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Espantoon Reference Private

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Espantoon Info/History

Webster's Third Edition: "An Espantoon In Baltimore, a policeman's stick" We would like to start out by saying we collect Nightsticks, Espantoons, Batons, Truncheons, Billy Clubs Etc. - If you have one for sale, or donation let us know as we are interested.  For what might be obvious reasons we particularly like Baltimore style sticks, aside from their being the sticks carried by our brothers they also show a progression not just in what we carried, or had made, but what the department had made for us. While we like Baltimore sticks, we collect them all, from any state in the US to any country in the world. We hope to start a Baltimore Police Museum and would like to have as many we can to show what police have used for years to protect themselves and the public. Initially, it could be a rolling museum, and they will be used to show the differences over the years, as well to show how they wear, due to their having been carried everywhere with an officer over his or her career. As for the Museum, Commissioner Batts has promised us the old Headquarters Museum again, so as soon as possible we will be trying to get back into that museum, and able to show off our history to the public. 


Woodworkers that Turned Baltimore Espantoons
1939 / 2007

1939 / 1957 – Rev W. Gibbs McKenney - Made BPD Issue - Sold to Howard Uniform - 10,000 hickory 2,000 redwood over 20 yrs

1957 / 1977 – Rev. John D.  Longenecker - Made BPD Issue - Sold to Howard Uniform10,000 hickory 2,000 redwood over 20 yrs

1955 / 1979 – Carl Hagen - Made BPD Issue & his own Stick - Sold to Howard Uniform and Officers - 2.000 various wood types over 24 yrs

1974 / 1977 – Edward Bremer - Made his own Stick – Sold to Officers - 300 various wood types over 3 yrs

1977 / 2007 – P/O Joe Hlafka - Made his own Stick - Sold to Officers and Police Supply Shops - 10,000 various wood types over 37 yrs

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What makes a Baltimore Officer's Nightstick an Espantoon. 
After years of using one, seeing them used and years of studying them, through
Photos, and conversation, I would say, it is the way we hold them.  Knowing the nomenclature of the stick helps, so we'll include that information below
burrell BarrellThe Blue portion of the Espantoon is mistaken most often as the handle of the stick, This is actually 
the striking end, it is called a Barrel Head, this too most likely comes as the result of an error
As in most Blunt force weapons, the striking end is called  Burl Head.  In the Tomahawk 


1920's Baltimore Police Issue

21317920 10211220883901382 1881911624495296007 n

Issued Stick 1937 - 1977
Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker

Stick 1

Issued Stick 1937 - 1977
Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker


Issued Stick 1937 - 1977
Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker


Issued Stick 1937 - 1977
Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker 


Issued Stick 1937 - 1977
Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker 


Issued Stick 1937 - 1977
Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker 
This has one edge shaved flat so it would stay in place without popping out every time we turn a sharp corner or hit a pothole.
The flat spot helps keep it in place when it's forced between the dashboard padding and the transmission hump.


Issued Stick 1937 - 1977
Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker
There was a time in the mid 50's that officers would shave the Barrel Head of their Espantoon
Taking it from convex to flat/straight then add or re-cut grooves in the new Barrelhead 

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Issued Stick 1937 - 1977
Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker 

 This is another case of someone attempting to straighten the convex, "Barrelhead" 


Issued Stick 1987 


 Issued Stick 1937 - 1977
Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker 


Issued Stick 1937 - 1977
Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker 


Jim Brock
Perfection Collection
Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker Model
Circa 2015 

 DSC5183 Non-Issue Stick 1937 - 1977
Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker

Stick 2

Non-Issued Stick 1937 - 1977
Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker


Carl Hagen turned sold through Howard Uniform
circa 1965


Carl Hagen

This is an early Carl Hagen Stick, it came while he was still turning them to the size of an issue stick, and isn't too far off of the standard issue stick, he just added a few things to make it stand out from the issue stick, and turned it from an oak. 


P/O Wheatley holding a Carl Hagen Stick, notice how Carl rounded the top of his stick,  


Carl Hagen
1955 - 1979

This is one of Carls first unique designs, it was done solely by him and became a popular design from his sticks. In the next pic, we'll see Officer Ray Wheatley holding a Carl Hagen Espantoon, it is more of an issue cut, but with a modern (at the time) cut, the cut that ended up being refined into the sticks we saw turned by Ed Bremer and Joe Hlafka.


Jim Brock
Perfection Collection
Carl Hagen Model
Circa 2015


Jim Brock
Perfection Collection Thin Blue Line Stick
Carl Hagen Model
Circa 2015 


Prior to Issued Sticks 1954 - 1960
Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Carl Hagen

At some point when McKenney had retired from turning sticks, he had donated his lathe and tools to a boy's school out west, and before meeting Reverend Longenecker, McKenney he had met Carl Hagen and showed him how to turn sticks, for whatever reason, Carl turned some sticks for Howard Uniform, he just didn't get the 500+ stick a year contracts from Howard Uniform that the Reverends McKenney & Longenecker received.


