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Fetters: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fetters in use

Fetters, shackles, footcuffs or leg irons are a kind of physical restraint used on the feet or ankles to allow walking but prevent running and kicking. The term "fetter" shares a root with the word "foot".

With respect to humans, typically only prisoners or bondage fetishists will wear shackles. A shackled animal is typically either a dangerous animal or one prone to escape.

Metaphorically, a fetter may be anything that restricts or restrains in any way, hence the word "unfettered".



Cup lock shackle with no built-in lock

The earliest fetters found in archaeological excavations date from the prehistoric age and are mostly of the puzzle lock type. Roman times already see a variety of restraint types. Some early versions of cup lock shackles can already be found. These were widely used in medieval times but their use declined when mass production made the manufacture of locks built into restraints affordable.

Simple fetter types continue to be used like puzzle lock shackles as the typical slave iron or irons riveted shut for prisoners being transported to overseas prison camps.

Standard type legirons made in Taiwan

The First built-in locks often were of a simple screw-type but soon developed into the "Darby" type. In Europe these continued to be used into the middle of the 20th century, whereas in the US from the late 19th century onwards many new designs were invented and produced before handcuffs and leg irons of the Peerless type became the standard several decades ago.

A recent development of the last few decades are high security restraints that incorporate a cylinder lock that is more difficult to pick than the lock on standard type cuffs.

Controversial use

Heavy leg irons from China, including a metal plate to protect the keyhole from collecting dust

In comparison to handcuffs the wearing of leg irons may be found less restrictive. Thus the prison authorities in several countries deem their long term use acceptable. In order to avoid condoning this disputed practice the countries of the European Union have banned exporting leg irons into non-EU countries.[1][2] The countries that continue to make prisoners wear fetters long term now tend to resort to manufacturing their own restraints.

See also


  1. ^ Civilising the torture trade, by Steve Wright, The Guardian, Thursday March 13 2003
  2. ^ COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) No 1236/2005 of 27 June 2005, concerning trade in certain goods which could be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

Chains or shackles by which the feet may be fastened either together or to some heavy object. The most usual term for fetters in the Bible is "neḥushtayim" (Jdg 16:21; 2 Sam 3:34; 2Kg 25:7; Jer 39:7, Jer 52:11; 2Chr 33:11, 2Chr 36:6), indicating that they were made of brass; the dual form shows that they were made in pairs. There were also iron fetters, called in Hebrew "kebel"; in Ps 10518 this noun is used in the singular, and in Ps. cxlix in the plural construct state, which proves that the feet were fastened by means of the fetters to some other object. An additional Hebrew term for fetters is "ziḳḳim" (Job 36:8; Ps 1498; Isa 45:14; Nah 3:10), derived from a root meaning "to bind," and which may be applied even to ropes. See Chains.

This entry includes text from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.

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