Inheriting my Dad's handcuff collection

Inheriting my Dad's handcuff collection

Joined: March 8th, 2017, 5:46 pm

March 8th, 2017, 6:12 pm #1

Hi all,

new here and I'd like to share some pictures and the story of my Dad's antique handcuff collection, which I inherited last year.

Dad was a longtime magic enthusiast who passed his interest in Harry Houdini on to me when I was a kid. About 35 years ago he was visiting an antique store in Nelson, New Zealand and he spotted an old poster of a magician doing the "sawing a lady in half" trick. He got talking with the store owner, who said that he had some more magic antiques at home. Dad said he'd like to see them so the owner left him in charge of the store (made sense at that time and place) and fetched back another, larger poster, a set of handcuffs and leg irons and a straightjacket.

It turned out that the store owner had wanted to work as a magician and escapologist when he was younger and had bought all these items via the "Exchange and Mart" newspaper, which was more or less the Craigslist of early-mid-20th century London. The seller was Harry Barton Turner, who had performed escapes and magic as "The Great Deville, the Wizard of the Army". The larger poster was also of Deville, doing his signature "electric chair" escape act. Dad bought it all.

I still have a scar at the base of my left thumb joint from casually testing one of the cuffs when I was a teenager and then realising that it was the only one that didn't have a key. It came off eventually - wasn't tightly locked - but it took some skin with it. In my early 20s I performed a few escapes from the jacket, including one hanging upside down from a crane in front of the Wellington Railway Station. That one was for a radio stunt contest, making me probably the first escape artist since the days of Houdini to perform a suspended straightjacket escape on radio.

The Deville cuffs, shackles etc. have now passed down to me. I modified the display case shown in the pictures out of an old CD stand. I don't know much about antique cuffs but I think most of them are from the late 19th and early 20th centuries - there are a couple of much more modern cuffs in there as well, which I vaguely recall being added to the collection at some time over the past few decades. As far as I can make out, only the leg irons are "gaffed" or gimmicked - both the locks can snap shut and appear to be securely locked, but they'll open if you give them a sharp tug.

Anyway, I hope some of this may be of interest to folks here.

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Joined: March 8th, 2017, 5:46 pm

March 8th, 2017, 6:19 pm #2

Another try at posting the images:





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Joined: July 20th, 2011, 2:58 pm

March 8th, 2017, 7:04 pm #3

Hi all,

new here and I'd like to share some pictures and the story of my Dad's antique handcuff collection, which I inherited last year.

Dad was a longtime magic enthusiast who passed his interest in Harry Houdini on to me when I was a kid. About 35 years ago he was visiting an antique store in Nelson, New Zealand and he spotted an old poster of a magician doing the "sawing a lady in half" trick. He got talking with the store owner, who said that he had some more magic antiques at home. Dad said he'd like to see them so the owner left him in charge of the store (made sense at that time and place) and fetched back another, larger poster, a set of handcuffs and leg irons and a straightjacket.

It turned out that the store owner had wanted to work as a magician and escapologist when he was younger and had bought all these items via the "Exchange and Mart" newspaper, which was more or less the Craigslist of early-mid-20th century London. The seller was Harry Barton Turner, who had performed escapes and magic as "The Great Deville, the Wizard of the Army". The larger poster was also of Deville, doing his signature "electric chair" escape act. Dad bought it all.

I still have a scar at the base of my left thumb joint from casually testing one of the cuffs when I was a teenager and then realising that it was the only one that didn't have a key. It came off eventually - wasn't tightly locked - but it took some skin with it. In my early 20s I performed a few escapes from the jacket, including one hanging upside down from a crane in front of the Wellington Railway Station. That one was for a radio stunt contest, making me probably the first escape artist since the days of Houdini to perform a suspended straightjacket escape on radio.

The Deville cuffs, shackles etc. have now passed down to me. I modified the display case shown in the pictures out of an old CD stand. I don't know much about antique cuffs but I think most of them are from the late 19th and early 20th centuries - there are a couple of much more modern cuffs in there as well, which I vaguely recall being added to the collection at some time over the past few decades. As far as I can make out, only the leg irons are "gaffed" or gimmicked - both the locks can snap shut and appear to be securely locked, but they'll open if you give them a sharp tug.

Anyway, I hope some of this may be of interest to folks here.

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A very nice collection with rich history!
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Joined: August 30th, 2003, 2:36 pm

March 8th, 2017, 7:42 pm #4

Hi all,

new here and I'd like to share some pictures and the story of my Dad's antique handcuff collection, which I inherited last year.

Dad was a longtime magic enthusiast who passed his interest in Harry Houdini on to me when I was a kid. About 35 years ago he was visiting an antique store in Nelson, New Zealand and he spotted an old poster of a magician doing the "sawing a lady in half" trick. He got talking with the store owner, who said that he had some more magic antiques at home. Dad said he'd like to see them so the owner left him in charge of the store (made sense at that time and place) and fetched back another, larger poster, a set of handcuffs and leg irons and a straightjacket.

