So-called "lady truncheons" - designed to be small enough to fit in a handbag - are part of an exhibition to mark 100 years of women in the Met Police.
The truncheons, along with past uniforms and officer recruitment ads, are on show at the Met Heritage Centre.
Documents on display show how women were not trusted to handle intelligence in the early days, instead they had to pass information on to male officers.
The force aims to boost the percentage of women officers from 26% to 50%.
Other items on display include "Women Police" signs that used to be a common sight in police stations, as well as the lists of stringent entry requirements for female officers.
These included criteria such as height, age and marital status.
Applicants even had to submit to dental tests that barred those with an "overbite".
Curator Dr Clare Smith and her team have selected items which cover themes of recruitment, uniform, anniversaries, sport and achievements.
She said she hoped the exhibition would encourage people to contact them with artefacts relating to women's policing that have been handed down through their families.
Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said: "I hope that these real life examples the public can explore of battling prejudice, overcoming adversity and always taking pride in the job, prove an inspiration for women to come and help us forge the path ahead as we look to recruit a new generation of officers for the future."
Future plans include creating an online database and working with colleagues across the Met to grow the collection.