German Crocodile Head Torture Pliers, 17th C


Out of stock


Pliers and pincers, sometimes used cold, but most often red-hot, were a part of every
executioner’s tool chest and used for the removal of parts of the human body such as
noses, fingers, and nipples. They were also sometimes used to rip or burn the penis, but
for the most part removal of male genitals was rarely performed. This example of hand-
forged iron features 5″ long jaws formed in the shape of a crocodile head with eyes,
nostrils, and long hooked teeth top and bottom. Blacksmiths of the period generally only
had relatively small billets of iron to work with and as such the 17″ straight handles are
forge-welded together a few inches from the jaws to form their full-length. Overall length
22 1/4″ (57 cm), weight 3 pounds 6 ½ oz, (1550 grams). Dark brown rust patina overall.
Similar example illustrated in Robert Held’s “Inquisition, A Bilingual Guide to the
Exhibition of Torture Instruments from the Middle Ages to the Industrial Era”, page127.