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Timed Handcuffs?

October 11 2004 at 4:01 PM

Magic Mitch 

Has anybody ever heard of restraints that automatically unlock after 1 minute?
I once chatted with a woman who told me that she used to do an underwater escape. It was done using shackles that automatically unlocked after one minute.
I was wondering if she was telling me the truth, or full of crap.



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Re: Timed Handcuffs?

October 11 2004, 4:41 PM 

timecuffs are the only ones i know of. Don,


Re: Timed Handcuffs?

October 11 2004, 7:37 PM 

From what I recall those are 1 to 7 hours


Re: Timed Handcuffs?

October 12 2004, 12:19 AM 

I would ask to see a picture of them, the only ordinary handcuffs I know had to be tricked like the so called bridge jumpers that started with Houdini. To be automatic requires a mechanical or electronic device to open them and that sort of mechanism would be apparent to someone familiar with handcuffs. And the last I heard, and I could be wrong, the guy who was making those time release handcuffs, the 1-7 hour stopped making them...


Chris Gower

Timed cuffs

October 12 2004, 1:48 PM 

I would say she is full of C***. Although I have not performed any underwater handcuff escapes for over 25 years, one thing I do remember is to make sure the handcuffs and legirons are 'quick release'. To rely on any timed mechanical device is asking for trouble and the possiblility of using any type of electronic timed release is not feasible where water is concerned.
I do not know of any handcuffs which have 1 minute time delays on them but I do have a superb large padlock made by John Martin in the 1940's which has a normal key for examination purposes but when locked with the slightly modified key a sprung plunger is released and the padlocks falls open in about 30 seconds.

Ian McColl

Timed handcuffs

October 12 2004, 5:17 PM 

I would have to agree with Chris entirely. no such thing exists.

The only cuff made with a so called timer is a pair of cuffs seperated by a tube. The key for the cuffs is placed within and the tube is filled with water and frozen.

For what ever reason," adult self entertainment", the person placed in the cuffs is locked their until the ice melts and they can get to the key to release themselves.
(mind you a spare key would get them out before then)

No-one in the right mind would use any mechanical or electronic timed cuff for underwater escapes.


Magic Mitch


October 13 2004, 9:27 AM 

Thanks for everyone's help. She must have been full of bull. Since I lost contact with her after a few chats, I was unable to grill her for details.


time release

January 31 2005, 10:58 PM 

These are the time cuffs people are talking about - http://unrestrained.com/html/timecuffs.html

There is one electronic padlock that can be programmed to only unlock after a set time period - http://www.geindustrial.com/cwc/products/ge-interlogix?id=au_trackpad

it's more of a complete system... with an electronic key that can be programmed to activate during certain time periods

hope this helps...



October 19 2005, 7:59 PM 

The Amazing Michael

Re: Timed Handcuffs?

October 19 2005, 11:31 PM 

I have never heard of any cuffs that match this describtion either. Perhaps these cuffs do exist and they were made by a skilled locksmith/watch maker. If you think about it, a lock movement from a time lock (the timing device that makes a machanical time lock work), like you would see in a banker's safe, a Cannonball safe, or a vault, does the same thing as these handcuffs would have to do. If the key to open the cuffs acted in a way to wind the movement, the set-up would go like this: The performer unlocks the cuffs and winds the clock springs at the same time. He or she has done the set-up and now when the bow is inserted into the case of the cuff, it activates the timer. Now all that is left to be done is wait for the movement to time out and hit the release lever inside, then....CLICK! The cuffs come open. Perhaps the whole interior of the cuff is sealed and is resistant to water.....who knows???

Ian, now that I have rambled on about how this is possible, you need to get to work building one! LOL! In all seriousness, it can be done! Cheers, Mike


Re: Timed Handcuffs?

October 20 2005, 8:56 PM 

If used in water a tablet of Asprin could be used, it will disolve very rapidly when exposed to water.

