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The Techniquer

One such torture device was the Techniquer seen here. It was introduced in 1916 under UK patent no.3870/15 and US patent no.1,174,275. Its inventor was Dr. Richard James Pitcher (1871 - 1946) of London. Within the patent's paperwork, Pitcher referred to his invention as a device "...commonly known as finger exerciser or hand expander...." Professionally, pitcher was a music teacher and organist.



Dr. Richard J. Pitcher 

London, England, UK


From about the year 1900 until into the 1930s, there was no shortage of odd finger spreaders, finger exercisers and hand expanders, such as the Ochydactyl and Excelsior, marketed towards musicians and sufferers of carpal tunnel syndrome. Such devices were meant to limber the appendages. Unfortunately, in some instances, as with the Ochydactyl, the devices did the opposite when they broke the bones of the user's fingers.

Pitcher Finger Spreading Device Patent

The Techniquer consisted of 4 wood blocks, two wing nuts and two brass tracks. To exercise the four fingers, the user would slide the tall, interior block out along the track and then slide the fingers down the two taller blocks. Pushing the interior block out further to stretch the fingers further. To exercise the thumb, the user would stack the interior block atop the one short one and slide the thumb and pointer down the blocks. It was crude and mostly ineffective so not a marketable success.

Need a copy of an instruction manual? Get it here...


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