Classic Victorian Darby Chain Handcuffs


Origin: English
Period: Victorian
Provenance: Vernon Cross Esq.
Date: c.1880
Inner Cuff Diameters: 2 x 2.75 inches
Height with key: 4.5 inches
Width: 5 inches

Fashioned by makers Hiatt, Nichols or most likely Thomas Froggatt, these handcuffs are clearly stamped HARD, WARRANTED WROUGHT with the marked number 56 also present. The key style here denotes that these cuffs are certainly pre 1900.

Thomas Froggatt & Co. became Hiatt's main competitor in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In 1937 Thomas Froggatt sold the company to Hiatt, but Froggatt continued on as employee. He finally retired in 1948 at the age of 84. Froggatt was said to have been a good friend of Harry Houdini and to have supplied Houdini with many of the handcuffs and leg irons that he used in his act.

The traditional Darby handcuff is reminiscent of gas lit Victorian melodramas and this example is no different, being in good working order and displaying a gentle patina.

This item was owned by Vernon Cross Esq. whose family ran a tea shop in Ely, Cambridgeshire and would exchange tea for interesting bygones.