National Handcuff Day is celebrated on February 20th of each year. February 20th was chosen because it is the birthday of the modern handcuff. It’s on that date in 1912 that the US Patent office issued patent 1,017,955 to George A. Carney for a “swinging bow ratchet – type” adjustable handcuff. Before that handcuffs were heavy and bulky and there was no standard style. Carney’s design was always ready and was light weight compared to older models. Since that patent, most modern handcuffs around the world have been made with the same swing through design, with minor modifications. The Carney Patent was bought by The Peerless Handcuff Company of Springfield, Mass., and the first models were manufactured for them by Smith & Wesson. (http://www.nationalhandcuffday.com/)
Handcuffs are restraint devices designed to secure an individual’s wrists close together. They comprise two parts, linked together by a chain, a hinge, or rigid bar. Each half has a rotating arm which engages with a ratchet that prevents it from being opened once closed around a person’s wrist. Without the key, the handcuffs cannot be removed and so the handcuffed person is unable to move his or her wrists more than a few centimetres/inches apart, making many tasks difficult or impossible. This is usually done to prevent suspected criminals from escaping police custody.