Green’s Dictionary of Slang

knobstick n.

also nobstick
[SE knobstick, a club with a rounded head, used by strike-breakers as a weapon]

a strike-breaker.

[UK]Manchester Times 27 June 5/2: The Strikers in Manchester [...] Kelsall (with whom there about ten others) called him a ‘knobstick’, collared him, and then kicked him.
[UK]E. Gaskell North and South 199: Folk would go with them if they saw them striving and starving wi’ dumb patience; but if there was once any noise o’ fighting and struggling – even wi’ knobsticks – all was up.
[UK]J.K. Shuttleworth Scarsdale II 76: They still strive [...] [to] enforce obedience by picketing the mills, by assaults on knobsticks.
[UK]Reynolds’s Newspaper 17 Mar. 1/2: He used very abusive language, and called the men ‘knobsticks’.
[UK]Contemp. Rev. lI 238: The knobstick takes away the striker’s hope of bringing his employer to terms.
[UK] ‘’Arriet on Labour’ Punch 26 Aug. 88/1: Bashing a knobstick’s ripping fun, no doubt — for them as bashes.
[UK]Burnley Exp. 8 Mar. 4/2: To h— wi’ knobsticks an’ gaffers!
[UK]Luton Times 24 Apr. 6/7: The strike was prolonged [...] There was a great difference between a ‘knobstick’ and a non-union man. The ‘knobstick’ would work for less money.
[UK](con. 1920) W. Woodruff Road to Nab End (2003) 46: They had taken him for a ‘knobstick’ (strike breaker) and almost killed him.

In compounds

knobstick wedding (n.)

a wedding forced on a couple when the woman has become pregnant out of wedlock [in an act of George II, any woman not married but already pregnant could be arrested and compelled to name the father. The same act empowered the parish officers to arrest the father and imprison him unless he married the mother or gave bail to appear when the child was born].

[UK]Guardian (London) 3 Oct. 3/1: A Derbyshire Knobstick Wedding. One of those illegal celebrations of matrimony, which are termed by the peasantry ‘knobstick weddings’ late took place at Worksworth. The parties forced into the blessed state are William Saxton, a slender-witted man, [...] and Lydia Brooks [...] who has a wooden leg.
[UK]Bell’s Wkly Messenger (London) 8 Dec. 5/4: One of those disgraceful occurrences which an established church only would tolerate, viz. a knob-stick wedding.
[UK]T. Miller Pictures Country Life 170: He had but married the poor woman that very morning — she was with child — it was a ‘knob-stick’ wedding — the parish gave him his choice, either to many her or go to prison.
[UK]Annals of Crime on Midland Circuit 106: I heard him say to his-sen, ‘This will finish my knob-stick wedding;’ then he made three strides to where she was sitting [...] and swinging the hedge-stake with both hands, hit her a clout on the head.
[UK]Leeds Times 5 Dec. 2/5: Old Bandy-legged jack [...] said it wouldn’t be the fijrst ‘knob-stick’ wedding where a man polished his wife off the same day.