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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » All tied up! » » Replica keys for Houdini's Mirror Handcuffs (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Mick Hanzlik
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Mick Hanzlik
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Just thought you might like to see the replica Mirror Handcuff keys that I have produced for collectors.

All the details are on my site:



Thanks

Mick
Ian McColl
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Hi, for anyone wanting the highly accurate replica of the famous Mirror handcuff key, I would recommend getting one. With the key in your hands, the imagaination can go wild on how Houdini beat the Mirror newspaper challange in 1904. Could Bess have passed the key in a glass of water?

Highly recommended.

Ian
Mick Hanzlik
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Mick Hanzlik
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She'd have needed a pretty big mouth!

Mick
harry knight
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Great job Mick, Well done. A definate collectors piece.
Riley
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Mick showed me the key some time back, and it really is a nice piece of work.
Steve_Mollett
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Eh, so I've made
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Quote:
On 2009-06-11 18:26, Ian McColl wrote:
Hi, for anyone wanting the highly accurate replica of the famous Mirror handcuff key, I would recommend getting one. With the key in your hands, the imagaination can go wild on how Houdini beat the Mirror newspaper challange in 1904. Could Bess have passed the key in a glass of water?

Highly recommended.

Ian


Ian,

How does this key compare to the one used in your repro Mirror cuff with the Brahma 7-slider cylinder lock?
Author of: GARROTE ESCAPES
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Doc Allgood
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Quote:
On 2009-06-12 10:54, Steve_Mollett wrote:
Quote:
On 2009-06-11 18:26, Ian McColl wrote:
Hi, for anyone wanting the highly accurate replica of the famous Mirror handcuff key, I would recommend getting one. With the key in your hands, the imagaination can go wild on how Houdini beat the Mirror newspaper challange in 1904. Could Bess have passed the key in a glass of water?

Highly recommended.

Ian


Ian,

How does this key compare to the one used in your repro Mirror cuff with the Brahma 7-slider cylinder lock?


I was just going to ask the same question.
Ian McColl
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Hi, In the two models of the Mirror I make, ( for price reasons) I use their a subsitute cylinder or an original Bramah cylinder which has a key diameter of 1/4inch (6.2mm) the keyhole to mine is 1/4.

However the origainl Mirror handcuff has what is described by Bill Liles, a nested Braham cylinder, one within the other. The inner and deepest cylinder has a 1/4 key and the outer cylinder has approz 1/2 inch dia.

The original cuffs were suppose to be shown without the keys. But at one stage at the Houdini hall of fame the keys were next to the cuff. Mick's friend photographed them when his visit the HHF and only recently, found the photo and gave it to Mick. This photo, plus the one in the Houdini historical newsletter (Circa 1991)was wnat Mick use to scale up the keys and make his replica.

Ian
mtpascoe
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Ian, in your opinion, was it possible for Houdini to devise a pick to open that? On simple handcuffs, you can look at the key and figure how to pick it. But, on the Bramah, that was not possible. Or was it?

Also, after making his first inspection of the cuffs, could Houdini have made an impression of it or memorize enough of the design of the key to make a duplicate?

And finally, once he did get the key some how, what is the process in using the key? I know it takes six turns to lock it, but how difficult is it to unlock the cuff with the key?
Ian McColl
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Hi mtpascoe, It is my opinion ( like many others )that the whole challenge was a setup from the start to the finish. The early Bramah locks (normally 5 sliders)used on furniture locks are fairly easy to pick. The one that Bramah (custom) made for the 1851 exhibition had I believe 27 sliders and took Alfred Hobbs about 16 days in total to open. The Bramah lock created by machine and having seven sliders are near impossible but could be done ( not quick enough though to be practical)

In the case of the nested Bramah cylinder, no-one who has had their hands on the cuff have been allowed to investigate it thoroughly. David Copperfield has allowed it to be opened with the key but not allows any other steel tools or probs to test the mechanism. it is my opinion that the cylinder is made of two sections and only one ( likely the closest to the outside is the one that does anything, wether by key or tool.

I think the the whole affair is more legend than fact. Having worked on many escapes and seeing the finshed performances, they are more elborate and detailed by design than what is actually required to pull of the escape.

Houdini would never allow himslef to be cuffed in something he has never first opened nor checked was working properly, so why would anyone what to think that in this challenge, he submitted.

The Mirror newspaper was new at the time and probably needed publicity and Houdini loved publicity. Together they have made history.

Mick Hanzlik of England know more about the details of the Mirror newspaper and is wroking with the Bramah factory to try to recreate the nested cylinder.
I am sure he will post here on his favorite subject.

Ian
mtpascoe
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Thank you Ian for responding. This was really well thought out. It would be interesting to see what Mick Hanzlik comes up with. This episode in Houdini history fascinated me when I read Gresham's book. There was something about his version that always bothered me. I too don't think Houdini would have taken the challenge without knowing how to get out.

Houdini was versed in the Bramah locks so it's likely that he took on a challenge on something he was very familiar with. About him setting up the challenge is not out of the question. Houdini did this all of the time. If he didn't, his act would have had a lot of dead time. The challenge was his meat and he played it well.
Mick Hanzlik
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Mick Hanzlik
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Hello mtpascoe.....Currently my replica Mirror Handcuff is sitting in Bramah's workshop in central London. Their chief locksmith is custom building (hopefully) a nested (twin) Bramah mechanism to fit my replica key. Last time I spoke to him he had just started work on it, and his initial thoughts were that only the outer larger mechanism was the working one. But he is investigating the possibility of both mechanisms working together, and if it's possible, he will build it!

If this happens, I would consider it one of the world's most unpickable cuffs! Possibly more unpickable than the originals, as noone can examine them to see if both mechanisms are operational.

I'll let you all know the results.

By the way, I still have a few replica Mirror Cuff keys left. If anyone is interested, please PM me

Mick
mtpascoe
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Thank you all for responding. You have provided very well thought out information. We will never know exactly what or how Houdini did his stunts. It's all part of legend and can never be changed. Look how hard it was to undo the legend of the Detroit River story and the ice.
dave_matkin
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Found this thread and thought I would re-vive it with a secret message that only Bess would know..... oh wait a minute I am Bess! Dang can’t prove that HH is "there".

The reason for the reviving of the thread is this. Those of us at the UKEA on Saturday the 17th were able to see the actual real cuff (the fake reproduction of the real cuff that is ….oh wait its not a fake reproduction it’s a REAL reproduction ? now I’m confused – don’t take much do it?)

So yes we saw where this project is at and all I can say is WOW it is a real thing of beauty! It is so nice and Mick has put in so much work its un-believable! It was a real thrill to hold it and escape from it (ok so that was a bit tricky as there is no working locking mechanism yet). Hopefully before long the mechanism will be fully functioning!

When they say “master lock smith Mick Hanzlik” they really mean MASTER! And I would add master craftsman as well. If you ever get chance to look at this replica which is as rare as the original then try to - you wont be left disappointed!
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