Thumbscrew, France, 1601-1850

Made:
1601-1850 in France
Thumbscrew, steel, probably French, 1601-1850. Three quarter front view, black background. Thumbscrew, steel, probably French, 1601-1850. Three quarter front view, black background.

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Thumbscrew, steel, probably French, 1601-1850. Three quarter front view, black background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Thumbscrew, steel, probably French, 1601-1850. Three quarter front view, black background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Thumbscrew, steel, probably French, 1601-1850

Thumbscrews were torture instruments. They made prisoners reveal information or ‘confess’ to crimes. The thumb was placed between the screw and the metal plate at the bottom. The screw was then tightened. The thumb could be reduced to a bloody pulp if enough pressure was applied. Prisoners were also hoisted up by their thumbs. The prisoner was often subjected to the thumbscrews before even more painful forms of torture were used. These included the rack, where limbs were stretched and broken.

Details

Category:
Wellcome (general)
Collection:
Sir Henry Wellcome's Museum Collection
Object Number:
A67686
type:
thumbscrew
credit:
Seine Stalls