How are whips made?
In the old days where there was no plastic:
Thumb-width leather straps were wrapped around a center rod. Later, braided straps were added to form the 'tails':
The < part is where the 'tails' would extend from, and the = is the rod with the leather wrapped around it.
For an actual video on how they are made:science.discovery.com/tv-shows/how-its-made/videos/how-its-made-whips.htm