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Tower/Union /Foth Cuffs

October 6 2011 at 4:11 PM
Ron Spitz  (no login)

After Union Hardware stopped making Tower's, a Mr. Hugo Foth continued making them and they were unmarked. This is from information in Manacles of the World, by Tom Gross (A great book).

There is a picture in the gallery of this Forum showing the single link with swivels and the box marked Foth Lock Co.

I just got a pair of unmarked Tower double locks, not with the single link but with the three round (center one curved) and no swivels.

It seems that Foth would be using only the single link/swivel configuration used by Union at that time. I think there was an imitation Tower that was unmarked, but the key hole was rotated as I remember.

Does anyone have a unmarked "Tower" with just the three links? Did Foth make both configurations of the cuff?

Ron




 
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John Bushey
(no login)

Foth??

October 6 2011, 11:43 PM 

HI Ron,
I don't know the answer to your question. But, a friend of all of us owns a great deal of Foth's materials, including the molds
used to cast the Tower keys, Clevis's, Chain Twisters, etc... He owns a large ring full of the 3-ring links, all ready to be added to the
cuffs. An old cigar box is full of extra springs, levers, etc... for the Tower cuffs. He has parts of complete trees of castings for Tower leg irons, the punches and drill jigs used to assemble the cuffs......
He has a lot of stuff. If he had more bows, he could probably go into production! My guess is that Foth did made 3-ring handcuffs, based on what I've seen. I also think Foth made a few experimental items of which very few are out there. I know I've never seen them except in the one collection.
I'll ask permission to see if I can post some photos of some of these rare items.
Best Wishes, John Bushey

 
 
Ron Spitz
(no login)

Re: Tower/Union /Foth Cuffs

October 7 2011, 3:18 PM 

Thanks John--Any information on Foth would be useful and important in understanding the history of the Tower cuffs. The only information, I have seen is in the Tom Gross book. From you're information it sounds like Foth could have made cuffs with both the single and multiple link configuration.

The other unmarked Tower type that I have has a rotated keyway, is single lock and on the top of each bow there is a stop rivet to limit how far the bow can be inserted. The hinge pin is quite different than other Towers otherwise the body and bows are the same as Towers. I was told that it is a German made copy of Towers. Could they be another version made by Foth??

Ron

[linked image]


    
This message has been edited by lauher on Aug 6, 2017 11:42 AM


 
 
Tom Gross
(no login)

Hugo Foth

October 7 2011, 4:57 PM 

I agree that Hugo Foth could have produced both models. He probably could have produced any model which Union Hardware ever made. During the 1930s the demand for the old Tower-style shackles dropped dramatically, to the point that the only employee who made them was Mr. Foth. When that gentleman was about to retire the company said, in effect, "Oh, screw it!", and ceased production of those products, which were not selling well anyway. Mr. Foth acquired, either as a gift or at minimal cost, all of those dies from Union Hardware. He moved all such equipment into his garage, where he continued production under his own name, until his death in the late '40s.

All of those Tower-style dies were bought by a well-known collector, from Mr. Foth's son. They had been stored in that same garage since Hugo Foth's death.

I shall follow John's example and not give the name of the person who acquired all of Hugo Foth's dies, but I shall let him know about this thread. (Which John has probably done already.) If such person elects to do so, he might be able to contribute to this discussion.

 
 
Anonymous
(no login)

Re: Tower/Union /Foth Cuffs

October 9 2011, 2:19 PM 

Here are just a few photos I took of the Foth material now owned by our friend Mark Lundblad. Mark acquired this material from Stan Willis, and Charles Chandler. He has much more, and to sit and examine these materials gives a great deal of information into how the handcuffs/leg irons were manufactured. I don't think we have figured out what all the pieces are for. Photos here include molds for the Towere keys, Twister parts, and Clevis's. Also there is a ring of the 3 links used to assemble the cuffs, a ring of extra clevis's, and a photo of one a several trees of castings Mark owns. Also included is a photo of various punches, drill jigs, and similar pieces used to assemble the cuffs. Mark also owns several small boxes of extra parts for twisters, cuffs, a cigar box full of extra internal parts, and many more jigs used for casting and manufacture. I thought they'd be interesting to share, and with Mark's permission--here they are. Best Wishes, John

[linked image]
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[linked image]
[linked image]
[linked image]

 
 
Ron Spitz
(no login)

Re: Tower/Union /Foth Cuffs

October 9 2011, 2:55 PM 

Thanks Tom, John and Mark. I also remember seeing some molds several years ago on eBay.

The cuff I have I now believe were made by Foth. I also think the one in the picture I posted, being a German copy, is also made by Foth as a variance in the old single lock cuff. No way to prove this but the exact matching of the parts is a strong pointer.

Tom, I hope you do come out with a new edition of your book and hopefully collectors would supply pictures of some of the "oddball" cuffs in our collections.

