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The two firms said to have  been Hiatt’s main rivals were Froggatt and Reuben Craddock & Sons. Froggatt seem to have been taken over by Hiatt’s in about 1938 and R.C.S appear to have ceased trading around 1968. Most of the R.C.S handcuffs I have seen have borne the government arrow mark and usually a date. They are often of a much heavier construction than those of contemporary companies. The pair illustrated, dated 1941, has a typical "false strap hinge" shackle shape, but have a much longer linkage chain than usual, which is very rare.

The LaTrobe Handcuff Company had a short life. It was founded by Peter LaTrobe (whose family once owned Hiatt’s) in 1984 and ceased operations in 1991 when the company went bankrupt. However, a firm called Toye, Kenning & Spencer Ltd. started selling these handcuffs under their own brand name in 1988 and later took over the assets of LTH, so these handcuffs can be found with either company’s name on them. The handcuffs are now made for TKS by the Dexter Engineering Co. in North Wales.

There were several other British firms making handcuffs, including one called Nichols (no relation, so far as I know!), but most ceased operation well before WW2. There were also firms that sold handcuffs under their own names, such as Parker Field & Sons, but these were made for them by Hiatt’s. The only other British firm making handcuffs until recently is Civil Defence Supply of Lincoln. A pair of their standard handcuffs is shown next.

There are numerous companies in the United States of America that have made, or still are making restraints. The first American company whose handcuffs and leg-irons are illustrated is the American Handcuff Co. This company was originally called the American Munitions Co. and seems to have started manufacturing in about 1940. It was taken over by the Tobin Tool Co in 1962 and the name changed then. This company also made the handcuffs sold by Federal Laboratories.  It ceased operations in 2003.


Very often handcuffs are made in the U.S.A. by gun manufacturers, but the Bianchi handcuffs shown here were not made by the gun firm of that name.

The next pair of handcuffs are of a very famous design by Edward Bean and were made by a firm that is still in existence making guns, though it has long since ceased making handcuffs – Iver Johnson.

John Tower handcuffs and leg-irons are perhaps the best known of pre-Peerless types and were made until the late 1930s. They are very secure when double locked and relatively comfortable to wear, though this is not a consideration that has much influenced inventors and manufacturers until comparatively recent, litigious times!

Another well known modern gun maker that used to make restraints is Harrington & Richardson. They made the Lyman Cobb version of the Bean handcuff and also the H & R Super model 123, which is probably the best made and strongest swinging bow type of handcuff ever made in the U.S.A.

A much more famous gun manufacturer is Smith & Wesson, who still make restraints. When George Carney patented his swinging bow type handcuffs in 1912, the Peerless Handcuff Company was formed to market them. However, the company didn’t at first have the machine tools to make them, so they were made for them by S & W. That is why the first Peerless models, besides the company name also are marked that they are made by Smith & Wesson. The illustrations show Smith & Wesson model 94 high security handcuffs and "prisoners" in belly chain handcuffs and handcuffs fitted with a C & S Security Co. “Black Box” and belly chain. The security box is a device that fits over any standard model Peerless type handcuffs to make them rigid and to cover the key holes. The box is secured by the belly chain and the resulting restraint is very secure indeed.

Yet another gun manufacturer, Arms Tech, makes the Göncz range of handcuffs and leg-irons. These are unusual in that they have no swivels and some have only one link of chain, making them what the maker calls “semi-hinged”.

Most unusual is the Trilock range of handcuffs offered by the firm A.E.D.E.C. These are mostly made of plastic and the blue liners are removable for sterilisation. Three models are illustrated. A fourth model has a webbing linkage.

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