Summary of Tollyboy's History 1956 - 2023
Tollyboy was founded in 1956 by John Harold Higgenbottom (Hal) when he was working in the University of Sheffield's workshops. The orginal inspiration to start the business was a request (probably only half serious) from one of the professors to build a belt for his wife. This was built and at some time fitted with thigh bands. As far as is known this was the very first of the modern generation of stainless steel chastity belts. This belt was used for long term chasity and established the idea of making belts as comfortable as possible, very secure and as invisible as possible under clothing. Originally parts were made after hours and in break times in the university workshops.
The name Tollyboy was almost certainly taken from a packet of rice, bought from or seen in the local shops. Tollyboy rice is still availabe but has nothing in common with us apart from the name.
The business slowly expanded with Hal establishing a workshop at home and advertising in some of the contact magazines of the day. At sometime now lost in the mists of time Hal began recieving requests for Male belts, he experimented with these including a design with a large hole cut through the guard for the scrotum, sadly there is no more information in existance apart from one guard. I assume it was intended that a penis tube would be fitted to the outside of it but if so there is scant evidence of how.
Eventually he developed the design that became popular with most of the other makers with the exception of Latowski, Cararra and Reinholds of making a wider guard but broadly similar to the female belts and fitting a sheath tube on the inside. This design has remained in production with only minor changes since Hal first developed it.
Over the decades the manufacture of the belts has moved on from hacksaw and file to bandsaw and now to laser or water jet cutting. Female guards have got thinner from the original 20Ga to 1mm to 0.9mm as for a long time 1mm was not available for laser cutting in the UK. In 2023 they returned to being 1mm thick. It was discovered by Hal a long way back that the guard actually works better if it has some flexiblity.
Welding has taken over from riveting in some areas of belt assembly but for the most part rivets work well and look better so are still used.
Locks have had the most changes over the years starting out with the lock block being cross pinned in place with the padlock only used to retain the locking pin. This held the locking pin in double shear making it much stronger than the padlock designs that have a pin vertically on the top of the padlock as there is not enough travel so the pin is only in single shear. At some time certainly before 1994 Tollyboy moved away from padlocks due to poor security given by small 4 pin locks and excessive weight and size of high security padlocks. The move to radial locks for everything except the scolds bridle and the gag were completed long before I came on the scene in 1994. The only change I made to the lock blocks when I took over following Hal's death was to locate the block between two 5/16 inch pillars instead of Hal's design of fitting them over two 5/32 inch pillars.
Since I took over in about 2000 there have been a range of locks fitted to various experimental belts including Medico, Vanlock, various change key locks some special hand built double row 15 pin locks. Mostly the belts still used the 7 pin radial lock pioneered by Hal, I frequently repin the locks though so as to be able to supply keyed alike locks for the two locks on a male belt, several belts with the same key if wanted etc. The repinned locks usually have higher security as some of the pins can be replaced with security pins (spool, mushroom etc). There are some locks out there fitted with trap pins by special request, these are very nasty, if a mistake is made when trying to pick these they will turn less than one full turn and jam forever in that position. They look exactly like any other radial lock so there is no give away as to what might be inside them. I have never had a complaint perhaps because no one ever tried to pick it. I also started selling permanent locks which contain a one way ratchet they can be screwed on with any tubular key but will not unscrew at all ever, the belt could only be removed by cutting. These locks were only a joke, I never expected to sell any and yet here I am 20 years on still getting requests for them.
2010 - 2023 there was not a lot happening with Tollyboy not because I didn't want to be building belts but a combination of illness and death of my parents in law and a life time of undiagnosed ADHD leading to crippling depression where I was hardly able to work. On the bright side I somehow knew that Tollyboy would come back so held onto all the machinery. With Brexit I moved to the EU and found a doctor who had one look at me and said you have ADHD, why didn't you come to me 60 years ago. The treatment is working, the machinery is coming out of storage my mind is fizzing with bright ideas and Tollyboy is back. Full production will resume as soon as possible the first new laser cutting orders are out and new products are on the drawing board. I am currently in discussion with a lock supplier regarding an upgrade to 10 pin drill resistent locks for the new product and as a replacement for old locks. I am also considering serioulsy in the future introducing custom made 15 pin Tollyboy Locks as a standard lock for all belts.
Many Tollyboy products are copied, but none equal our quality.