Posted by Atame (126.96.36.199) on September 23, 2002 at 13:24:25:
Hello fellow Collectors,
About one year ago I posted a message in this very forum asking about information about an unknown backstrap darby I own. The answer I got was that they were probably made by RCS.
But meanwhile I purchased a pair of (quite similar) RCS handcuffs and now I'm not sure if the first backstrap darbies really came from the same manufacturer. So I've taken some pictures to show the main differences.
The unknown darby is NOT marked with "RCS". The only markings are the British government arrow at the side of one cuff's hinge, "JG 1943" on both cylinders (side) and "7850 (or 6)" and "1" or "l" on one cylinder-top, no markings on the other. The "real" RCS are marked with "598, RCS, 1945, 3" on the one and "2772" plus the British government arrow on the other cylinder-top. No markings on other places.
I'm not sure if the finish of the unknown darbies is original or if it's some kind of protective colour added later (it resembles paint used for WWII warships). The RCS darby is polished steel finish.
On the unknown darby the two different keys do both not fit perfectly – so maybe both are not originals (for this model). The right one (upper picture) has "no grip" (but it fits to the "real" RCS) and the left key (similar to an old Hiatt, but without markings) needs to be pulled after a few turns, otherwise the lock would not open. The real RCS key does fit perfectly to the RCS (of course) but it does not fit to the unknown darby (too big in diameter).
But the main differences are the swivels, the cylinder-tops (flat at RCS, rounder at unknown darby) and the bows, especially the bow's ends (which are inserted into the cylinder) and the hinges (see lower right pictures).
Guenter aka Atame
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