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Oct 20, 2010


Here is an interesting one-of-a-kind cuff:

Houdini Fenton Handcuffs padlock At the Indianapolis Crossroads of America padlock convention several years ago a one-o-a-kind Ian McColl piece was displayed. This is that unique McColl creation. Here is the story of this unique piece;

The original lock was made about 1760 by William Fenton, a locksmith from Bradford, England. Only three were made. No one has knows the whereabouts of two of them, but one of them was used on a warehouse door. When the building was torn down in the 1800's the lock was removed by members of the Fenton family. It remained in the Fenton family when a descendant of Fenton’s challenged Houdini to open this lock. He added a wooden stock on top of the lock. The handwritten challenge to Houdini states in part; “Challenge to Mr. Houdini. Dear Sir, I have a patent lock with wood handcuffs attached, and if you will allow me to fasten you, I challenge you to pick the lock. The lock was made Wm Fenton, locksmith, Bradford, therefore a local one, and perhaps will give more interest than otherwise. If you will kindly accept theChallenge, I shall be pleased to handcuff you, at any time convenient to you. ….”

Houdini declined this challenge. Not once, but twice. He would not accept the challenge in 1910 and again in 1914 when performing in the area. After Houdini’s death it became known as the lock that beat Houdini, although Harry never accepted the challenge.

It is a simple warded lock, but has not one or two, but three compartments built within the lock. Drawings, sketches, and photos of the original padlock were made, and Ian faithfully reproduced the lock from that information complete with stocks. Up for auction is Ian’s one and only reproduction. Without instructions on how to open it one would take quite some time to even open it with the key. Instructions will be sent to the winning bidder. Since the original is owned by the family and for awhile was displayed in a museum (not sure if it’s still there or not), this is your only chance to own this important but almost unknown piece of Houdiniana. For Handcuff or Houdini collectors you won’t ever get a chance to acquire another one. Photos below show front, back, the key, and to show the immense size of this piece I've used another Ian McColl masterpiece for scale, his French Lettercuff. Notice the large size of this lock/handcuff compared to a normal sized handcuff. This is a unique chance to obtain a one-of-a-kind Houdini related piece. It may go to a padlock or lock collector, Houdini collector, or a handcuff collector. It operates beautifully, and is in perfect condition. I will include a photocopy of the Houdini Challenge, handwritten by a descendent of the original lock's maker William Fenton, and additional information on this famous declined Houdini challenge.

Feel free to ask questions. Look at the photos. Notice the large size, formidable appearance, and with the story and information I will include with this auction this will make a fantastic display and story for someone’s collection. Good luck. - eBay (18 Sept 2010)

This handcuff had a high bid of $960 (Plus $20 Shipping) but failed to meet the reserve price.

1 comment:

wahab said...

locksmith London
You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something which I think I would never understand. It just seems too complicated and very sophisticated.