So I found a cartoon;


There are some strings coming out from the end of the bat. What are they called?

  • 2
    Baseball bats don’t usually have tassles but that’s what they are. This might be a baton.
    – Jim
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 23:09
  • 4
    That looks like an old-fashioned policemans night-stick. The thongs are sometimes called lanyards. Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 23:12
  • 3
    From the direction he's looking in, Uncle Sam seems particularly concerned about interference from New Zealand.
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 23:31
  • Baseball wouldn't have been popular enough for its bats to be recognizable in Monroe's time.
    – deadrat
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 0:43
  • 2
    It is not a baseball bat. It's a policeman's stick, baton, truncheon, or 'billy club'. Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 0:55

2 Answers 2


The "bat" looks like an old-fashioned policeman's night stick--here remimiscent of the famous "big stick" of Rooseveltian (first one) foreign policy, or possibly a reference to America as "the world's policeman". The thong through the handle could be termed:


a cord passed around the neck, shoulder, or wrist for holding a knife, whistle, or similar object.

although they are usually a closed loop. It might also be called a tassel,

a tuft of loosely hanging threads, cords, or other material knotted at one end and attached for decoration to home furnishings, clothing, or other items.

if it is only for decoration.


A reverse image look-up on Google located the image and tied it to the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine.

  • the famous "big stick" of Rooseveltian foreign policy You're off by about 90 years.
    – deadrat
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 0:42
  • I don't know when the cartoon was published, but the Monroe Doctrine was declared in 1823.
    – deadrat
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 0:45
  • 1
    @deadrat After thinking about your comments, I edited in that it might refer to America "as the worlds policeman. Thank you for your contribution. Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 1:06
  • 1
    The date on the club is hard to read, but I think it says 1814-1898. I'm not sure why 1814. Monroe didn't become President until 1817, although he was Secretary of War and Secretary of State under Madison. But I think it's no coincidence that the time span starts with the beginning of the demise of the Spanish Empire in the western hemisphere and ends with its effective death from the Spanish-American War. That war started the US on its imperial path, but the country didn't become a global, meddling power until later. I like your answer enough to upvote it.
    – deadrat
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 2:17
  • 1
    Good catch here: quia.com/jg/1532420list.html Same club; same lanyard. But if I'm reading the dates correctly, TR can't be involved in the message of the cartoon.
    – deadrat
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 3:06

I can tell you where they came from

The sword knot or sword strap, sometimes called a tassel, is a lanyard—usually of leather but sometimes of woven gold or silver bullion, or more often metallic lace—looped around the hand to prevent the sword being lost if it is dropped. Although they have a practical function, sword knots often had a decorative design. For example, the British Army generally adopted a white leather strap with a large acorn knot made out of gold wire for infantry officers at the end of the 19th century; such acorn forms of tassels were said to be 'boxed', which was the way of securing the fringe of the tassel along its bottom line such that the strands could not separate and become entangled or lost. Many sword knots were also made of silk with a fine, ornamental alloy gold or silver metal wire woven into it in a specified pattern.

The art and history of tassels are known by its French name, passementerie, or Posamenten as it was called in German. The military output of the artisans called passementiers (ornamental braid, lace, cord, or trimmings makers) is evident in catalogs of various military uniform and regalia makers of centuries past. The broader art form of passementerie, with its divisions of Decor, Clergy and Nobility, Upholstery, Coaches and Livery, and Military, is covered in a few books on that subject, none of which are in English.

Indian swords had the tassel attached through an eyelet at the end of the pommel.

Chinese swords, both jian and dao, often have lanyards or tassels attached. As with Western sword knots, these serve both decorative and practical functions, and the manipulation of the tassel is a part of some jian performances.


BTW, searches using "club", "thong" and "tassel" were certainly interesting, but didn't produce any hard evidence ;)


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