German Hikers

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Avid hikers would adorn their treasured staffs with small trinkets or medallions depicting “the conquered” territory, its features, or inhabitants. The collecting of hiking staff medallions (or stocknagels) is a long-standing European tradition that began in the Alps region of Europe back in the 1800’s. The badges, called stocknagels, attached to the canes, which is a right of passage to depict the many mountain visits a long time ago.  Walking sticks and canes from Germany, Austria, and Italy date from 1900-1945.

Every mountain they climbed, every place they visited by foot, the people used to buy a badge or stocknagel from the environment and the villagers attached the badge on the cane with a small hammer and two small nails. It was a very serious matter, and a great honor. Every badge offers a decorative symbol, from German Forests, the Black Forest, Schwarzwald, the Alps, Tyrole, Bayern, Italy. And brings you a piece of history!

 

5 Responses to “German Hikers”

  1. Hi Laurelt
    I have been clearing out my parents house and have found a stick (with metal german badges and a pennant of a red lion on a white background) cant read most of the badges but some have a stags head on them, it was alongside some WW2 artifacts, any ideas, what part of Germany it came from etc.
    Regards
    Ian

  2. I came across your blog while surfing. I have a ton of stocknagels, all nailed to various types of walking sticks and canes. Recently I began to wonder how old these stocknagels are, and what methods could be used to date these badges. In fact, I’m writing a book on how to determine the age of a stocknagel. For some reason I’m fascinated by these pieces of art. Thanks for your blog.

  3. I too have a cane, obviously from Germany, which I purchased in a small town curio shop in northern Michigan. The stocknagels are old and most hard too read. Like you I am curious as to their age and history. I wish you well with your book and would hope to purchase a copy some day while I can still see. Keep me in mind.
    Jerry

  4. Hi,

    I have a lot of canes with these stocknagel. Most of them German. I like to collect more of them. Or, if interested, like to trade them. Eelco, The Netherlands

  5. I would like someone to identify the badges. I too have some of these badges but don’t know anything about them.
    Rollie

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