MATERIAL: Iron
TYPE: Artifact
COMPONENTS: two sets of wrought iron shackles.
ITEM ID: 505

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Two Plantation Slave Shackles

DATE
Year: 1850
Decade: 1850s
Century: 19th (1801-1900)

Slave shackles made of wrought iron, and locking devices. Before machine-made and die cut shackles, jailers had to have blacksmiths make the shackles and “hand-cuffs.” The style of lock itself that would have been made by the slave blacksmith only – Standard Prison shackles would not have been hand forged. Most prison shackles are Leg Irons that have a ridge locking device for adjustment. Also, some law enforcement used Leg Irons to return fleeing slave back to the plantation. Slave shackles were made by a blacksmith on the plantation and the blacksmith always used wrought Iron.