# Clevis Vs. Shackle Vs. Clevis . . . PLEASE define . . .

#### BillConnerFASTC

##### Well-Known Member
I apologize to Curtis as what he suggest does seem suitable for agriculture. Take a look at this data sheet but the key part is a quote from a DOE publication:

"Shackles are primarily used in construction, rigging and lifting. A clevis is used in less demanding applications such as farming and towing."

So both right - just don't use a (farm) clevis in my stage rigging - shackles only - and specifically anchor shackles with screw pins please.

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#### Ravenbar

##### Active Member
Honestly, for something I'd be visually able to inspect while in use(and with load ratings), I'd prefer a twisted clevis, as it's got a built in weakness / obvious visual indicator of deformation (twist wouldn't be at 90deg if any deformation.)

I rarely do any real rigging as the 1 show I do a year, I'm only handling lighting. I have been known to look at what their doing, say no, and hand over the 5000lb BS carabiner I use for my keys(I had no input, but they were suspending a student a couple feet over a bed... using hardware store grade, unrated hardware. I've seen those carabiners open up before...)

Well you have me interested Toodles. I thought Clevis was just an old term for Shackle, possibly a brand name from back in the day.

@porkchop would be another good person to call out.

That's what I've always understood...
Well, in my world, this has always been a clevis. But that doesn't stop the current employer from publishing internal documents calling a clevis pin a "detent pin". And then a shackle is a shackle.

The detent pin in that picture is a bolt. a Detent pin has a spring powered ball bearing in the side at the end to retain it... Think of the socket retaining bump on a ratchet, that's a ball detent.

#### bedavere

##### New Member
Hello everyone !
I am new here, and VERY LATE I KNOW !
I live in the UK; perhaps that explains my lateness.
I spend my life researching obscure items, identified of course by the names given to them.
My target is BALE.
Distinguished from Bail.
In England its principal meaning is "a bundle of material, commonly harvested corn, tied round the middle to keep it together.
Now imagine carrying such a bale horizontally by supporting it in the middle from below.
It is how we carry a new-born lamb when sheep-farming.
Consider the SIDE PROFILE of the little lamb with its legs hanging down each side. The SHAPE defines a BALE.
The early trade mark used on English SORBY chisels shows such a picture.
To be distinguished of course from other Sorby symbols: Mr Punch; Kangaroo.
NOW come the complications I come across during my research.
Google "Penknife Bale"; unfortunately it overlaps with the other word "Bail".
It is also confused by the fact that penknives are used to CUT the string on corn bales.
Google does not notice this subtle difference !
Pocket knives in England commonly have one of two types of "bale/bail":
(a) A metal loop, like the U-part of a clevis, 2 holes but no "straight bit" welded at the middle U-part.
A rigid pin runs through one hole, through a hole in the butt-end of the knife handle, and out the other clevis hole.
The two ends of the pin are bashed down how one bashes the end of a rivet.
So the clevis can swing at the handle end; and is permanently fixed to the knife.
I think in the USA you call this a "shackle". Its purpose is not load-bearing.
It is fixed on to attach a cord tied to the owner's belt. That way he doesn't lose his knife !

So there we are. This "loop" is called a shackle or a bale or (I think wrongly) a bail.
Sorry to have written at such a length and in such tedious detail !
My definition to help distinguish between "clevis" and "shackle" (without introducing "bale" or "bail") is to emphasize CLEVIS is a detatchable connection generally used as a universal coupling in industrial/agricultural areas of towing work; whilst SHACKLE is a device generally used in situations where no hauling/tension is involved, the purpose of the device being to secure an object or person (eg. a pocket knife or a prisoner) from loss, escape or other freedom.

#### bedavere

##### New Member
Sorry folks:
The other type of pocket knife bale is:
(b) A loop of thick stiff wire, "bent round" with its two ends pushed in to the two ends of a hole in the butt end of the knife handle.
Such 'bales' are listed for sale on American websites as 'bails'.
Sorry to say that I think they are seriously inferior to the type (a) bale,
as the ends can be prised apart and the loop easily removed from the knife handle.
My first pic shows a bit of twig (!!) defining the 'bale shape'.
Second pic shows bale type (a) on a top quality folding knife fully branded made in Sheffield England around 1920;
and type (b) on a very poor quality folding knife unbranded and probably made in China 5 minutes ago.

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#### bedavere

##### New Member
Sorby symbol shaped as a BALE.

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#### bedavere

##### New Member
Pics show type (b) bales (US"bails"); & one out of very many designs of Shackle - notice the screw thread inside one hole.

There is currently listed on Ebay (Item # 3346 3272 5556) a SUPERB example of an old wooden BALE. It is truely beautiful.
Anyone planning to visit the UK is welcome to stay with us for free if they bring this with them ! (HONESTLY !!!)

#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
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Welcome to CB @bedavere . Just when I thought this discussion could not possibly get more detailed and technical about something nobody in the real world cares about, you opened up an entirely new directon! Thanks for sharing. It was great fun to read this whole thing again.

