Mid-19th century, dating to the mad rush and growth of San Francisco, 1848-55 following the discovery of gold. 12 ½” length, hardwood with a shaped foot which naturally seated to an ergonomic position. The top with a forged iron hook in copper ferrule. Well used and cared for condition. Dating to the foundation of the Chinese community in San Francisco, these hooks were used to grip and maneuver bundles of goods brought to the wharfs for unloading and distribution. The endless work made the Chinese men (coolies) very strong and the familiarity with the hook virtually made it an extension of the arm and a weapon at hand when trouble visited which was fairly often on the waterfront and in the Chinese community. Many a throat was ripped open by a cargo hook such as this in the hands of a Chinese coolie.