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Some problems require ingenious solutions. The rotary jail was not one of them.

Designed by two American engineers, William H. Brown and Benjamin F. Haugh, the system consisted of a cylindrical cell block divided into several sectors, each functioning as individual cells. This was surrounded by a circular iron cage with only one opening. The entire block was mounted on a central column such that it could be rotated while the cage remained stationary, allowing prisoners to enter or leave a cell only when their cell was spun to align with the opening. The idea was to, in the words of Brown and Haugh, ”produce a jail or prison in which prisoners can be controlled without the necessity of personal contact between them and the jailer or guard.” Why Brown and Haugh went the convoluted route and chose to rotate the cells instead of the circular cage, is a mystery.

Rotary Jails


© Amusing Planet, 2019.



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