Saturday, August 17, 2013

Female Straitjacket - circa 1900

A friendly reader sent this link to a museum piece from the Museum Victoria located in Melbourne, Australia. It's a vintage canvas straitjacket that was actually used on female patients at the Mayday Hills Mental Hospital in the early 1900s. 

It's always fascinating for me to see unique designs for institutional restraints, and in this case the sleeves that lead into the closed pockets in the front of the jacket is something I've never seen before. 

 The jacket was obviously heavily used, and is described as "Well worn and much-mended..." Also noted was the additional stockinet padding added to the neckline to minimize chafing. 
Another quote: "Jacket has been subjected to immense pulling pressure at the shoulders." 

The F2 marking indicates Female Ward 2...

I don't think many institutions are still using straitjackets, but seeing this makes me wonder what a modern, possibly more humane version of a straitjacket might look like... 

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