Jim Stewart's collection of

The history of my obsession with strait-jackets is well documented around this site

(For a complete list of all strait-jacket mentions, see

Years of practical experimenting with escape techniques & challenges
resulted in me making several practice jackets,
including some unique designs which aimed to be completely escape-proof.

Although many of these jackets have now been handed on to others,
as a matter of history, you will find detailed descriptions and photos of several unique restraint jacket configurations below.

Use the 'back' button after viewing extra photos and details of each jacket

For further information about any of the jackets described here
and discussion of any aspect of restraint and escape ... feel free to ...
E-MAIL Jim Stewart

Some descriptions need re-editing. They were written while the jackets were still in my possession.


A seriously efficient one-of-a-kind restraint, specifically designed to eliminate most escape-routes used by professional Escapologists in the past. This formidable jacket featured in several TV programmes in the Seventies as the ultimate 'Escape-proof' strait-jacket - and nobody has (to my knowledge) escaped from it since - but not for want of trying.

To see more photos and learn about it's several specially designed ‘security features’...
click on the photo.
('Back' button to return to this list)

more photos & info
more photos & info

A piece of history. Based on a jacket used to challenge HARRY HOUDINI at the Kingston Empire in 1921(May), I made two copies. I got the story and all available descriptions from the son of Val Walker, a British Escape Artist who made the original challenge.
Although the famous American did escape from the garment provided, this escape notoriously called into question the means used by HOUDINI in such challenges.

Click on picture for further photos plus design details and information about
VAL WALKER'S challenge.


A very early prototype of what eventually became a unique ‘Fetters’ offering - before being copied by manufacturers all over the world.

This veteran jacket made from tough back hide had already seen hours and hours of action over the years. Now it has been sold on I'm told it continues to offer regular challenges -
and is still as robust as ever.

For more info and pictures about this jacket on this site - click on photo

The complete photo-set can be seen on the
SJ BLACKSTEEL WEB SITE (use 'back' button to return here)

more photos & info
more photos & info

Photographs of this unique jacket made for my personal use in the Eighties have appeared on several web sites since then. Based on the traditional design for FETTERS ‘Max Secure Historical Pattern’ but made from a very unusually supple-but-tough natural pale hide.

Virtually impossible to escape from without trickery, but comfortable to spend a lot of time in. The matching hood didn't attach to the jacket but (being eyeless) did help to concentrate the mind - and inhibit attempts to escape.

(For more info and pictures click on photo)


Raw Hessian authentic prison strait-jacket. I'm not sure where this came from.
No manufacturer's label or other clues. Could have been French.

Most unusual feature was that on each sleeve-end there was both a buckle and a long webbing strap. These gave scope for a lot of alternatives when cinching the jacket.

(For more info and pictures click on photo)

more photos & info
more photos & info

A one-of-a-kind canvas jacket with tapes. I learned a lot about escape techniques while trapped in this tricky little jacket in the early days. Since then it has seen a lot of action while frustrating a succession of would-be escapers who couldn't resist the challenge.

Based on a genuine 18th Century British Navy pattern. The tradition is that the everyday standard-issue tough white canvas working smock and pants odinary seamen wore, was occasionally adapted as a restraint by men who ran The Brig. By destroying a pair of canvas pants, and sewing one pants legs over each arm of a smock and then adding tie-tapes, this was the "unofficial" way of restraining a seaman who was drunk or uncooperative.
(For more info and pictures click on photo)


This type of strait-jacket is not supposed to exist - but dozens have been made in the Mail Sack workshops at UK prisons for many years.

Having first seen one in Wandsworth Prison (as a visitor) and then getting opportunity to try one on very briefly in the Home Office HQ in the Seventies - I failed to get my hands on one to test it for efficiency - so had to make a prototype just for experimental purposes ... BUT
did eventually get hold of two authentic models.
(For more info and pictures click on photo)

more photos & info

more photos & info

This old-pattern authentic American canvas restraint jacket was found in a Boston surplus store in 1960 and was in frequent use in my Playroom for many years.

The very unusual front-opening design offers some interesting opportunities for escape ...
unless the person applying the jacket knows all the tricks.

The supplier told me that the 'Melrose' was at one time standard issue to US navy(?)
A thoroughly serviceable alternative to the 'Posey' jacket.
(For more info and pictures click on photo)


Several of these well-made commercial models have been worn out in the service of experiment and practice sessions.
Especially when well-sweated in and stained from frequent use, a moody authentic clinical restraint can be a great piece of kit in a hospital or prison scenario.

A 'Posey' picture file has been started ...
but I would welcome photos of similar jackets in action. (Waiting for more pictures)

waiting for photo page
more photos & info

In the days of my innocence (long long ago) I wrote away for what was advertised as a ‘tricked’ Escape Artist’s jacket. I still remember my disappointment when it arrived by mail.
It lived in the bottom of a cupboard for years. I never bothered to use it - but kept it around as a rather humorous 'conversation piece'. Because the 'trick' was so obvious, it remains of technical interest only.

(For more info and pictures click on photo)

This prototype was based on a quick-and-easy to apply garmet
which I saw used in a home for young offenders.
It was skilfully demonstrated for me when I was visiting friends who
worked at that particular facility in New Jersey.
(Waiting for photo page)
more photos & info

E-MAIL Jim Stewart
to discuss any topic related to jackets

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complete INDEX of strait-jacket references on this site