Early Peerless & Smith & Wesson

Joined: May 18th, 2010, 2:28 am

July 10th, 2018, 7:49 pm #1

I know the discussion of the early beginnings of the Peerless Handcuff Company & the relationship between Smith & Wesson, has been debated here,,  on this forum, long before I became a member & some after I became a member. I didn't have any concrete evidence to offer (and still would like to have more), until I had the opportunity to view, organize, and scan some documents that were in the personal collection of the longtime employee & historian of Smith & Wesson. 

Most of what I read here, was that it was the consensus of most, that Smith & Wesson wasn't involved in manufacturing handcuffs for Peerless until the 1920's. There was questions about who possibly manufactured the early ones that were stamped, MFGD. BY SMITH & WESSON. I still do not have any concrete evidence who manufactured these, but I do have some personal thoughts, and are sure some of you (not sure how many of those involved in these discussions are still active on this forum) have your own opinions. If you would oblige me to offer my opinions & information I have viewed, I think it might be of interest to some.

First, my opinions.
The patents on these early models, The Patent Model & the Model 1 were the manufactured by using the original patent that James M. Gill purchased from George A. Carney, Feb. 20,  1912, and the improved lock design to be used in Carneys' patent that was filed on Oct. 6, 1914 by Joseph H. Wesson and granted on Nov. 23, 1915. My thoughts are that James Gill, having this relationship with Joseph Wesson and sharing his newly acquired patent with Joseph, and allowing him to design a lock mechanism that would improve his new handcuff product, and knowing the manufacturing success of Smith & Wesson, that he would expect S&W to physically manufacture his product.

It is also interesting to me, that on the "Patent Models" (the curved lock case, two right hand cuffs) that, MFGD. BY SMITH & WESSON PAT. FEB. 20.1912, appears on the front side of the cuffs, and THE PEERLESS HANDCUFF CO. SPRINGFIELD MASS. is on the rear side of the cuffs. Was this an advertising ploy by S&W to place their brand name up front? Or, was it Peerless wanting an established, recognizable name brand up front on their new product that did not have manufacturing recognition.
On the Model 1, versions 1 & 2 (now with left & right hand cuffs), you will notice that these stampings are now reversed, with THE PEERLESS HANDCUFF CO. on the front side & MFGD. BY SMITH & WESSON on the rear side.
It's just hard for me to accept, that Smith & Wesson, having a very successful manufacturing industry, did not manufacture these in house for the Peerless Handcuff Company.

Now you have the Model 1, Version 3, the first to have the right & left hand cuffs, joined together with two chain links, instead of the one large single link as used in the previous examples. Also, the stamping, MFGD. BY SMITH & WESSON is no loner used. 
This is where the documents I viewed comes into play. The oldest document observed is dated Mar. 1917. This 3-page document is titled:
Manufactured by Smith & Wesson, Mar. 1917
It shows the number of parts per pair, the Operation, the Price per part & the price per pair.
On page 2, under Link, it shows the 2-links. Also on page 3, under Automatic Screw Machine Parts, it ends with 4-----Groove pins. on a later parts document dated February 1924, the last item listed under Automatic Screw Machine Parts, ends with 2----Double lock pins (which coincides with the Model 2 push-pin double lock design). So this Mar. 1917 document coincides with the Model 1, Version 3 examples.

This is a start in establishing printed documents between Peerless and Smith & Wesson & I have scanned documents from Feb. 1924 through Nov. 15, 1940 when Smith & Wesson discontinued their relationship with Peerless. I hope this post will be of some interest to those that collect the modern cuffs.
Attached if possible, are reduced size scans of the Mar. 1917 document. 


scan0026.jpg scan0027.jpg scan0028.jpg

Joined: August 30th, 2003, 2:36 pm

July 11th, 2018, 11:31 pm #2

Thanks for the very interesting post and the interesting 1917 document.

Joined: May 18th, 2010, 2:28 am

July 12th, 2018, 1:15 am #3

Joe, Thanks for the comment.
I don't know what the rules here are about advertising, but I put together a book of over 50 documents, contracts, in-house Smith & Wesson manufacturing memos, letters between Peerless and S&W, etc. that go to the end of the relationship between Peerless and Smith & Wesson on Nov. 15, 1940.
It can be found on Amazon eBooks, kindle store under the title, Early Peerless Handcuff Company With Smith & Wesson.
If this post is not acceptable, please feel free to delete it.

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