As most of you know, I'm not knowledgeable on Houdini in any aspects. I still find his cuffs very interesting.
I have spent a few hours looking through and comparing photos of Berliner cuffs. In one of the
Handcuff Annuals, a fellow collector showed his Houdini Berliner which was his favorite cuff of the year.
I found another photo of a similar Berliner which a German escape artist, Hilmar, didn't manage to escape from
in Wintergarten, Germany in 1900. The picture can be found in Houdini's book Handcuff Secrets.
The appearance to both the Hilmar cuff and the Houdini cuff felt very familiar and I started to compare to other
pictures of Berliner cuffs and the few I have in my own collection.
I then realized that both of them must be altered Mühlenfeld Berliner. I know of three variations on the Mühlenfeld
Berliner; one without clevis (belt loop), one with a squared clevis (like the one on the Dortmunder) and finally one
with a smaller and rounded clevis, which I have in my own collection.
Both the Houdini Berliner and the Hilmar cuff looks like altered Mühlenfeld Berliner. On the Houdini Berliner it
seems like a top is welded on the top of the cuff and on the Hilmar cuff a tube is attached to the top. Compare the
general design and the details and let me know your thoughts.
My Mühlenfeld Berliner
Michael Busch's Mühlenfeld Berliner