It turned out that the store owner had wanted to work as a magician and escapologist when he was younger and had bought all these items via the "Exchange and Mart" newspaper, which was more or less the Craigslist of early-mid-20th century London. The seller was Harry Barton Turner, who had performed escapes and magic as "The Great Deville, the Wizard of the Army". The larger poster was also of Deville, doing his signature "electric chair" escape act. Dad bought it all.

I still have a scar at the base of my left thumb joint from casually testing one of the cuffs when I was a teenager and then realising that it was the only one that didn't have a key. It came off eventually - wasn't tightly locked - but it took some skin with it. In my early 20s I performed a few escapes from the jacket, including one hanging upside down from a crane in front of the Wellington Railway Station. That one was for a radio stunt contest, making me probably the first escape artist since the days of Houdini to perform a suspended straightjacket escape on radio.

The Deville cuffs, shackles etc. have now passed down to me. I modified the display case shown in the pictures out of an old CD stand. I don't know much about antique cuffs but I think most of them are from the late 19th and early 20th centuries - there are a couple of much more modern cuffs in there as well, which I vaguely recall being added to the collection at some time over the past few decades. As far as I can make out, only the leg irons are "gaffed" or gimmicked - both the locks can snap shut and appear to be securely locked, but they'll open if you give them a sharp tug.

Anyway, I hope some of this may be of interest to folks here.

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Nice story and nice collection. Thanks for sharing.
Joe
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Joined: January 17th, 2016, 10:08 pm

March 8th, 2017, 7:48 pm #5

Hi all,

new here and I'd like to share some pictures and the story of my Dad's antique handcuff collection, which I inherited last year.

Dad was a longtime magic enthusiast who passed his interest in Harry Houdini on to me when I was a kid. About 35 years ago he was visiting an antique store in Nelson, New Zealand and he spotted an old poster of a magician doing the "sawing a lady in half" trick. He got talking with the store owner, who said that he had some more magic antiques at home. Dad said he'd like to see them so the owner left him in charge of the store (made sense at that time and place) and fetched back another, larger poster, a set of handcuffs and leg irons and a straightjacket.

It turned out that the store owner had wanted to work as a magician and escapologist when he was younger and had bought all these items via the "Exchange and Mart" newspaper, which was more or less the Craigslist of early-mid-20th century London. The seller was Harry Barton Turner, who had performed escapes and magic as "The Great Deville, the Wizard of the Army". The larger poster was also of Deville, doing his signature "electric chair" escape act. Dad bought it all.

I still have a scar at the base of my left thumb joint from casually testing one of the cuffs when I was a teenager and then realising that it was the only one that didn't have a key. It came off eventually - wasn't tightly locked - but it took some skin with it. In my early 20s I performed a few escapes from the jacket, including one hanging upside down from a crane in front of the Wellington Railway Station. That one was for a radio stunt contest, making me probably the first escape artist since the days of Houdini to perform a suspended straightjacket escape on radio.

The Deville cuffs, shackles etc. have now passed down to me. I modified the display case shown in the pictures out of an old CD stand. I don't know much about antique cuffs but I think most of them are from the late 19th and early 20th centuries - there are a couple of much more modern cuffs in there as well, which I vaguely recall being added to the collection at some time over the past few decades. As far as I can make out, only the leg irons are "gaffed" or gimmicked - both the locks can snap shut and appear to be securely locked, but they'll open if you give them a sharp tug.

Anyway, I hope some of this may be of interest to folks here.

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Nice little selection you have going there! I really like the display as well. Welcome to the forum!
-Richard Knip-
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Paul Davies
Paul Davies

March 8th, 2017, 9:38 pm #6

Hi all,

new here and I'd like to share some pictures and the story of my Dad's antique handcuff collection, which I inherited last year.

Dad was a longtime magic enthusiast who passed his interest in Harry Houdini on to me when I was a kid. About 35 years ago he was visiting an antique store in Nelson, New Zealand and he spotted an old poster of a magician doing the "sawing a lady in half" trick. He got talking with the store owner, who said that he had some more magic antiques at home. Dad said he'd like to see them so the owner left him in charge of the store (made sense at that time and place) and fetched back another, larger poster, a set of handcuffs and leg irons and a straightjacket.

It turned out that the store owner had wanted to work as a magician and escapologist when he was younger and had bought all these items via the "Exchange and Mart" newspaper, which was more or less the Craigslist of early-mid-20th century London. The seller was Harry Barton Turner, who had performed escapes and magic as "The Great Deville, the Wizard of the Army". The larger poster was also of Deville, doing his signature "electric chair" escape act. Dad bought it all.

I still have a scar at the base of my left thumb joint from casually testing one of the cuffs when I was a teenager and then realising that it was the only one that didn't have a key. It came off eventually - wasn't tightly locked - but it took some skin with it. In my early 20s I performed a few escapes from the jacket, including one hanging upside down from a crane in front of the Wellington Railway Station. That one was for a radio stunt contest, making me probably the first escape artist since the days of Houdini to perform a suspended straightjacket escape on radio.

