“Fokos” has not exactly been a common cutlery term in this country until fairly recently. We can probably thank Hungarian born custom knifemaker Joseph Szilaski for bringing it to everyone’s attention a few years ago. Basically, a fokos is a sturdy walking stick with a small axe head serving as a handle on the upper end. Hungarians and other eastern Europeans are said to have carried these dual-purpose sticks while traveling as far back as the 13th century. It provided wayfaring pilgrims and itinerate pack traders both a handy camp tool and a basic means of self-defense while traveling.
Very little information is available on the actual history of the fokos, but from what I could find, the head could have been brass, cast iron or steel. While the first two materials might not be ideal for wood chopping, they would certainly make effective blunt-edged clubs. One reference also states it was common for the “lower classes” to carry the head in a pocket so as to not draw attention from the authorities. The axe head could then be quickly mounted on the walking stick when the situation dictated it.
Bram Frank's latest Lapu Lapu Corto knife on steroids. It's one highly versatile, potent self...
by Michael Janich / Nov 1, 2008