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South African ?? Leg Irons

July 23 2010 at 6:38 AM
Paul Davies  (no login)

In a Post a while back titled Some Hiatt History was the following statement from Mr. H.H. La TROBE in 1975, managing director of Hiatts

"Leg irons have recently been exported by the firm to African Countries and the specification was that they should be supplied with a cold rivet so that the iron could be put on and riveted out in the field. "

[linked image]

The above leg iron is from South Africa and below is shown on Stan's CD attributed to Sth Africa, but no manufacturers name. The one above looks like a cheaper copy of the other because the chain is welded on and the quality not as good.

[linked image]

Obviously these can be locked with a padlock, but couldn't they also be locked with a Cold Rivet of some sort, ie hollow tipped steel rivet or some kind of alloy. You'd either have to carry 2 padlocks with each leg iron or a pocket full of rivets and some kind of tool.

Has anyone got any thoughts about their origin or cold rivets?

paul davies

 
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Dennis
(Login Edgeplay_Cgo)

Re: South African ?? Leg Irons

July 23 2010, 10:18 AM 

The top pair looks like a pair of pipe hangers with a couple of hunks of chain and a dime-store swivel welded on.

I', not sure what is the question about cold rivets. That would just imply a common alloy or steel rivet, applied cold. You could buy them from any industrial supplier, or use a mild steel bolt, piened over. You'd need a hammer and cold chisel to strike them off.


 
 
Paul Davies
(no login)

Re: South African ?? Leg Irons

July 23 2010, 6:36 PM 

Thanks Dennis,
I know nothing about rivets, but you have confirmed my thoughts. I suspect they would be similar to those used on the hinge of these.
What I am implying is that these (the second pair) my be the ones made by Hiatt and sent to African countries. A model that does not seem to be recorded anywhere officially. But I am only guessing.
Paul

 
 
Anonymous
(no login)

Re: South African ?? Leg Irons

July 23 2010, 7:35 PM 

If anyone has the information, I'd appreciate knowing exactly how old shackles were secured with rivets, and how this could be reproduced today.

 
 
Paul D
(no login)

Re: South African ?? Leg Irons

July 23 2010, 8:06 PM 

I guess rivets have been around as long as the blacksmith. Rivets in leg irons were applied hot out of the blacksmith forge and peined over. Page 24 of Alex Nichols book on handcuffs shows a riveting anvil. it is a disc shaped anvil with different sized holes around the perimeter. It could have been used for making the rivets and applying them.

 
 
Dennis
(Login Edgeplay_Cgo)

Re: South African ?? Leg Irons

July 24 2010, 11:36 AM 

The bottom irons could literally be made by anyone with a rod bender, a punch press, and a welder. I could subcontract out the parts and make them in my garage, and I'm just a two-bit schlub. So short of finding documentation, it may be impossible to generate any sort of provenance.

If anyone has the information, I'd appreciate knowing exactly how old shackles were secured with rivets, and how this could be reproduced today.

First, you must understand what a rivet is. It's a short piece of metal rod, often iron, with a head on one end. Look at the pivots on those irons. They are rivets. You either make your own by heading a piece of iron bar (A common blacksmith job) or buy them from the rivet store. The rivet goes through the holes in both pieces, and the other end is bashed to make it mushroom out and no longer fit through the hole. It's called peening or piening, and is what the ball end of a ball pien hammer is for. Machines do a prettier job. A Smith would generally do the rivets hot. You could do them cold on a punch press.

So to attach the irons with rivets, you need a set of irons, two rivets, a ball pien hammer and some sort of an anvil. In the field, I'd probably just use a sledgehammer or a piece of RR rail as an anvil. You stick the rivet through the holes and whack it (Pien the end.) until it won't come out again. To take them off, you cut the head off with a chisel.

Do you want to make one pair, or a thousand? The easiest way to make them would be to have a blacksmith do it. Bend the bars on the horn of the anvil. Flatten the ends as shown in the photo. Punch the holes or drill them on the drill press. Cut the chain and re-weld the cut links through the holes. Voilla. The smith would probably work from a pattern drawn in soapstone on his bench.

To make them by machine, you'd need a tool and die maker to make some rudimentary dies for a punch press, a punch press, a rod bender, and a welder. A modern bender is computer controlled, and will spit out the bent sides automatically. You just find someone who does job-work, send them a picture, and pay for the stuff.

The bent sides would then be placed on a punch press. A medium sized one could do each end in one whack, including punching the holes. The steel would probably be punched cold. Again, you find a job shop, perhaps the same one that bent the bars, pay a one-time die-making charge, and pay for the product. At the end, you might own the dies.

Rivet the two sides together on another press, cut and electro-weld the chain, and you have a pair.