The Deville cuffs, shackles etc. have now passed down to me. I modified the display case shown in the pictures out of an old CD stand. I don't know much about antique cuffs but I think most of them are from the late 19th and early 20th centuries - there are a couple of much more modern cuffs in there as well, which I vaguely recall being added to the collection at some time over the past few decades. As far as I can make out, only the leg irons are "gaffed" or gimmicked - both the locks can snap shut and appear to be securely locked, but they'll open if you give them a sharp tug.

Anyway, I hope some of this may be of interest to folks here.

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Glad you inherited a desire to display them as well. It is a good little collection including a scare Hiatt flexible handcuff. No junk among them!
Paul /|\
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Joined: March 14th, 2017, 8:31 pm

March 14th, 2017, 9:03 pm #7

Hi all,

new here and I'd like to share some pictures and the story of my Dad's antique handcuff collection, which I inherited last year.

Dad was a longtime magic enthusiast who passed his interest in Harry Houdini on to me when I was a kid. About 35 years ago he was visiting an antique store in Nelson, New Zealand and he spotted an old poster of a magician doing the "sawing a lady in half" trick. He got talking with the store owner, who said that he had some more magic antiques at home. Dad said he'd like to see them so the owner left him in charge of the store (made sense at that time and place) and fetched back another, larger poster, a set of handcuffs and leg irons and a straightjacket.

It turned out that the store owner had wanted to work as a magician and escapologist when he was younger and had bought all these items via the "Exchange and Mart" newspaper, which was more or less the Craigslist of early-mid-20th century London. The seller was Harry Barton Turner, who had performed escapes and magic as "The Great Deville, the Wizard of the Army". The larger poster was also of Deville, doing his signature "electric chair" escape act. Dad bought it all.

I still have a scar at the base of my left thumb joint from casually testing one of the cuffs when I was a teenager and then realising that it was the only one that didn't have a key. It came off eventually - wasn't tightly locked - but it took some skin with it. In my early 20s I performed a few escapes from the jacket, including one hanging upside down from a crane in front of the Wellington Railway Station. That one was for a radio stunt contest, making me probably the first escape artist since the days of Houdini to perform a suspended straightjacket escape on radio.

The Deville cuffs, shackles etc. have now passed down to me. I modified the display case shown in the pictures out of an old CD stand. I don't know much about antique cuffs but I think most of them are from the late 19th and early 20th centuries - there are a couple of much more modern cuffs in there as well, which I vaguely recall being added to the collection at some time over the past few decades. As far as I can make out, only the leg irons are "gaffed" or gimmicked - both the locks can snap shut and appear to be securely locked, but they'll open if you give them a sharp tug.

Anyway, I hope some of this may be of interest to folks here.

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Are the Smith & Wesson model 94 cups available?
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Joined: March 8th, 2017, 5:46 pm

March 15th, 2017, 3:40 pm #8

Hi all,

new here and I'd like to share some pictures and the story of my Dad's antique handcuff collection, which I inherited last year.

Dad was a longtime magic enthusiast who passed his interest in Harry Houdini on to me when I was a kid. About 35 years ago he was visiting an antique store in Nelson, New Zealand and he spotted an old poster of a magician doing the "sawing a lady in half" trick. He got talking with the store owner, who said that he had some more magic antiques at home. Dad said he'd like to see them so the owner left him in charge of the store (made sense at that time and place) and fetched back another, larger poster, a set of handcuffs and leg irons and a straightjacket.

It turned out that the store owner had wanted to work as a magician and escapologist when he was younger and had bought all these items via the "Exchange and Mart" newspaper, which was more or less the Craigslist of early-mid-20th century London. The seller was Harry Barton Turner, who had performed escapes and magic as "The Great Deville, the Wizard of the Army". The larger poster was also of Deville, doing his signature "electric chair" escape act. Dad bought it all.

I still have a scar at the base of my left thumb joint from casually testing one of the cuffs when I was a teenager and then realising that it was the only one that didn't have a key. It came off eventually - wasn't tightly locked - but it took some skin with it. In my early 20s I performed a few escapes from the jacket, including one hanging upside down from a crane in front of the Wellington Railway Station. That one was for a radio stunt contest, making me probably the first escape artist since the days of Houdini to perform a suspended straightjacket escape on radio.

The Deville cuffs, shackles etc. have now passed down to me. I modified the display case shown in the pictures out of an old CD stand. I don't know much about antique cuffs but I think most of them are from the late 19th and early 20th centuries - there are a couple of much more modern cuffs in there as well, which I vaguely recall being added to the collection at some time over the past few decades. As far as I can make out, only the leg irons are "gaffed" or gimmicked - both the locks can snap shut and appear to be securely locked, but they'll open if you give them a sharp tug.

Anyway, I hope some of this may be of interest to folks here.

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I don't know which ones those are, but either way, I'd like to keep the collection intact for sentiment's sake.
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