Hidden Objects: A nightstick made with wood from Ireland

Late 19th-century “bog oak” club with Irish carvings
This club came from a time when police officers were expected to provide their own club or nightstick when patrolling. As many Irish immigrants became police officers in American cities, they were dissatisfied with the clubs available locally. Instead, some were inspired to send home for clubs made from bog-wood, or trees that had collapsed and been preserved in peat bogs. Bog-wood was known for being unusually tough and naturally stained black.
Traditional Irish symbols like a harp and clovers were hand-carved into this club. Although it is beautifully decorated, this club would still have been used practically. Compact and tapered at one end for a better grip, it would have delivered a powerful blow.  Though this one is not on display, you can see a very similar bog-wood club in our Tools of the Trade exhibit at the museum.
The National Law Enforcement Museum has thousands of law enforcement artifacts in our archives; too many to display at once. We offer this regularly scheduled blog to give you a peek into our archives.