Canes made of unusual materials


Cane made of Narwhal's Horn

At the end of the Eighteen Century, the chemists still sold peices of Narwhal tooth, deemed to be the supreme remedy. Moreover, the Narwhal's horn was used to make sceptres, bishops crosiers, or even simple walking sticks.

On the right, an outstanding cane, of which the rare shaft is made of plain Narwhal's Rostrum, planed and polished, and presenting marbling spirals, a typical quality that characterises the Narwhal. End Eighteen Century

Opposite, on the left, the handle "pomponne", made of gilt colored metal decorated of stylized foliage and flowers.

Opposite, on the right, the handle's top, presenting a monogram, with a hinged door opening on a hiding place for pills or poison.

The Narwhal was frequently named by the ancients "Unicorn", fabulous animal having magical properties. The Narwhal had been frequently confounded with rhinocero or with the oryx .

In fact, the Narwhal is a member of the Dolphin family, of which the left horn of the male may measure up to 3 metres.

The elders thought that the ivory of the Narwhal could protect them from poison. Used until the end of the Eighteen Century for that reason, it reached an exorbitant price.

As until the end of the Eighteen Century, the Narwhal / Unicorn horn was said to protect from the poison, a number of the great and the good still had manches knife-handles made of this material, that were supposed to blacken if the meat or the dish were poisoned. A simple bit of it in a glass avoided any poisoning.

Obviously, the Narwhal / Unicorn had some extraordinary and quite magic powers. It had an uncommon value. A fortiori, when it was a walking stick entirely made of this material. Not much were permitted such a luxury.


Sources, credits and links - A - Z Glossary of unusual materials


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Canes made of unusual materials
Canes amde of narwhal's horn