This excessively complicated, totally unnecessary 1881 invention really must be seen to be believed. The rotary jail is in Crawfordsville, Indiana, an invention that, with hindsight, should probably never have been built. But it was, here and in other towns across the United States.
It might have sounded like a good idea on paper, but in practice, it had a few unfortunate problems… including occasional accidental amputations.
This rotary jail in Indiana, is not only fascinating, it’s also first and now the only working rotary jail left in the entire country.
Rotary jails were popular in the late 1800s, particularly in the Midwest. The premise behind a rotary jail was both simple and unique. The jail would be constructed similar to a carousel, so that the floor rotated slowly, allowing only one cell to be accessed at one time.
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