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Global firm grew from small shop.

Hiatt & Co began life in 1780 as Hiatts in a small workshop in Masshouse Lane, Birmingham.

At Number 26, Mr Hiat, with one 't', made his name making 'prisoners' handcuffs, felons' irons, gang chains and collars' for merchant gentlemen who travelled the world during the days of the Slave Trade and the French Revolution.

By the early 19th century products were being used across the globe and in 1832 the company was of such national significance that it was entered into the Trade Directory.

During the latter part of the 19th century the firm extended its range of products from items for human beings to animals and soon became well known for its bull and pig nose rings.

During the First World War the demand for handcuffs increased and staff worked for 14 hours a day to complete orders.

In 1937 the company bought out its only major competitor, Thos Froggatt and Company, and the proprietor, Tom Froggatt, began working for the firm after making handcuffs for his friend Houdini.

During the Second World War demand once again increased and the business also made whistles, rattles and handbells for warnings against gas attacks, and in 1957, the company entered the plastic trade.

Throughout the 1970s and 80s the company expanded its exports of lightweight handcuffs which police forces and Armed Services across the world used. In 1986, Hiatt formed a distribution partnership in the United States with businessman Chuck Thompson - forming a new separate firm, Hiatt-Thompson.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 13, 2003
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