Houdini's trick hancuffs go under the hammer

Emma Woollacott
Houdini's trick handcuffs
Houdini's trick handcuffs

A pair of secretly-modified handcuffs used by Harry Houdini is to go on sale by auction next week.

While Houdini is believed to have carried out most of his escapes using unaltered equipment, this particular pair, probably used in his underwater escapes, hides a secret. When held over a flame, immediately before Houdini's act, the spring mechanism loosens in such a way that when they're turned upside down they snap open.