107. Lock Museum of America

The Key To My Heart
Terryville section of Plymouth
(Google Maps Location)
May 28, 2009

Come. Come with me on a journey into the mind of a madman. No, not me, but Tom Hennessey – the guy most responsible for the wonderful insanity (some blowhards would say inanity) of the Lock Museum of America. At the outset you should know… This museum contains nothing but locks. Okay, there are keys too, but that’s it. Nothing else. At all.

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And I loved it. So did Dan, who was wrapping up his day long CTMQ adventure with me out here in Terryville at the lock museum. After a full day of museum going (you can see our itinerary for his profile of me here), Dan was positively giddy (and a bit punchy) nearing the end. For my part, I was quite happy too.

107aWhy? Because I had shown Dan a solid day of what this blog is all about. We went to a wide variety of museums, met some wonderful docents, learned a bunch of stuff we didn’t know we cared to learn and here, at the lock museum, it all came together for him (I think). Totally random, singularly devoted to one subject (Locks!), and decidedly quirky, I had created a convert in Dan. He grew up in Connecticut and went to Yale, but like 99% of the public, had never really delved into the seemingly mundane to find the exquisite. Now he had… And like I said, he was loving it.

Not that either of us gives a hoot about locks. They are merely functional and important little pieces of hardware that we navigate several times a day without thinking about them. We lock our houses with tumbler locks. Our cars with automated locks. We get into our office buildings with magnetic strip reader locks. Unlock our desks with little crappy key locks. And thankfully there are those out there who find beauty and historical significance of these things to the extent that they’ve put together an incredibly large display of them in a museum setting.

107bI shouldn’t have been surprised at the size of the collection. After all, I was wowed a few miles away at the American Clock & Watch Museum in Bristol just a month prior. (CTMQ Visit here.) Here in the industrial heart of Connecticut, where brass implements (Waterbury), clocks (Bristol/Waterbury), machine parts (New Britain) and locks (Terryville, New Britain) were made for national and international markets for years, there is a rich history of these things and several museums celebrating each towns’ past.

Which reminds me… 107 museums ago, way back at my very first museum visit at the New Britain Industrial Museum (CTMQ Visit here), I had made a deal with the tour guide there. While showing us the comparatively small collection of Russwin and Corbin locks there, the guide had complained about the Lock Museum saying something about how they got a huge amount of grant money whereas the Industrial Museum got nothing.

107dI promised him that when I made it out to the Lock Museum that I’d give them the business and ask them to donate some of their New Britain made locks to the Industrial Museum. I was totally prepared to do it too… But as you’ll read, that turned out to be an impossibility.

Built on the site of the original Eagle Lock Company, which began making locks in 1854, the Lock Museum of America chronicles lock-making history–a chapter in mechanical engineering lore. The eight display rooms house more than 23,000 kinds of locks, including vault locks, door locks, and padlocks.

Think about that for a second. Twenty-three THOUSAND locks. As you can imagine, The Lock Museum of America holds the largest collection of colonial and antique locks in the United States. I told you, this place is awesomely insane.

107cDan and I entered, paid the entrance fee and were guided by an older woman to the center of the first room. The museum is impeccably neat and obsessively organized – as it must be. As Dan and I spun around in wonderment at the locks before us. At this point, I think we thought that this room was the entire museum, which would have been more than enough. Little did we know that this was only about a third of the collection.

The woman smiled at us, walked over to a wall panel and pushed a button. The next thing we knew, we were being “guided” by the pre-recorded voice of (I assume) Tom Hennessey. This was a first for me: A tape recorder tour guide. Not only that, but the gravelly recorded voice emanating from the tinny speakers was unintentionally hilarious.

107eEven though the kindly woman had probably heard the recording a thousand times, she couldn’t contain her laughter at the disembodied voice of (I assume) