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Even today you can often read, or, hear referred to in converstion, that someone was 'bludgeoned unconcious' or, ' badly bludgeoned in an attack'. The expression comes from an early club , where the head was separate from the handles but, joined by lengths of rope. This gave a greater force to the blow and they were often used to give a fatal knock.

They come-in different shapes and woods - but all have the head separate from the stick.

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The lower piece is another example of a bludgeon - the top one is much rarer. This is a FLAIL. A fearsome weapon, the momentum of the blow + the heavy wood and an iron link is guaranteed to cause serious injury. This one was carried by the Governor of a British prison - about 1840/50. Both bludgeons and flails would often be carried in the back pockets of the old swallow tailed coatees - these went out of fashion in about the 1850's.

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This is a very rare bludgeon - and one of only two examples that I had in my collection. You can see from the Royal Crown and cypher for King William 4 th. (1830-37) that this was carried by a Parish Constable. Paintwork is a little worn , but then it is a minimum of 172 years old...

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Finally - in this short thread - some examples of early LIFE PRESERVERS. Again these were personal protection weapons and usually carried in the back pockets of the old swallow tailed coatees. Often made by seamen to sell when they were back on land, they can have whale bone - which is flexible - as the shaft. Lumps of lead would be at each end and the seamen would use fine knotting to enclose the lead. Sometimes the shaft will be of Malacca cane - which is also flexible.

They varied according to the tastes of the person making them - but , the Offences Against the Person Act of 1861 stopped them being carried from that date. They are not rare and can often be found in antique markets - expect to pay about £50. Bludgeons and flails should be far more - it really depends on the level of ignorance of the stall holder....

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On December 5, 2009 at 09:13, Mervyn Mitton said:

Even today you can often read, or, hear referred to in converstion, that someone was 'bludgeoned unconcious' or, ' badly bludgeoned in an attack'. The expression comes from an early club , where the head was separate from the handles but, joined by lengths of rope. This gave a greater force to the blow and they were often used to give a fatal knock.

 

They come-in different shapes and woods - but all have the head separate from the stick.

post-6209-126002599579.jpg

 

Oh my, this site is a bit of a revelation for me as someone researching what we in the U.S. call saps and blackjacks.  Do you know roughly when this very particular (I call it the Easter egg) kind of configuration began to be used?

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Presuming that "Num-Chucks" are a centuries old attention-getter from China, it's probably safe to conclude that any of these modifications share the same DNA. I'm reasonably sure that their development pre-dates Isaac Newton's thoughts on inertia and centrifugal force by a few millennia. I've seen relatively crude examples on eBay from time to time. 

I think your research might need to be expanded to include these ancestors to saps, black jacks, and the like. There are a few books on truncheons, but a comprehensive treatise on the whole range of bludgeons would be a great project for a young researcher, like yourself, to undertake. Good luck. Mike. 

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I'm on it.  Was focusing on other precursors but am realizing the flail plays a bigger part than I realized.  Here's my fruit cosh/bludgeon.

 

image.jpg

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Thanks!  I have my eye on a nice baleen bosun cosh similar to the ones above.  I thought my pre-leather & lead collection would be decently representative then but it looks like I need me one of them pocket flails too (sic).

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