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All of the implements featured in “The Traditional Series” are exactly that: “Traditional”. The implements are replicas of what has been used over the years in the home, in schools and other establishments for the purposes of punishment, discipline and retribution. All of these items have been reproduced to the exacting standards of the original implements. All the leather used to make these implements is from British Oak Bark Tanned Back Leather (the most expensive part of the hide and the best quality) from one of the oldest tanneries in England.
The Razor Strop became a fixture of the 19th century American barber shops where, according to the jingle, one could receive a shave and a haircut, for two bits (twenty five cents). The nineteenth century barber sharpened his straight razor on the strop, gradually softening the stiff cowhide until it could no longer forge an edge on the razor. Then the strop found its way into the home, where it enjoyed a second life as a fixture of parental discipline.
Our Old fashioned Razor Strop is just like the ones used in homes in the 40s and 50s and felt across many a naughty boy or girl’s bare backside. This is a fine example of a double strop, and is hand-crafted to original specifications by The London Tanners. Measuring 22 inches by 2 inches, it consists of two layers of the finest Oak Bark Tanned British Harness Leather.
The top layer is 5.5mm (12+oz) thick; and the bottom layer is 4.mm (10 oz) thick. It is attached to a nickel swivel fastener for easy hanging, secured by two nickel Chicago screws. Its top layer is marked with a saddlers’ crease line and both tails are fully beveled and burnished to a smooth glass finish. This is a fine collector’s item for the serious player.
The History of the Tawse
The Tawse is associated with Scotland, just as the cane is with England, and has been employed in domestic, educational and judicial contexts. Incidentally, in Scotland the Tawse is more commonly known as the belt. Many Scottish saddlers used to make Tawses, but the best implements were undoubtedly manufactured by the firm of John Dick & Sons of Lochgelly, a small town about 12 miles north of Edinburgh. The famous Lochgelly Tawse began with a saddler named Robert Philp who started making Tawses for his son and daughter who were both teachers. These proved so effective that other teachers soon wanted to own a Lochgelly, and the business quickly expanded. The firm eventually passed in to the hands of the Dick family and remained with them for three generations until they ceased trading in 1984. At one time, the firm was selling 70 or 80 Tawses a week and had a thriving export trade.
This is an exact replica, made to the original specifications of the Lochgelly Tawse made by J Dick & sons, and as used in Scottish schools up until the early seventies. It is hand-crafted from the finest 12+ oz (5-6 mm) dense Oak Bark Tanned Harness Leather, and stamped “H” for heavy. It measures 21 inches by 11/2 inches wide and has two 9 inch tails. All the edges are marked with a saddlers crease line and are fully beveled, burnished and finished.
Discipline in Reform Schools and Prisons was often very harsh. Reform schools for girls, since their introduction in the latter part of the nineteenth century, were experiments in transforming wayward girls judged incorrigible, truant, and, especially, sexually promiscuous, into ‘proper’ young women. In the twentieth century these girls’ attempts to redefine themselves and resist their sentences were unusual, indeed remarkable, given the intensity and effectiveness of the legal and penal disciplinary regimes they were up against. The severity with which ‘talking back’ was treated – including time in detention – indicated the emphasis put on polite feminine demeanor and obedience to authority in the school. Indeed, sauciness and defiance could lead to a strapping or paddling.
In an anti-CP article by the director of the John Howard Society, the caption reads:
“The ‘paddle’ or strap used in Canadian penitentiaries and Reformatories … is perforated, so that the soft flesh of a man’s buttocks is drawn up and torn with each stroke. He usually can’t take more than a few strokes at a time”.
Warden Allan of Kingston Penitentiary had a more innocent, aerodynamics-related explanation for the holes, to do with keeping the strap flat so that it did not turn and cut the prisoner.
Our beautiful but wicked replica is made of firm, heavy 10 oz (4-5 mm) dense Oak Bark Tanned Harness Leather of the finest quality. The paddle measures 20 inches by 3 inches including a 7 inch moulded leather handle that is cross-laced at the back, making for a very comfortable grip. The blade is 12 inches long with six 1/4 inch holes to deliver a little extra sting. It is approximately 1/4 inch thick.
The paddle is ideal for using with the culprit standing or bending over a bed, desk or chair. It is as comfortable for the top as it is uncomfortable for the bottom! Its size and weight make it the perfect deterrent for naughty boys and girls, especially when hung on its 3/4 inch nickel D ring for all to see. The edges are marked with a saddlers crease line and are fully beveled, burnished and finished.
IRISH SCHOOL STRAP
The Leather (Irish School Strap) as the name suggests was a leather strap, normally measuring between 13 inches to 18 inches long by 1.5 to 2 inches wide, with a thickness varying from a quarter-inch to a half-inch using 2, 3, or 4 layers of leather, depending normally on the age of the boys for whom is was intended. The leather had a shaped handle at the teacher’s end, and it was often stiffened and weighted internally. I must say that it was a beautifully crafted instrument, but not admired by those on the receiving end. It made a fantastic impact on landing on palms or backsides.
Our Traditional Irish School strap is a good example of the type used throughout Ireland in schools and homes up until the mid 70s and is a great piece to add to your collection. It is made of two layers of dense Oak Bark Tanned Harness Leather; the Top layer is 4mm (10oz) and the bottom layer is 5-6mm (12+oz). The strap is hand saddle-stitched together completely around the edge at 6 stitches per inch. It has a leather insert in the handle to build it up to a rounded finish. It measures 17 inches by 2 inches and is approx 3/8ths inch thick. All the edges are beveled and burnished to smooth finish.
Our Implements come in Rich Dark Tobacco Brown ONLY. Actual colour may be lighter or darker than the images appear on this page.