Rhyl, United Kingdom
As a form of work or punishment prisoners were made to turn the
handle of a handcrank - a totally repetitive and meaningless exercise.
Adults had to turn up to 14,480 revolutions a day (1,800 turns an hour) and juveniles 12,000 revolutions a day (1,500 turns an hour - about one turn every 2 1/2 seconds).
The handcrank handle only worked one way and its counter could be reset to zero by warders outside the cell. On some models cups scooped sand from inside a box,
carried it to the top of the crank wheel, where it fell back to the box bottom. On others
pressure on a friction wheel was regulated by warders (nicknamed "screws") who adjusted weights or tightened cogs as they became loose. Later machines were self regulating
July 27th, 2013
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