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A happy anniversary for law abiding citizens, but not so much for the criminally inclined!

History of National Handcuff Day

National Handcuff Day marks the occasion back in 1912, on February 20th, when a patent was granted to George A. Carney for a revolutionary new style of handcuff. This new design became the de facto restraint of law enforcement agencies worldwide.

Lightweight and easier to use than previous handcuffs, Carney’s revolutionary “swinging bow ratchet – type” handcuff design allows a subject to be secured without the use of a key. Before that handcuffs were heavy and bulky and there was no standard style at all. Carney’s design was always ready and easier to compare to older models.

Since that patent, most modern handcuffs around the world have been made with the same swing through design, with minor modifications. The Carney Patent was bought by James Milton Gill who then started the Peerless® Handcuff Company of Springfield, Mass. and Carney’s handcuffs have been manufactured ever since, becoming the irreplaceable tools of the trade for clients ranging from police officers to Harry Houdini-like escape artists.

How to celebrate National Handcuff Day

To celebrate this historic occasion, organisers present the Annual National Handcuff Day Contest. This takes the form of a quiz which tests a person’s knowledge on handcuffs. Successful participants have the opportunity to win a collectible 100th Anniversary Peerless Handcuff. Questions are asked about some of the following handcuff trivia:

  • the amount of nickel handcuffs produced by the Peerless® Handcuff Company
  • when the Peerless® Handcuff Company started selling handcuffs with their own original trademark
  • what country other tyoes of handcuffs, for example Rivolier handcuffs, originate from
  • what kind of handcuff replicas are used in China
  • which handcuff brand(s) were discontinued, and then brought back, and why
  • who introduced the Gill Flash Action manacle and when that happened
  • how much standard and other types of handcuffs weigh
  • how many pairs of thumbcuffs (yes, you read that right: thumbcuffs) have been produced by the Peerless® Handcuff Company
  • which handcuff models are made from stainless steel
  • what kind of handcuffs people suspected of conspiring against Abraham Lincoln wore

The collectible 100th Anniversary Peerless Handcuff to be one is a unique gift item. Although it is a limited edition collectible, this handcuff is built to withstand the daily rigors of law enforcement use. It has a highly polished nickel plated finish with special engravings and unique serial numbers, which makes it a really exciting prize for people interested in the history of law enforcement.

Some people, however, have started to take issue with the ratchet adjustable handcuff design, claiming its age of greatness is over. It is quite possible indeed to escape this kind of handcuff using a simple bobby pin to pick the lock and set oneself free almost immediately, they argue.

Another issue to take into consideration is that the Peerless® handcuff is also available to the masses to use illegally, and is often used, in fact; especially during home invasions.

Furthermore, every now and then the Peerless® handcuff is used by police impersonators to restrain innocent people. For all of these reasons, some people find it disturbing that while there have been so many incredible technological developments over the last few decades, the police are still using handcuffs based on a design from over 100 years ago.

These people believe that as great as Carney’s invention was, we should really move on to new ideas and designs, so that all that would be left of the Peerless® handcuffs would, in fact, be the holiday.

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