Patent number: 2066654
Filing date: May 13, 1935
Issue date: Jan 5, 1937
"The invention relates to handcuffs adapted for use by
police officers and more particularly to the type
comprising a pair of jaws pivotally supported by a body
member, a rotatable operator 5 for moving said jaws to
open and closed positions, and a sleeve rotatable with,
said operator and having ratchet teeth engageable with
corresponding teeth on the body member and adapted
to prevent opening of the jaws except when desired.
In prior constructions having the teeth exposed, the
sleeve is ordinarily grasped between two fingers to
disengage the ratchet teeth for opening the jaws, and
in so doing, the fingers press against the ratchet teeth.
Due to the sharpness of these teeth, the fingers are apt
to be pinched and cut or otherwise injured.
The general object of the invention is therefore to
provide a construction in which the fingers cannot
come in contact with the ratchet teeth when moving
Patent number: 1950757
Filing date: Jul 18, 1931
Issue date: Mar 13, 1934
"The invention relates to handcuffs and like
implements especially adapted for use by police
officers, and the primary object thereof is to provide a
practical implement having a handle 8 bar at one end,
a pair of pivoted jaws at the other end, and operating
means for the jaws of a character such as to permit of
a rapid and effectual seizure of the subject by
imparting to the handle bar a short twisting movement.
Another object is to provide in such an implement a
rugged and easily disengaged ratchet device
operating automatically in the closure of the jaws
about the wrist to hold the jaws positively against
A further object is to provide a conveniently operable
locking device for holding the jaws in wide open
position so as to permit the latter to be grasped safely
by the hand of the user when employing the handle
bar as a striking weapon.
Still another object is to provide a handcuff in which
the operating means includes a rotary shaft and an
actuating member for the jaws movable axially in the
rotation of the shaft, with a novel and structurally
advantageous connection between the jaws and their
The Argus "Iron Claw"
The Argus "Iron Claw" is one of my favorite restraints. Invented by
Yngve Smith-Stange in 1931 this clever come along was a favorite of
U.S. law enforcement for over thirty years and has won a place in most
handcuff collections throughout the world. It is one of the few
mechanical nippers that held up under both use and abuse. In the
original patent description (see below) Mr. Strange suggests that the
"Iron Claw" could even be used as a "striking weapon".
The "Iron Claw" (IC) was popular because of it's reliability and ease of
application. Even when the finish was weathered and warn the IC would
work as advertised. The application was fairly easy as well. In one move
the IC could be pulled from it's belt holster, opened, placed on the bad
guy's wrist, and with a quick turn of the T-handle, secured. A couple of
turns of the threaded locking sleeve and the prisoner was ready to
The "Iron Claw" was manufactured by Argus Manufacturing in Chicago,
IL. ( I found an address of 1134-44 N. Kilburn Ave. but have not confirmed
that it is the same company) Shortly after the IC hit the streets, it
became apparent there was a minor problem in it's initial design. The
locking teeth that allow the jaws to ratchet open were exposed and very
sharp. When officers began to complain that they were being nicked and
cut by the teeth, the inventor, Yngve Smith-Stange, designed and
patented a sleeve to cover the teeth in 1935 which fixed the problem .
Tens of thousands of IC's were produced by Argus under the two patent
numbers. It is not know when Argus (Chicago) stopped producing the IC
but in about 1960 the IC manufacturer changed . The new manufacture
was Argus-Jay Pee. The new name stamped on the side was now
Argus-Jay Pee, New York and the reverse side was stamped Made in
Taiwan. Although the new version was still the same design and patent
numbers there is a slight difference in the jaws and the triangular
housing above the jaws. The finish on the Taiwan IC is also much
brighter, probably chrome rather than the earlier nickel compound. It has
been suggested that fewer than ten thousand of the Taiwan IC's were
produced which would make them fairly uncommon.
One of the questions that often comes up is how many versions of the
"Iron Claw" are there? Depending on how you wish to define "version", I
have found six that are visibly different.
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US Handcuffs and Collectibles