A switch or blackjack: something used to hit people with?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Gary->dee, Jul 15, 2004.

  1. Gary->dee

    Gary->dee Screenwriter

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    Can someone explain to me what exactly is or was what was commonly referred to as a 'switch' or a 'blackjack'? I might have the names wrong but from what I can gather from old TV series and movies is there was this thing, a somewhat small object usually black, and people would hit people on the head with it?

    I think I heard it was illegal or something. Why aren't they used any more? I'm fascinated by this object used in movies and TV that is no longer around(I think). [​IMG]
     
  2. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    http://www.fact-index.com/b/bl/blackjack__weapon_.html

    A blackjack is a small, easily-concealed weapon consisting of a leather-wrapped lead weight attached to the end of a leather-wrapped coil-spring or rigid shaft, with a lanyard or strap on the end opposite the weight. Materials other than lead and leather are sometimes used to construct these weapons.
     
  3. Gary->dee

    Gary->dee Screenwriter

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    Thanks, Chris! Most informative. But weren't they also referred to as a 'switch'? Or maybe I'm confusing it with something else. Just seems to me in certain movies and tv shows someone would say something like "so I hit'em with a switch" or "the guy had a switch".

    I'm guessing no one uses these things any more right? Probably died out with the 70's I imagine. This is one of those holes of knowledge that I've always been meaning to fill and it's slowing getting covered.
     
  4. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    Nope, a switch is a different thing. A switch is any cut of green wood that is used to beat someone.. ie, parents would jokingly send kids out to willow / small trees and tell them to "get a switch" which was a smaller branch, still green, that was used to whip them with [​IMG]
     
  5. Gary->dee

    Gary->dee Screenwriter

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    Ah ok. No wonder the mentioning of a 'switch' kinda struck me as being funny... not that parents beating kids is funny mind you! I guess it's the whole thing with a switch commonly being a device you turn something on and off with and also something you can hit people with.
     
  6. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    The blackjack can be seen in the PC game "Thief" as well as the 5th season SIMPSONS episode with the inanimate carbon rod.
     
  7. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    "Switch" in your example:



    is more likely to refer to a "switchblade knife", which is a folding, locking pointed knife. Usually used in the context of gang fights (West Side Story) or personal battles (Rebel Without a Cause).
     
  8. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Don't forget the sock full of quarters. [​IMG]
     
  9. andrew markworthy

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    A switch can also be a heavy steel bar and 'to switch' can mean to beat up (though usually in the sense of beating eggs or cream in cookery). It's therefore reasonable to assume that for a while 'to use a switch on someone' had the meaning of hitting or assaulting with an implement.

    Incidentally, a blackjack was originally a large jug, and in the UK at least, it can refer to a small piece of liquorice-flavoured candy. This was the first definition of the word I learnt and when I was a kid I couldn't work out how 'blackjacking someone' could possibly hurt them.
     
  10. Craig

    Craig Second Unit

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    I've also heard 'sap' used for a blackjack. For some reason I associate sap with a flat leather covered lead disc with a handle, and blackjack with a leather covered round lead ball. I've also seen picks of a leather covered flat piece of lead with straps that fits in the palm of your hand. You strap it onto your hand and use it to slap someone open handed.
     
  11. Gary->dee

    Gary->dee Screenwriter

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    There's also Blackjack chewing gum. I used to chew it as a kid growing up in Australia and I still do. Tastes great. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    Damn, also.. I love Black Jack gum.. [​IMG] Tastes like black licorice (the only real true kind, of course [​IMG]
     
  13. Gary->dee

    Gary->dee Screenwriter

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    I dunno, Chris I wouldn't consider it a black licorice taste. More like ginger perhaps with a hint of licorice? Very distinctive and... now I'm fiending for a piece!
     

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