Finger stocks

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Finger stocks from the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Pinto Collection.


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Finger stocks is the name for a device used to restrain a person's hands by the fingers. Finger stocks were mainly used as a means of punishment and restraint for children, not adults.

In the typical design, finger stocks are made from two wooden boards with four holes each. The two parts are connected with string or leather straps. The fingers are inserted into the holes. An additional strap might be tied around the hands to secure the finger stocks and make it impossible to free oneself by pulling the fingers out. The person's hand were usually restrained on their back. This also ensured an erect posture by forcing the shoulders back.

Such finger stocks were used as a form of punishment of children in the 18th and 19th century, at school or boarding school by teachers, but also at home by parents and governesses. Finger stocks were also used as a prevention and punishment for masturbation.

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