Carl Hagen
1955 - 1979 


Jim Brock
Perfection Collection Lignum vitae #001 Stick
Lignum vitae is on top 10 lists of hardest woods
depending on the list it is either 2nd or 4th

One might be how dense the wood is, while the other might be
how dense the guy/gal is that is trying to spelling Lignum Vitae
Joe Hlafka Model
Circa 2015 


Ed Bremer
1974 - 1977


Jim Brock
Edward Bremer Model
Circa 2015  


1977 - 2007
P/O Joe Hlafka 


Joe Hlafka
1987 - I bought this from Joe Hlafka direct apparently someone ordered it, paid half down and before it was done they found their stick and told Joe, they didn't need it anymore, could he sell it to someone for the remainder of the balance, I was the lucky guy that talked to Joe about a stick, and he gave me the stick for $12.00. I have replaced the thong twice, had it I say stolen once, the guy that took it, called it found. How you can find an espantoon in the trunk of a patrol car and not think it must belong to someone. Not to mention DRISCOLL is written around the stick in blue sharpie by the Ring Stop - Anyway, it is a 30 plus-year-old stick.  


I turned this myself 
I put the extra groove on the shaft because after carrying it for a day or two I realized the stick felt good, weight was nice, but the shaft was too think to hold on while swinging it, So I taped the thong to the Barrelhead with Duct tape, and put the stick back on the lathe. After shaving the shaft to a comfortable grip, I was done, pulled the tape and it was a spinner, or umm, I mean a winner, 

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Irish Shillelagh 
This is to point out the striking part of this weapon, that blunt looking rock, or fist shaped portion at the end of this weapon and any blunt force weapon is called the "Burl Head". On the Espantoon the blunt striking end resembles and is often mistaken for the weapon's handle is called the "Barrel Head." Most likely stemming from a misunderstanding caused by Baltimore's southern drawl or bad "accent," causing a listener to misunderstand what a speaker may have said, Burl Head to thinking the speaker said, "Barrel Head." In 1987 when an old timer told me, he even pointed to the shape and, said, this is because this looks like a wine or whiskey barrel. Truth be told, it wasn't a barrel at all, it's a burl.

Carl Hagen 1957 77s

Barrel Head
This is the Barrel or Burl Head of one of Carl Hagen's early sticks - This Rounded off top end was exclusive to Carl Hagen, and was found more on the West side of Baltimore than the East. The Eastside Espantoons saw more of a two or three tiered layers each with a hard edge that sat atop the espantoon like a crown on top the barrel head end of the stick. If we look at Carl's earlier stuff, he had a two or three-tiered top edge also, but it wasn't a hard edge. Carl had a super soft, smooth transition going tier to tier on the barrel head.

Ed Bremer 1974 77s

Barrel Head
This is the Barrel Head from one of Ed Bremer's early sticks, he put what he called a "Nib" on the top of all his Barrel head. Mr. Bremer felt he saved lives, both of Officers and Suspects because as he once said, "Nightsticks Save Lives, Preventing Officers from a need to escalate from hand-to-hand combat to the use of a firearm." The faster we can get a suspect into cuffs the safer it is for both the officer and the suspect. This stick is turned from Lignum vitae, a wood that was banned by the department as it was too heavy, hard and they felt could cause serious injury or death.


Some Reference Articles for Our Private Use

To Assist the local Police, Espantoon
Arrest Disorderly Ones, Espantoon
The Espantoon a Private Club? Johns Hopkins Pyramids
Espantoon - Espantar
Police Officer Shot Espantoon strikes pocket gun and shoots the officer
City Police New Equipment Espantoon
His Nightstick - Carl Hagen Pg 2
His Nightstick - Carl Hagen Pg 1 
Passe Espantoon 
Police Battle Espantoon 
Faces Own Pistol 
Policemen's Personal Friend 
Espantoon - Halfpike 
Watchman Fire Company 
MP Espantoon - Louisville Slugger
Plausible Explanation of Espantoon  
Officers gift a ring and Espantoon to their sergeant  
Does a Military Police in the City automatically mean he/she carries an Espantoon? the editor if the Sun said yes... I say No!  
Here's What the Police Call an Espantoon's_what_a_cop_calls_an_espantoon.jpg
Patrolman Battle
Soldier Arrested and put in Jail
Espantoon Tossing  
Patrolman throws Espantoon at Auto 
Patrolman cleared in Espantoon Toss 
Nightstick - Daystick 
Espantoons at Night  
Patrolman Waldsach Assaulted with Espantoon Pg 1  
Patrolman Waldsach Assaulted with Espantoon Pg 2  
Benedict Slain pt 1  
Benedict Slain pt 2 
Guilty of Assault on Patrolman 
Patrolman Fight 
Steven Stevenson False Statement 
Officer Twirling sketch 

Assault Hgh Constable 

Theft Charge Spontoon 

Unfaithful Watchman 
The trial of the Ballot Box
Maybe Sachle Snatcher
Officer Burkens
Marshall Faran  
Horse Bites Officer

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Please contact Det. Ret. Kenny Driscoll if you have any pictures of you or your family members and wish them remembered here on this tribute site to Honor the fine men and women who have served with Honor and Distinction at the Baltimore Police Department. Anyone with information, photographs, memorabilia, or other "Baltimore City Police" items can contact Ret. Det. Kenny Driscoll at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   follow us on Twitter @BaltoPoliceHist or like us on Facebook or contact us for a mailing address
Copyright © 2002 Baltimore City Police History - Ret Det Kenny Driscoll

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Copies of: Baltimore Police Department class photos, pictures of officers, vehicles, equipment, newspaper articles relating to our department. Also wanted Departmental Newsletters, Lookouts, Wanted Posters, Hot Sheets Reports, and or Brochures. Information on retired or deceased officers, fallen or injured officers and anything that may help us to preserve the history and proud traditions of this agency.
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