The regulation straight jacket is made of canvas, with long sleeves, which are closed at the ends, and are provided with strings running from the ends. It is placed on as if it were a vest with the opening toward the back, and is then laced up the back, fitting closely and tied with knots. Then the sleeves are crossed over the chest and tied with the strings behind the back. This prevents the use of the hands or arms, and in the case of a violent or insane patient prevents them from injuring themselves or others. A strap is then tied underneath to prevent it from coming up.
This act, like the escape from the chair and rope, depends mostly on practice and considerable strength. The first object of the performer is to pull the arms over the head. To do this he works his arms until the rope stretches somewhat, and perhaps the knots will give a little. After working for a few moments he finds that he can pull his arms over his head. This gives much more freedom to the arms, and he can move them about easily. He now gets hold of the knotsthrough the canvas of the sleeves and unties them, after which he can pull out the lacinz. Next he unbuckles the strap at the bottom of the jacket and slips the whole thing over his head.
This act can usually be accomplished in about five minutes if necessary, but more time is usually taken so that it will not appear too easy. As in the escape from the chair, the performer usually rolls about on the stage during the act, for the same reason as stated in the former description.
Many handcuff kings use straight jackets which have been prepared so
that they can remove them in a minute or two, but the above description
applies to the onewhich is used in hospitals, jails, etc.