Thoughts on a rare item needed.

Joined: April 23rd, 2006, 3:37 pm

September 15th, 2018, 7:20 am #1

I recently have established a cooperation with the Swedish Prison museum. This is the very best restraint museum here in Sweden. Over time, the museum has gathered restraints and prison related items from former prisons,
donated to them both from the government but also from former employees in the penetentiary system. Many of these items are very old.
In the future, we are planning for some mutual projects as restraint exhibitions with parts from my private collection.

In the past week, I spent two days there, digging throug their extensive item stock including many boxes of restraints, padlocks , keys and chains.. The selection of restraints are specimen used in Swedish prisons.
Most of these restraints are not really rare except from one piece I've never seen before, a neck collar

Neck collars are not seen very often and I don't even think it has been used in Swedish prisons. This specimen was given to them from a former warden as a gift when he retired but he can't tell anything about the history.

This neck collar keeps up a very high quality of craftmanship and it's most likely not manufactured in Sweden. The construction is very light and made with great precision and it's adjustable in three positions.
My guess is that this neck collar is of German origin but that's just my guess.

Thoughts about origin and time of manufacture are highly appreciated. Steve Santini, this is your topic! What do you think?

Lars

www.holstcollection.com




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Joined: May 2nd, 2018, 7:05 pm

September 16th, 2018, 2:50 am #2

Hi Lars. My opinion would be 16th - 17th century. I have some German items in my collection from this period that show the same hand forged construction with rather thin working material. Restraints made like this are not weak at all despite the thin walled material. My thinking is that the smiths who made these must have tempered the iron to give it a good deal of strength to resist bending while at the same time not being so hard they would become brittle and be prone to breaking. Whoever forged this was a master, no doubt. Very interesting that this is adjustable. Very cool item. Cheers, Steve
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Joined: April 23rd, 2006, 3:37 pm

September 16th, 2018, 7:39 am #3

Hi Steve,

Thanks a lot for the information!

Do I get you right that you agree to the German origin?

As you say; the quality and craftmanship is excellent and made by a master. Only Germany kept up to this quality at that time.

Please let me know your thoughts about how this restraint may have been used. Neck collars are rare and more often related to slavery than prison use.
In addition, this is a small neck collar, measuring not more than 13 cm in its widest position. My thoughts goes to women or even children.

What do you think?

Cheers,

Lars
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Joined: November 8th, 2009, 3:30 pm

September 16th, 2018, 8:05 am #4

A very interesting piece, I would go as far as saying central-/northern European. 

I have one cup collar (unfortunately with the cup missing) which is 14cm across and over 2 inches high. The other set I recently acquired is from the UK and consists of two locking collars with a 6 foot (190cm) chain. They are about 15cm across each, a similar picture is known from a Museum in Ghana I think. 

https://www.magentacloud.de/share/wvjbvnker0

Some of the larger types may also have been leg cuffs to be fitted over boots. There were also thick, iron dog collars common in the 16 and 1700s. 

The Freising prison museum lists 2 collars in its former inventory, so they were used.

Nils
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Joined: May 2nd, 2018, 7:05 pm

September 16th, 2018, 2:50 pm #5

I agree with Nils about collars being used. Collars did see a lot of use in the 15th - 18th centuries even though few survive today. Neck collars were not only associated with slavery. They were used to fasten prisoners to dungeon cell walls, they were used to fasten them to public pillories and posts for public shaming, and they were used when they were conducted to places of judgement or execution. It is hard to pin down an exact country of origin. Germans were certainly capable of such fine restraint forging work but so were the Swiss. In fact, during this period the Swiss were making wrist cuffs that were adjustable with slots so perhaps this is Swiss. Cheers, Steve  
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Joined: May 2nd, 2018, 7:05 pm

September 16th, 2018, 2:54 pm #6

P.S. Yes, small neck collars were used on women and even children. I would think during the witch hunting crazes that swept across Europe in the 15th - 18th centuries such collars would have seen use as women and children were imprisoned and executed for being witches. I have a few very small cup shackle restraints in my collection that were used on female and child sized wrists.
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Joined: April 23rd, 2006, 3:37 pm

September 16th, 2018, 8:50 pm #7

Thank you very much for your input, Steve and Nils!

Cheers,

Lars
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