15 October 2019

Because today is 15th of October and White Cane Safety Day I decided to write a line or two on the history of the white cane.

The blind and visually impaired people have throughout history helped themselves overcome obstacles and made their way also with the help of a wooden stick. The beginnings of the white cane date back to the aftermath of World War I, when many soldiers became blind by gases and poisons. The first person who painted his stick in white was English photographer James Biggs. By doing so he wanted to remind other people of his blindness.

Over the years the white cane has become a symbol of the blind and visually impaired, and its development has gone on. White canes are now foldable and made of plastic, but the market of smart canes emerged even further with canes with integrated high-barrier detectors and canes with built-in GPS systems. Both systems inform blind and impaired people by special vibrations for smarter experience.

Personally I prefer using long and foldable cane. I use it everyday when I go to work or go for a walk. A blind guide dog also helps me when I decide to go for a more relaxed walk. Then I choose a shorter guide cane.