If you want them plated, send them to a plater.

This is literally something you could have manufactured, and distribute from your basement. All you need is credit.

 
 
Howy
(no login)

Rivets

July 24 2010, 3:21 PM 

40 years ago, on the farm, I had to replace the cutter teeth on the sickle bar when they or the rivets broke.

I just removed the bar, pounded out the other rivet, placed the new section on the bar, pushed rivets up through the hole from the bottom and placed them on an anvil or other hard metal object.

I had a tool, with a concave end which I placed on the rivets and hit it with a large hammer, the concave end formed the rivets into the desired expanded round shape, the rivets were softer steel.

Doing research on this I found this thread, and a source of rivets & tools.

We got our rivets, from the local Case dealer, as the part number was in the sickle bar parts and maintenance manual.

---------------------------------------------------
Valu-Bilt Tractor Parts has replacement teach, rivets, and tools.
www.valu-bilt.com

Rivets are all 1/4 inch x 5/8, 1/2, 15/16, or 1.25 length It looks like 5/8 is the most common length.

Their web site is not very good, so you might ask for a catalog - at least you will have pictures.

Or maybe call and explain what you are trying to do - 888 828-3276

Here is the tool:

Combination rivet vice (punch and riveter) - I presume this is for 1/4 inch rivets T55-0584 $72.39

However, even better might be "Section Bolts" which according to the catalog "replace oval head rivets". These are used with:

Section Bolt Tool "compact heavy duty tool for inserting section bolts into sickle bars without damage or distortion". T55-0532D 26.69

Best of luck

BTW, the blades on a sickle bar are apparently called "sections". They have a wide assortment of sections, though they are listed by "big tractor" manufacturer. Still, if you ever need section you might be able to send them and old one and they could see if they have a match.
----------------------------------------


BTW I was a young pup them, however I never broke the 1" square ~3 foot long wood drive shaft - think of it as like a safety shear pin for a propeller.

It was designed to break if the bar got bound up and not destroy the cutter.

My father broke three, guess he was mowing too fast.

Howy
Cincy

 
 
Paul D
(no login)

Re: South African ?? Leg Irons

July 25 2010, 6:50 AM 

Hi Anon,
not sure if you wanted to make a pair or are just interested in how to make rivets. The first pair are still for sale in South Africa for 250 Rand - about $33. That's more than I'd pay for the second pair shown. Anyway, looks like no one has any thoughts on what the Hiatt riveted leg irons were???

And thanks to Howy.

 
 
shawn
(no login)

Where can you purchase them

June 11 2011, 4:28 PM 

Where can you purchase the South African leg irons for about $33.00 ?

 
 
Paul Davies
(no login)

Re: South African ?? Leg Irons

June 11 2011, 6:45 PM 

The pair shown at the top were for sale in South Africa with a starting price of approx $33 but no one bid on them.
I'd buy a nicer pair if I could prove that Hiatt made them.
Paul

 
 
Paul Davies
(no login)

Cold Rivet leg Irons?

January 29 2018, 10:25 AM 

Since no one has bought these at "Buy Now" You might consider these. I believe they are the Cold Rivet leg Irons sold in Africa by Hiatt. That is my best guess, since there are no other candidates, and others have been bought from Africa in the past.

eBay item number 112781883039

 
 
Anonymous
(no login)

Re: South African ?? Leg Irons

January 29 2018, 1:48 PM 

eBay item number 112781883039??

They're now listed as "Pakistan Prison metal Leg Irons/Shackles" for $50.00



 
 
Tom Gross
(no login)

South African Leg Irons

January 30 2018, 1:38 AM 

These are not Pakistani. They are, in fact, South African, but of relatively modern manufacture. They are probably still being made, for that matter, because they are very sturdy and well made, cheap to manufacture, and totally reliable. The holes are not for rivets, but padlocks. Somehow, I think in the late '80s or early '90s, I came across a South African guy, living in Texas, who was importing stuff and I asked him about shackles. He looked into the matter and began to get for me those South African handcuffs, the surprisingly well made ones with the anchor logo (I can't remember the name and I'm too tired to go digging through boxes). In one shipment he included a couple of sets of these leg irons, which I thought were very cool; crude but very effective. And so I ordered some more, for myself and for friends. I would still be ordering stuff, but one day the guy just disappeared. Maybe, on a trip back home, he got trampled by a rhinoceros.

 
 
Paul Davies
(no login)

Re: South African ?? Leg Irons

January 30 2018, 7:08 PM 

Thanks Tom. At least what you have told us ties in with the fact that Hiatt sold leg irons to South Africa around 1975. Whether you used rivets or padlocks or bolts does not really matter.
I think the jury is still out on who made these and we can agree they are not Pakistani and are sourced mainly from South Africa.

