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National Museum of Australia

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Cast iron 'D' shaped screw lock handcuffs with key

1996.0016.0011

Cast iron 'D' shaped screw lock handcuffs with key

Object information

Physical description

A pair of metal handcuffs consisting of two 'D' shaped cuffs joined by a short chain. Each cuff has the trademark "HIATT BESS WARRANTED WROUGHT 17' BRITISH MADE HARD". The locking mechanism appears at the end of each straight side and a screw enables each cuff to be loosened or tightened as required. The base of each straight side has a circular pattern with letter 'A' in middle. The cuffs are accompanied by a hollow cylindrical key which has "378 / HIATT" stamped into both sides.

Statement of significance

The Sotheby's Collection: Convict and Gaol Memorabilia, Van Diemen's Land consists of textiles, documents, photographs and objects from Campbell Street Goal, Hobart, and relate to the Imperial convict and colonial and state penal system from 1837 to 1960.

The features of the collection are a convict, black and yellow ' chain gang' jacket, leather convict side cap, a pair ofleg irons, a pair of screw lock handcuffs, a black rubber truncheon c1940, as well as 19th century booklets and documents from the gaol.

The experiences of the transported Imperial convicts are part of our history and our folklore, but real objects that allow us an insight into the day-to-day lives of the Imperial convicts transported to the Australian colonies are extremely rare. Very few known examples of Imperial convict clothing and head dress exist and even the much more robust items like shackles and leg irons are scarce . The significance of this collection, therefore cannot be understated.

Object information

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