    sidheshooter Well-Known Member

  9. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

    Nice display sidheshooter, I wonder what the bell shaped thing is on the baton on the extreme left? The only true "stick" is the long black one in the middle. All the others are clubs being that the center of gravity or balance point is closer to the striking end. The crown painted on the majority makes me assume that this is a collection of British billy clubs.
  10. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    I have one in my safe that my dad told a very interesting story about, I'll have to dig it out to weigh it. This dates to about 1959/60's Charleston, WVa.

    This thing is 20 inches long and weighs exactly one pound (16 ounces). I assumed when I was a kid that this was made of wood but I can see NO grain, and in fact the surface is embedded with metal bits. :eek:

    This was a serious piece of gear back in the day.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  11. glistam

    glistam Well-Known Member

    I just was reminded of this 4000 year old Egyptian painting. It goes to show just how old the baton is to police work. And yes the author is being a little tongue-in-cheek:

    Attached Files:

  12. Piraticalbob

    Piraticalbob Well-Known Member

    Wikipedia identifies a similar object as a "hinged club." I'd call it a slungshot, myself. That pic, by the way, can be found with the Wikipedia article on police batons.
  13. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

    So it is sort of a variation of num chucks?

    Edited in: I did a little research and it appears that hinged clubs were a forerunner to the blackjack and used rope rather than a spring. The concept was to lessen the mass of the weapon by allowing it to give on impact. Blackjacks as well as striking to the head are now obsolete in police training. Too many people died from head injuries during the riots in the late 1960's so the head is no longer taught as a target.

    Here is a video clip of Chicago cops whacking hippies over the head during the riot outside the Democratic national convention in 1968:

    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  14. riceboy72

    riceboy72 Well-Known Member

    I'm glad to see this thread. I have, since the late 90's - early 2000's, collected various old wood 'nightsticks' (aka truncheons, billy clubs, batons, etc) and I love them. Most were found on eBay before they had a cow and shut down selling them, citing them as weapons versus collectibles. I just wish I knew the story behind each of them.

    Some of them are quite ornate for being wood; I marvel at the craftsmanship used back then, many of which were hand turned and handmade altogether. Each stick, I assume, has quite the history. Most have dings and dents from what I would opine was a well carried and lived career.

    I often look for old sticks when I go into antique stores, but being the west coast, they're not as prevalent as those on the east coast where history and lineage rule. My favorite is an old British police truncheon in near perfect condition. After playing with it, I would not want to go toe to toe with a well heeled Bobby who knew his way around one.

    Some great, modern batons with old school flair here:

    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  15. Leadbutt

    Leadbutt Well-Known Member

    I remember walking the the first beat with my "wood" it was made of ironwood and drilled the last 2 inches, back filled with soft lead and finished over, could dent the hell out of a street sign or drunks shoulder, it took me weeks to learn to bounce and twirl with out killing my shins or passers by:p

    Only other thing I wish I still had in my possession, is my old call box key
  16. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator

    I dont have any of my original sticks in my posession. My son has the lead filled one and few others.
    I was/am small, just made the ht and weight requirement. My first partner once I left a walking beat to a cruiser was 6' 5" which once led a huge mope to say "Whats this a cop and a half"? The 1/2 cop dealt with his negative social behavior with the help of the stick.


    We had turn box keys until the mid 70's, alas dont have that either.( remember cold nights waiting for the sgt to give you your "see"?)

    Your in my area, PM me maybe we can hang out.
  17. Carl Levitian

    Carl Levitian member

    When I was on the Trinidad P.D., Trinidad Colorado, we couldn't have the great nightsticks. The instructors at the Colorado Law Enforcement Training Academy were on the koga kick, so we got a strait stick and were taught to do the damage with the ends of the stick more than the stick itself. Almost all the techniques were two handed blocks and thrusts, and leverage to move people who don't want to be moved. It worked, but it took a lot more training and practice. I wonder if the old fashioned stick would have been more intuitive and effective than the koga. I know that in the crowded bas on commercial street I'd have liked a shorter stick for the close quarters they were.

    I remember talking with one of the old timer cops we had, and he said to pick a stick the length of your for arm from elbow to finger tips. He carried the old style nightstick, and it was a thing of beauty. Great grain pattern in the wood and beautiful lathe work. We younger cops were very jealous of it. Our Chief though, Dennis Dempsy, was into the modern koga and called it a table leg.

  18. Leadbutt

    Leadbutt Well-Known Member

    AH!!! THe look see to make sure you where walking and breathing not bammered up some where warm and cozy. :p:p

    Got so mad one time on an arrest I locked the "bounce" around the pole and stood in the door way waiting on the wagon.
  19. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator

    Ah Ha, the wagon :) No heat in the back but a good place to administer contempt of cop citations. Boy those floors were slippery, somehow perps kept falling down.

    Sadly old school Chief was replace by a kinder gentler type who took away our sticks and saps and issued those tonfa like B 24 thingies, yuck.
  20. grampster

    grampster Well-Known Member

    I've still got my custom fit cherrywood stick that I bought off an orchard farmer in 1964. The leather thong is long ago rotted away. It's got lots of nicks and gouges, mostly from having it slip down when I was shutting the cruiser door. I'm left handed.

    I could twirl that stick with the best of 'em. That stick stopped a lot of incidents that could have escalated. It was a multifunctional tool.

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