A basement flood alarm can be made using a Asprin tablet keeping electrical contacts on a wooden spring loaded clothes pin apart, be sure to NOT put the Aspirin tablet between the contacts but between the wood only!


Re: Timed Handcuffs?

October 20 2005, 9:23 PM 

Now that could be possibly done. Even better use an alka selzer tablet. Or even a sugar cube. I'm like everyone else though, mechanical devices do fail and I would never trust a timed mechanism to release me underwater. Not that I'm brave enough to try that anyway.


Stuart Burrell

Timed Speedcuffs

October 21 2005, 4:47 AM 

I have tried for the last three years (since May 2002) to make a timed handcuff based on the Speedcuff that opened on an electronic circuit. I started work on it as a Christmas present for a friend, just hope they are not still waiting.

I won’t say it is impossible, simply that it is beyond my ability.

The main problem is that whilst the speedcuff can be adapted to allow for a lot of space to be created internally without harming the external look and function of the cuff, there just is not enough for the batteries, electronics, the servo or solenoids to fit in without seriously altering the silhouette of the cuff.

I tried, believe me!

Possible solutions could include Muscle Wire, which could be used in conjunction with the Grease-Lightening release method but it takes a long period of time for the wire to contract and as the main use of such a cuff would be to be used in time with music in a stage setting it would be impossible to get it exactly in time with the musical cue.

Remote control provides another way but again, including a usable double lock feature that may well come in handy with inspection. This method has another bonus in that the timing circuit has been removed, however you then have the receiver and assorted wiring to consider. That’s before you have the interference from the electrical stage equipment to contend with.

It is not an impossible idea, just a very difficult idea.

Stuart Burrell

For this years Annual

July 8 2006, 1:36 PM 

Hi Gang

Hope there are no objections but I thought I'd bump this back up and see if anyone minded me using this as a topic for an article in this years annual (2007)?

If there are then please drop me a line via e-mail or reply here.




Stan Willis

Re: Timed Handcuffs?

July 8 2006, 1:43 PM 

What would be the purpose of a time delay cuff for law enfocement or escape use? I wouldn't waste the paper for anything about the timecuff that uses frozen water.

Stuart burrell

Re: Timed Handcuffs?

July 8 2006, 1:48 PM 

I was aiming to write up my failed efforts to make a radio controlled operated version of the speed cuff and to see if there were any other tall tales of these cuffs around.

Thanks for the comments though and I hope you can see the logic.


Stan Willis

Re: Timed Handcuffs?

July 8 2006, 1:51 PM 

That sounds interesting.

Stuart Burrell


July 8 2006, 1:55 PM 

Thanks Stan.

I hope the article delivers. We'll find out at Christmas



Mick Hanzlik

Timed Cuffs

July 9 2006, 3:12 AM 

The article seems like it will be an interesting read, Stuart.
Electronics seems the logical answer, and with remote switches getting smaller these days, it does seem possible. I once made a miniature safe for a magic trick once. It had 13 different keys, and at any time I could make ANY key open it. The electronic switch simply activated a solenoid to block the lock mechanism until the remote button was pressed.

I guess with the use of button batteries, and a careful search for the parts, it could all just fit into the center of a Speedcuff.

As for cuffs underwater, and particularly electronics underwater (where regular radio signals cannot be received)its a big NO NO!

Looking forward to the article in the Annual.

(P.S. I'm working on something for the Annual that should be equally interesting!)



Re: Timed Handcuffs?

July 9 2006, 8:50 AM 

I'm looking forward to reading your article already. I promise I will try and do this subject justice and not be too daft (see 2006 Annaul on Houdini in London).

With regard to the timed cuff, I worked along the electronic lines for two years, using off the shelf servo and even looked at 'muscle wire'. It was not hard to make a remote double lock but it was very hard to make a remote release.

The main issue was making it compact enough to fit and safe enough not to open or lock at the wrong time or whenever someone sends an SMS message. The problems were so much that in the end I gave up on making a timed cuff and ended up sketching out a time release stock / pillory.

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