Posted 6 years ago
It is on this date, February 20, 1912 that the U.S. Patent Office issued Patent No. 1,017,955 to George A. Carney for a swinging bow ratchet-type adjustable handcuff. The application for this patent was filed on October 4, 1911 by G.A. Carney and granted on Feb. 20, 1912. Before his invention, handcuffs were heavy, bulky and had a fixed locking bow. Carney states in his application, "My invention relates more particularly to means for locking and unlocking the handcuff and it has been the special object of my invention to provide an automatic locking arm which need not be positively locked in order to keep it in place when the device is not in use, it being provided with means whereby it may be securely held in place when not in use and yet may be instantly and easily opened in order to admit the wrist."
George A. Carney had not implemented his new invention and in 1914 he sold his patent to James Milton Gill, the police commissioner of Springfield, Massachusetts. On June 22, 1914, James M. Gill formed the Peerless Handcuff Company. Mr. Gill, not having any experience in manufacturing, but knew there was an opportunity here to make a few bucks, sought out the help from his good friend Joseph H. Wesson of the Smith & Wesson gun manufacturing company in his home town. He knew between the two of them working together, both could make a profit.
Joseph Wesson looked over the Carney patent and was impressed by the the swing-through, pivoting, rotatable locking arm system but realized that the locking mechanism needed to be redesigned. On Oct. 6, 1914, J.H. Wesson filed a patent application for a improved lock for use in Carney's handcuff patent. On November 23, 1915, Patent No. 1,161,562 was granted to Joseph H. Wesson and assigned to James M. Gill both of Springfield, Mass.
It is presumed that shortly after J.H. Wesson filed for his patent in 1914 that Smith & Wesson started manufacturing the first handcuffs for the Peerless Handcuff Company. The combination of G.A. Carney's patent no. 1,017,955, now owned by J.M. Gill, and J.H. Wesson's patent no. 1,161,562 became the standard style that most modern handcuffs around the world have been designed after, with minor modifications.
I'm not sure when the official "National Handcuff Day" began but it was in honor of the G.A. Carney patent no. 1,017,955 granted on Feb. 20. 1912.
Shown above is an example of the first of these Peerless Handcuffs manufactured by Smith & Wesson in 1914-15. They have the lock design and curved lock-case design as drawn in J.H. Wesson's patent no. 1,161,562.
Thanks for looking & Happy Handcuff Day,