Traditional ones were shelallies [sic], and English cops used cuttings of willow trees, known as Tommy Knockers. Tommies were street fighters. Later when citizens used Tommy Knockers, they were made unlawful so, a pocketknife hollowed out the limb piece and smoking pipes were made of them.
The axe handles, grew smaller as fatalities increased. Administrators balked of seeing threatening figures with large axe handles. Smaller sticks were adopted but cops, hung them around their badges, or around their revolvers. Then only carried at night, when theoretically, the bad guys were out. Then the axe handles of 36 inches, became the riot batons of 36 inches.
Nightsticks are 26 inches. I still have about five, and every now and then, when nobody’s around, and all is peaceful and quiet, I put a real spin on the stick, as I did when I walked a foot post (beat). I do not use rawhide thong as they break and are dangerous. I use Latigo leather of horse reins, that I cut to diameter, double pass through the bore, and barrel knot one end, and adjust thong to my hand (over the thumb and flat on the back of the hand, then grip the stick) and make the second barrel knot.
My hand should hold the opposite end with about two inches of the stick exposed. Then the breaking in, by oiling and slowly and cautiously twirling. Once it feels okay, then snap of the wrist and a full spin.
The billy clubs of daytime were abandoned, as the women, and a few others remarked of that stick, calling them “dildos”. I never enforced that rule and many times at roll calls, a boss asked someone where it was, and they said, “my dildo is in my locker”.
Police administrators call that, progress. (It all started.., when the 5’7″ minimum height standards were repealed.)
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