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"The Last Handcuffs", fifth and last installment of five

Houdini in his writings had identified its type as a Tower and Lyon Double Lock. He described a special pick for opening the cuffs. The cellar pair differed as to the linking chain. Instead, each cuff had smaller links with longer chain strands, clasp ended, that could be interlocked readily. One of the cuffs was provided with an almost undetectable gimmick for opening, not needing the clumsier pick that had been publicized in exposures.

For years, the vague implications of the find, and the circumstances surrounding that occasion continued to vex me. The challenge reinforced my determination not to sell, trade or give it up, although many collectors and others tendered tempting offers.

One day I received a letter from the newly inaugurated Houdini Historical Center. The ingenious use of a handcuff to join together the letters "O U" in Houdini's name as depicted in the letterhead startled me. I rushed to compare it with my handcuff relic. Both cuffs were identical in shape.

There is no clear explanation as to what may have impelled the designer to create the iconographic likeness. The last pair of handcuffs from the Hardeen home had called attention to itself in the true Houdini tradition.

Note: a photo of the actual handcuffs discussed in this article was previously posted on this blog.




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