#### bedavere

##### New Member
Welcome to CB @bedavere . Just when I thought this discussion could not possibly get more detailed and technical about something nobody in the real world cares about, you opened up an entirely new directon! Thanks for sharing. It was great fun to read this whole thing again.

#### bedavere

##### New Member
So sorry. I am still learning not very well how to use this site.

I have written a lengthy spiel on this subject, but now lost it !
I feel like Thomas Carlyle; he went out for a walk after completing his manuscript on the French Revolution and left his draft on the kitchen table. On returning home, he discovered his house maid had used the draft to kindle a fire. Aaaarrghhhhhh . . . . . . .

So what I write now is a summary.
The vocabulary around 'clevis' is varied:
Clevis: pronounced in the UK as 'clev(er)iss'. Think of Elvis whose name lies as an anagram within the word.
Design similar to a shortened 2-pronged tuning fork; round hole in the end of each prong; handle very short or non-existent and welded to or forming part of a bar being part of the structure at the rear of a towing vehicle.
Linked to a 1-pronged 'clevis' at the front end of a non-powered vehicle to be towed and bearing a load.
A stout metal pin holds the two parts together. The connection articulates: if the pin is horizontal, the assembly adjusts to the contours of the route; if the pin is vertical, it adjusts to the lateral changes in the route.
Pic1 shows a heavy duty clevis.
Shackle: used to secure (eg) a yacht sail, or a prisoner.
Manacle: simliar.
Fetters: similar, being an assembly including attached chains.
(Hand)cuffs: similar.
Bail/Bale (US/UK): loop on the butt end of a pocket knife, for securing a cord then tied to user's belt to prevent loss of the knife. ('Bail' (UK) also means money paid to allow a person charged with a crime to be released whilst awaiting appearance in Court). ('Bail' (UK) also one of two short stubs of wood resting across the top of the three stumps in a game of cricket.)
Bale: Origin Old French 'roll of organic matter, tied tight'; now means a bundle of material, laid parallel and tied tight with wire or twine. Commonly refers to harvested stalks of corrn tied or 'baled'. It has an archaic meaning 'evil' or 'bad'.
Bale is also a word referring to the SHAPE of some particular objects.
THIS is the meaning that interests me the most !
If you Google "bale handle paint tin" you will find BALE is used specifically for its shape, simultaneously with its design features being the same as those of the shackle and the American 'bail'.
All these complications, inconsistencies, duplications, variations, subtleties and differences make this very boring subject unendingly fascinating.
Is anyone able to suggest the original use of the wooden bale ?
I believe it dates back to early 20th/late19th century. Please help me; this is, I believe, a truly "classic" 'bale'.

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#### bedavere

##### New Member
BALE: here is another object taking the typical 'bale' shape, but with a variation of use beyond those I have already mentioned.
It is a beautiful British Bronze Age 'TORQUE'.
The owner would probably have been of fairly average status; but as it is made from an alloy of copper, rather than gold, the owner would not have been of high status.
The torque would have fitted round the neck, open side above the throat.
The owner would have been wearing a cloak, no collar but the top border would have been pulled up to surround the neck, then tucked within the torque from below, and the emerging border then pulled further up above the torque.
The torque would then have held the cloak (rather like a belt round the neck) from falling.
Neat !!
So there is a 'tenuous' connection of the ancient torque with the more recent bale.
The end holes do have a function: they prevent the torque, if it had blunt ends, from these poking through the loose fabric - perhaps animal skin - of the cloak.
I see this torque as a beautiful 'bale'

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#### bedavere

##### New Member
TORQUE:
Sorry. I meant also to say another 'function' of the beautiful scrolled ends is to express the maker's feeling for beauty in 'his' craftsmanship. Many of the functional tools in our lives do have a clear aesthetic appeal. Who cannot admire a well-designed, made and finished tool ? Who wouldn't mind paying that much more for a brand new tool if it has aesthetic appeal ? That in itself has a function: to lead the new owner to use the tool with respect, and to keep it clean, oiled, sharp, properly maintained and, of course, securely locked up in their tool box after use !!

#### bedavere

##### New Member
I've found another clevis application: the hinge on the frame of a pair of spectacles. Very neat.
And another shackle 'thing': the 'eye' in a Newey hook & eye used somewhere on clothing. Although the 'shackle' doesn't take a screwed bolt, & nor does it "lock" round something: it does take the classic shape and it does 'secure' the hook.

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#### bedavere

##### New Member
I forgot to thank Gafftaper for his welcome. Thank you !
One way to distinguish shackle from clevis might be to find the form and use of the first device that could be identified as being either one or the other. I'd expect the "original" device would have had a distinct use/function in its time. This would then be a starting point from which to trace the evolution of devices - in terms of both design and use - that use the 'essence' of the original design.

My thinking (guys in the US may shoot me down) is that the BALE (q.v. earlier posts) is perhaps the original form.
The oldest bale I have come across is the wooden one in my earlier pic.
My problem is I have NO IDEA what it was used on. I am pretty sure however it started life in the US.

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