Here is the first Find it Friday of the month and with the countdown to Halloween upon us this week we are going to have a look at a relatively scary looking object, despite its good intentions.
This is an anti-garotte collar. It is made from leather and shows rows and rows of numerous metal spikes around the front, with a buckled back. In more recent years, well, the 90’s lets say, accessories like this became a popular fashion piece, however in the late 1800’s this collar was worn not as a statement of style but as an essential protective measure.
In the mid to late 1800s there was an outbreak of garroting, or attacks by strangulation, which resulted in many people being mugged, robbed and/or fatally wounded. As a way of putting a stop to this crime spree, on the 27th of September 1856 a company called White, Choker, and Co released the following advertisement:
” DO YOU WISH TO AVOID BEING STRANGLED!!
If so, try our Patent Antigarotte Collar, which enables Gentlemen to walk the streets of London in perfect safety at all hours of the day or night.
THESE UNIQUE ARTICLES OF DRESS
Are made to measure, of the hardest steel, and are warranted to withstand the grip of
THE MOST MUSCULAR RUFFIAN IN THE METROPOLIS,
Who would get black in the face himself before he could make the slightest impression upon his intended victim. They are highly polished and
Elegantly Studded with the Sharpest Spikes,
Thus combining a most recherché appearance with perfect protection from the murderous attacks which occur every day in the most frequented thoroughfares.
Price 7s. 6d, or six for 40s.”
The obvious intent of this item was to stop any attack that might occur from having any effect by protecting the neck area and causing harm to the attackers hands via the spikes. This is not the only invention of this year that tried to halt the outbreak though. A man named Mr. Tremble invented an anti-garotte overcoat, but the protection aspect with this was slightly different; instead of making sure the neck was unaffected by an attack this overcoat made the neck unavailable to be attacked by putting it out of reach.
This seems to be a rather drastic and impractical measure but the image does appear to show it as an affective one. Nowadays it is highly unlikely you will see either of these items in use on the streets which could lean towards the theory that they didn’t catch on as a must have accessory; however, there has not been many garroting outbreaks of late, so maybe they worked so well that their legacy is still a deterrent today.