Do you know what this object is and what it was used for?
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Come-Along Handcuffs, c. 1872 to 1950
By Kirsten Christopherson, Volunteer, Galt Museum & Archives
"Come-Alongs," also known as "Chain Grips" or "Chain Nippers," are an early form of police restraint used from the late 19th to mid 20th century. The late Police Chief, Jim Carpenter, wrote in his book, The Badge and the Blotter, that when he began his career with the Lethbridge City Police in 1940, he was issued "come-along chains" amongst other things.
Come-alongs have two "T" shaped handles, the larger of which is inset, allowing for one "T" handle to be inserted into the other. To use a come-along, an officer wrapped the chain component of the handcuff around one of the detainee's wrists, combining and twisting the now interlocked handle, thereby shortening the chain. This shortening action caused discomfort and pain for the detainee, persuading him or her to "come-along" by force.
One can imagine the issues officers faced using come-alongs, as it only controlled one of the detainee's two hands. The restraint "tool" was eventually discarded by police as the traditional handcuff rose in prominence. This change provided increased safety and peace of mind for both officers and their detainees.
Donated by J.B. Simpson
Congratulations to Lethbridge living online user Mecole, winner of the March/April "What is it" contest. Watch for the next "What is it" contest coming May 6.