Ron

 
 
LK
(no login)

HI

October 9 2011, 2:59 PM 

ARE THOSE THE CASTED PART'S OR ARE SOME OF THEM JIGGES?

 
 
John Bushey
(no login)

both

October 9 2011, 5:39 PM 

HI,
some are cast parts, and the others jigs. There is a drill jig, for locating exact positions to drill quickly and accurately.
There are also some punches used to put the top plate in. One lock body is a cast part, and the broken bow is just that, a broken
bow. Mark also has other jigs we're not sure what they are. Most parts we were able to figure what they were and what they were used
for. Mark told me that he thinks some of the Foth - Tower cuffs were stamped with an F on the clevis where the "T" sometimes appears.
Stan had a Foth Lock Co. box with a mint pair of cuffs inside. I don't know who got that one. Mark also has a few Tower bars, and some unusual
leg irons with a swivel clevis. In addition to the handcuffs, he has some partial trees of cast parts for Tower leg irons as I recall.
I just posted a few of the photos I took. Also, he has a box of parts for Thomas Nippers. Anyone else out there have any of this kind
of material? We'd love to see it. John

 
 
Gordon
(no login)

German ? Tower/ Foth

October 9 2011, 5:46 PM 

Ron
I have a German Tower like yours and I have compared the two. I see no exact matching of parts any ware. I disagree that it was made by Foth. The Tower handcuff was the handcuff of the day and this was just a copy.

Gordon

 
 
Ron Spitz
(no login)

Re: Tower/Union /Foth Cuffs

October 9 2011, 9:08 PM 

The Foth cuff and box are in Joes' collection in another part of the forum.

[linked image]

Gordon-I always thought it was a German copy. My copy matches what I think is the Foth except that the width of the case is a little thicker. It also matches a Tower DL the same way. I'll have to bring it to Indy next year.

John-you said Foth had some other designs of his own. If so, are there any pictures available to post?

There must be other collectors out there that have this German copy.

Ron

 
 
Charles Chandler
(no login)

Foth cuffs

October 9 2011, 10:34 PM 

Several years ago, I believe I was leaving the Terryville Show, I decided to stop at the Union Hardware Company in Conn. At the gate, the security people said they knew of Hugo Foth. He had retired after making the Tower cuffs for 40-50 years. He had lived a short distance away, but since had died. His son lived there at the time. I visited him and found that his Dad had built a work shop in the rear of the house. He had moved the tooling machines etc from Union Harware to the workshop with the intent of making cuffs under the Foth Handcuff name. It was completely furnished, I recall he had used the old belt drives.

Hugo Jr. was in poor health and had planned on sending all the contents of the work shop to a scrap dealer the following week. I had a problem in that I would have taken everything except that I had my family with me. I loaded everything I could into the car including the items in the pictures from "Anonymous". I made arrangements to have 2-3 barrels of stuff shipped to my house. I believe I also contacted Larry Bailey, another collector from the area. He later picked up some items, and I believe either he or I donated some to the Lock Museum. I mentioned this experience in the Lock Collectors Newsletter which I was publishing at the time.

I have since sold virtually everything to several other collectors over the years.

Hope this helps.

Chuck

 
 
Ron Spitz
(no login)

Re: Tower/Union /Foth Cuffs

October 10 2011, 12:03 PM 

Chuck, Thanks for the information, it adds to the history. Were there any completed cuffs and if so, do you remember their configuration-single link, three links?

Ron

 
 
Dorson
(no login)

Re: Tower/Union /Foth Cuffs

October 10 2011, 11:59 PM 

I would love to get my hands on the manufacturing stuff for the Bean Cobb's as I think these are a neat cuff.

 
 
michael griffin
(no login)

Re: Tower/Union /Foth Cuffs

April 14 2015, 4:48 PM 

Hi

I have a pair of these as well...
excellent condition and was hoping to find more info about them.
I came across an old mailing from 1991 from joe tanner in which they are pictured and mentioned as german tower imitation?
That may be where the idea came from, them being German.

Its just a cool cuff and if anyone has any updated info I would love to know about it

Thanks

Michael Griffin www.escapeguy.com

 
 
Fred Pittella
(no login)

Re: Tower/Union /Foth Cuffs

April 16 2015, 8:40 AM 

I would have to agree with Gordon. When comparing the Tower Imitation to the Tower Union/Foth It looks like it is two different makers.



[linked image]

 
 
Kathy
(Login Fothgrand)

Hugo O Foth Jr.

March 26 2017, 8:38 PM 

Hello,
My grandfather, Hugo Foth Jr. died in 1990, rather than 1940. His dad was also Hugo Foth. We are selling the lathe, drill press and band saw from the shop at this time.

I just wanted to correct the date of my grandfather's death.
Thanks.

 
 
 
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