Handcuffs Through the Ages by Linda Broday

sceneryWhen it came to restraining outlaws and criminals, nothing was more useful than a trusty set of handcuffs. Lord knows the old west saw more than its share of the criminal element due to lawmen being few and far between.
The ratio was probably something like 1 to 500, especially in the less settled regions. Like Alaska.
This first image was what they would’ve had universally here in the U.S. back in those days.


Some of these would’ve been very tortuous. But then, criminals needed a deterrent of some sort and still do.

Historical_Handcuffs-1     Historical_Handcuffs-3Historical_Handcuffs-2









These were downright barbaric. I pity anyone who had their wrists inserted into these. Oh my dear Lord!











And this last pair looks really strange but they were extremely cruel. The length was made of intertwined wire or other stiff material. They were drawn tightly around the wrist, either one or both, and held by a man of the law. If the lawman wanted to inflict excruciating pain, he would twist until the wire cut into the lawbreaker’s flesh. Or he could yank.


Then when they GOT you to the jail, things went from bad to worse.
As you can see punishment wasn’t something they took lightly back then. And yet, they had an abundance of crime. Almost the same as it is today. Our prisons are full.

What is your favorite lawman or outlaw in a book or on the screen?

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Here in the Texas Panhandle, we do love our cowboys. There's just something about a man in a Stetson and jeans that makes my heart beat faster. I'm not much of a cook but I love to do genealogy and I'm a bit of a rock hound. I'm also a NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance. You can contact me through my website and I'd love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. HAPPY READING!

19 thoughts on “Handcuffs Through the Ages by Linda Broday”

  1. Ouch! They hurt just looking at them. Thank you for sharing Linda.

    Let’s see my favorite lawman? I love old westerns and Matt Dillon was a great sheriff. As far as books, I just finished a book entitled A Promise to Protect by Patricia Bradley and I fell in love with the acting Sheriff Ben Logan. He had it all!

    Have a blessed day!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

    • Hi Cindy……..Thanks for coming by to chat. Like you, I would’ve hated to wear any of these. Sure was painful. You know, Matt Dillion was one of my favorite lawmen too. He was tough yet fair. I loved his relationship with Miss Kitty. I wanted them to get married so badly. I haven’t read that Patricia Bradley book but it sounds really good.

      I hope you have a fantastic day!

  2. My first romance book had a marshall, Noah Campbell, that I liked, LaVyrle Spencer’s FORGIVING. He had his hands full with the Ladies Temperance Society and with newspaper business woman, Sarah Merritt.

    Movies -Loved Paul Newman as Butch Cassidy

    • Hi Laurie……..Thank you for coming to hang out. Oh yes, I had forgotten about Lavyrle Spencer’s Forgiving! That was such a memorable book as so many of hers was. John Wayne played some great marshal and sheriff roles. I think Rooster Cogburn has to be one of my all-time favorites. He was great with Katherine Hepburn!

      Have a great day and do something fun!

    • Hi Sherri……..Yep, those sure would’ve put the fear of God in me. They were to be feared. But the sad part is that wasn’t the worst part of getting arrested.

      Wishing you a wonderful day, Filly Sister!

  3. I would have to say my favorite lawman on TV was the Rifleman. 🙂 Wonder how many remember him with his square jaw and the sawed off shotgun he so readily sent blazing. Interesting blog, sister!

    • Hi Miss Jan……..So glad to have my sister come by! I remember our obsession with TV westerns. Lord, how Mama griped at us, but I think she secretly enjoyed them too. The Rifleman was a great show. He was tough and yet he had a soft side. He always gave people a break when they earned one. I loved his relationship with his son. Thanks for the memories. I sure miss those westerns.

      Love you!

  4. Love westerns…books or movies. So many times the characters portrayed by John Wayne was a favorite. Not sure if it was the character or Mr. Wayne. Rooster Cogburn was a real favorite

    • Hi Connie J……..Thanks for stopping by. Yes, you can’t beat John Wayne. I mentioned Rooster Cogburn earlier in the day but then True Grit was about one of the best. They sure don’t movies like they used to. Darn it!

      Thanks again for your comment!

  5. These are all pretty amazing! And you might have done a ton of research to find all these wonderful pictures! Thanks for this awesome post. I think Rooster Cogburn is my favorite movie lawman. He could do anything–even drunk! LOL

    • Hi Cheryl……You’re absolutely right about Rooster Cogburn! I laughed so much in that movie and loved how he called Katherine Hepburn sister. That was such a special story. John Wayne was a very special man.

      Thanks for coming by!

    • Hi Shay…….Thank you for your comment. I did not know handcuffs were called ‘esposas.’ I learn something every day. Appreciate you telling me that. I hope you have a wonderful evening!

    • Hi Melanie……I’m glad you enjoyed it. I don’t think my info appealed to many. I agree that Chuck Connors made a great lawman. He was tough as nails and never quit his pursuit of justice, but he was also tender and wise with his son.

  6. I had not seen some of these style “handcuffs” before. 40 years ago we frequented a junk shop in Massachusetts near my husband’s aunt’s home. We would stop in whenever we were down to visit family. He had a suitcase style carrier that opened to display a handcuff collection. It was on a shelf behind the counter way above our heads. I so wanted to get it down and check them out. We asked several times about them, but they weren’t for sale. He would have needed a ladder to get them down, so I had to be curious from afar. The store has since closed and we’ll never know what happened to them. It would have been an interesting collection, but not one I needed.

    Anyway, for tonight, my favorite TV lawmen are James T. West and Artemus Gordon played by Robert Conrad and Ross Martin in THE WILD, WILD WEST. The show was just fun.

  7. Hi Patricia……I sure wish you could’ve looked at that collection up close. Bet it was amazing. Too bad the shop closed. I love going to junk stores! You never know what you’ll find. I bet you love the TV show American Pickers. The stuff they run across is fascinating.

    I’d forgotten about Wild, Wild West! Thanks for mentioning it. I loved that show. James West…oh man! I had a huge crush on him. I thought he was the most handsome man. And yes, the show was really fun too.

  8. Hi Linda! This is totally neat! I love learning this sort of history and the like. I’m awed. This rocks. Saving this post!
    Always, Cathie

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