Hiatt Bean/Cobb handcuffs

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Posted by Chris Gower on May 07, 2001 at 17:23:37:

Have just returned from The Magic Circle Auction in London where I have just bought the 'Unique Collection of Handcuffs and restraints plus numerous other keys and opening devices of James Crossini'.
Hardly a unique collection - consisting of 9 pairs of handcuffs and two sets of leg-irons. However, what did interest me was the set of Hiatt Cobb handcuffs in superb condition. Have never seen a set of these and have just spent the evening doing some research. Looking in Houdinis book 'Handcuff Secrets' he tells about #36 New English style Cobb cuff. He says the only difference is the teeth on the English cuff is longer. I now think a lot of history needs rewriting. The book published in 1909 / 1910? says that Bean denied anything to do with them. We have all assumed that he is referring to the Towers Bean Pattern that was patented in 1910. So if Capt. E.D. Bean died on December 13th 1903 that is not possible!!!
My problem now is firstly getting some good photos of them to put on the site and secondly getting a virtually new pair of Cobb cuffs. Might sound silly but the two pairs I have in my collection are both unplated they are both marked with the patent date of 1899 (unlike the Hiatt set) but both sets on close examination show signs of wear mainly the long gap after the 4th notch. Can somebody tell me if the 4 teeth on Cobb cuffs end with room for a fifth notch to be cut (basicaly this would make them look neater even though the fifth notch would not engage. Certainly the Hiatt pair open with the standard US key but the keyway is larger (definately not filed out) so when I cut the key it will not fit the US model but as said the US key will fit the UK model - perhaps the manufacturers were advised to produce a different key? The other difference is there is no patent number on the lockcase. Were all US Cobb cuffs stamped? There are numbers stamped on the hinges.
Part of the lot also include an bound edition of The Strand Magazine with the article written by Inspector Moser. It contains the 6 issues from 1894 I am sure that Hiatt & Co saw this article so may well have been influenced 13 years latter to introduce their American models.
Would just like to finally say that James Crossini was an International Star who works many major venues and unfortunately he died alone last year and was not found for over two weeks. I will try to get more info from Nick Janson 'The worlds Most Handcuffed Man' who retired last year as they did the circuits together one normally up North the other down South.
Look forward to receiving any comments.

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