The Branks or "Scolds Bridle" was a device used for punishing women in the 17th and 18th centuries. Common in Britain,it did travel to America. Quaker women were starting to act unfeminine and speaking out during this time. As a form of punishment for such nagging, the Branks was locked around the woman's head to humiliate them and put them back into line. This was a common practice to tame "the shrews", and every settlement in England and Scotland had one.
The iron frame of the Branks wrapped around the woman's head. It included a muzzle, which blocked the tongue making it impossible to talk. The woman was then led, by a leash, through the town to be publicly humiliated. The Branks was really painful. The tongue plate was equipped with spikes that tore into the tongue with any movement.
Just another reminder of how bad women were treated through out history