 
 
Tom Gross
(no login)

South African Leg Irons

January 30 2018, 9:30 PM 

I am sorry if my previous comment was ambiguous. This product is very effective, while being very crude and heavy. Exactly the kind of primitive design which would NOT be exported from a highly industrialized country (England) to a less industrialized country (South Africa). Further, this product appeared at exactly the same time that Hiatt had been forced to cease the manufacture of leg irons because of a lot of politically correct bullshit, fed by the scandal-mongering press in England, about oppression and enslavement of indigenous peoples in the third-world. (Thus began the era when Hiatt parts were sent to America, to be assembled into leg irons by Hiatt-Thompson.)

For whatever it is worth, there is no doubt in my mind that these leg irons were made in South Africa, by South Africans and primarily for the use of South Africans. And, yes, they COULD be riveted shut. But why? Is it easier to carry around a couple of padlocks, or to carry around a furnace to heat the rivets and hammers to install them?

 
 
Paul Davies
(no login)

Re: South African ?? Leg Irons

January 31 2018, 1:23 AM 

Hi Tom, do you dismiss the words of Mr La Trobe of Hiatts saying they HAD sent COLD rivet leg irons to Africa? -Straight from the horse mouth. Yes I agree a padlock is better. I do not know of any other modern rivetable leg iron being found in South Africa.

And by what you have said, there is good reason to not stamp their name on them, regardless of any other anti-apartheid trade embargoes. Hiatt are also known to have sent the rare flat key version of the 1960 handcuff to South Africa. That is where they are most commonly found.

Just because you bought some from a guy who got them from SA does not mean they were made in SA. It is the same argument that Thompson Darbies were made in USA because that is where most have been found. A flawed assumption.

Until someone can show me a different rivetable leg iron from SA, preferably with a Hiatt stamp, I will stick to my theory, and I will believe the confessions of Hiatts.

Regards

 
 
maybe not PC
(no login)

Re: South African ?? Leg Irons

January 31 2018, 2:34 AM 

Hi Tom, when is your promised new 'manacles of the world' book coming out?

 
 
Chris Gower
(no login)

SA legirons

February 2 2018, 9:55 AM 

I bought a mint set of these back in the early 1980’s and am certain Hiatt never made or sold this model. It was in 1974 when Maurice Stewart and I visited Hiatt and spoke to Harry LaTrobe in detail regarding them introducing and making the Bar handcuffs and Legirons, together with the solid ‘8’ pattern cuffs and LI, he also made us 100 pairs of Irish ‘8’ cuffs and 100 end locks.
Had Hiatt been making the Rivet/padlocking LI I am sure we would have known about it. As it happened the Daily Mirror got hold of the fact Hiatt were selling LI that were being exported and used for torture purposes - hence a few years latter it became illegal to export LI out of the UK. I think what Harry LaTrobe may have said is that Hiatt did export LI that were used in South Africa and was referring to the models they made on the late 1800’s and could been seen in their collection.

 
 
Paul Davies
(no login)

Re: South African ?? Leg Irons

February 2 2018, 6:40 PM 

Hi Chris, how do you explain this quote from Harry Latrobe. it seems pretty unambiguous.

"Leg irons have recently been exported by the firm to African Countries and the specification was that they should be supplied with a cold rivet so that the iron could be put on and riveted out in the field. "

These sound like the type of irons to which offence was taken. The rivet were probably an alloy, but may have used padlocks. The problem with padlocks is they they would have hung down with the risk of mud and dirt getting in the keyhole. the other problem with them is the length of the chain. Long enough to shuffle but not walk properly

For those not familiar with the use of rivet leg irons, they were used mainly for punishment, not transport. In the old days they were riveted on for years at a time. They came in different weights and sometimes multiple irons were put on. They had to be sturdy so that they were not damaged when the rivet was struck off. If the person was required to work in them, the chain was long enough to almost reach the waist, with a loop to attach to a belt via a rope etc.

Paul

 
 
Paul Davies
(no login)

Re: South African ?? Leg Irons

February 2 2018, 7:02 PM 

Hi Chris,
on re reading your post do you mean that Hiatt made the old style, non-adjustable rivet leg iron where one size was supposed to fit all? They were all hand made and I have not seen any modern versions of those. I can't imagine those being supplied. Is it possible that in 1975, the year of the quote, the irons were made after you spoke to him in 1974 and the supply was kept quiet.

I'm not trying to prove anyone wrong or pick a fight, just going by what seems pretty obvious, with the words of Hiatts and the location of these irons. If we could find an ex employee of Hiatts from that era it would be easy to determine.
Regards
Paul

 
 
 
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