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National Handcuff Day 2014: Feb. 20 celebrates birthday of modern cuffs in U.S.

Handcuffs used to celebrate National Handcuff Day
Handcuffs used to celebrate National Handcuff Day
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

National Handcuff Day is upon us this 2014, and whether you’ve been in trouble with the law or just like some kinky fun in your private time, today is a perfect day to celebrate. Each year here in the U.S., Feb. 20 marks the birthday of the modern cuffs, and they have no doubt played an integral role in our law enforcement system since their inception in 1912. National Whatever Day News provides a new look at why we designate this day for handcuffs this Thursday, Feb. 20, and shares some interesting facts about these restraining items.

While they have seemingly been around forever, the modern handcuffs we use today were actually only invented back in 1912 by George A. Carney. This National Handcuff Day 2014, which is celebrated year to year on Feb. 20, the public has the chance to reflect on the literal birthday of the cuffs. Exactly 102 years ago, the U.S. Patent Office afforded George A. Carney with patent number 1,017,955 for a “swinging bow ratchet …. type adjustable handcuff.”

Prior to this invention, handcuffs carried no effective, standard style. Instead, police officials simply used heavy, clumsy, and difficult-to-use cuffs. Following the patent’s creation that led to an easy-to-apply, lighter weight, and more effective model of the handcuffs, law enforcement officials around the world began to utilize a similar swing-through design. Even today in 2014, our modern handcuffs follow the same basic structure (albeit with some more adjustable modifications).

The Carney Patent was eventually purchased by The Peerless Handcuff Company in Mass., and this National Handcuffs Day we celebrate the initial mass models then manufactured for police use via Smith & Wesson.

For those unaware, handcuffs are basically restraint devices that are created to secure a person’s wrists very close together, oftentimes behind the back. Two major pieces, connected by a metal chain, construct the object. Without a specific key, the handcuffs cannot be taken off by the restrained individual and as such are often used to detain potential criminals or suspects. Furthermore, the wrists are often kept linked together only inches apart, making movement highly difficult.

Now you know, so take a moment to thank Mr. Carney — or perhaps not if you’re not a fan of the cuffs — and celebrate National Handcuffs Day 2014 this Feb. 20!