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Thumb Cuff Escape

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Thumb Cuff Escape refers to the act of escaping from thumb cuffs as a display of skill or magic. Thumb cuffs are almost like handcuffs, but they are smaller and designed to lock the thumbs of the wearer. They were invented in 1888 as a police restraint, and although fairly effective in that purpose, they are not commonly in use by American police.
Conjurers' Monthly Magazine (Feb. 1907)

Models of varying quality have been made by many manufacturers, including the Lion Tamer Thumb Cuffs, Flash Action Manacle Thumb Cuffs, "Peerless" Thumb Cuffs, Thum-Cuffs, and Austrian Thumb Cuffs. Also, the "Sen Yen Thumb Cuffs," "Improved Thumb Cuffs," and "Ultimate Thumb Cuffs."[1]


  • Off-the-Cuff: Bob Brown, Magical Miscellany II: Jotts of a Generalist (ca. 1985).
  • Thumb Cuff Card Trick: Tomas Medina, Guns, Firetrucks, Smoke Bombs and Ninja Stars (2006).
  • Thumb Cuffs for Older Kids: David Ginn (2012, ebook).


  1. Genii, Vol. 22 No. 10, June 1958, p. 356.