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A steering-wheel lock is a visible theft-deterrent system[1]/anti-theft device[2] that, as the name implies, immobilizes the steering wheel of a car. Mayhew et al. (1976) suggested that such a device reduced the probability of a car being stolen.[3]

Also known as a crook lock,[4] or club lock,[5] the first generation of steering-wheel locks, known as canes,[6] consisted of a lockable bar that connected the steering wheel to the brake pedal or clutch pedal. Later models include devices which are even more visible as they lock across the steering wheel and extend out over the dashboard[2] to prevent the steering wheel being turned.[6]

Wheel-locks have been used since at least the early 1920s,[1] when many cars were open touring cars, roadsters or what would later be known as convertibles. The Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office published details of patents filed in 1916.[7][8]

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