In 1843, the wardroom warrant officers were given commissioned status, while in 1853 the lower-grade warrant officers were absorbed into the new rate of Chief Petty Officer, both classes thereby ceasing to be warrant officers. By the time of the First World War the standing warrant officers had been divided into two grades: Warrant Officers and Chief Warrant Officers (or "Commissioned Warrant Officers", an tautology that was replaced in 1920 with "Commissioned Officers from Warrant Rank"). Their ranks had by then expanded with the adoption of modern technology in the Navy to include Telegraphists, Electricians, Shipwrights, Artificer Engineers, etc. Both WOs and CWOs messed in the Warrant Officers' mess rather than the wardroom.
Until 1949, WOs and CWOs carried swords, were saluted by ratings, had their own mess and ranked between Sub-Lieutenants and Midshipmen. In 1949, the ranks of WO and CWO were changed to "Commissioned Officer" and "Senior Commissioned Officer", ranking together with Sub-Lieutenants and Lieutenants respectively, and they were admitted to the wardroom, the WOs messes closing down. Collectively these officers were known as "Branch Officers", being retitled "Special Duties" officers in 1956. In 1998, the Special Duties list was merged with the General list of officers in the Royal Navy, all officers now having the same opportunity to reach the highest commissioned ranks.
I'm also led to believe that a Warrant Officer (now WO1) cannot be reverted back to CPO or lose his/her rate. However, I don't know whether this now also applies to WO2s (formerly Charge Chiefs).
WOs can still carry swords though (as opposed to cutlasses), but the sword traditionally has a black grip instead of a white grip. Mind you, the only ones I've ever seen with swords are WOMAAs - perhaps Executive Warrant Officers will now be able to carry them?
The only WO to carry a sword is the WOMAA, he having been in the rate of MAA prior to promotion.. The grip differentiating to Officers by being black and having no lions head on the pommel. The sword knot is identical. Other WO's do not carry swords. Sword handles are made from shark skin.
The MAA remains the only rating on the lower deck to carry a sword in recognition of his unique position in the navy. Prior to uniform changes in the 50's the MAA was the only lower deck rating to wear a frock coat.
The carrying of a swagger stick by WO's is an adopted fashion and not a uniform requisite.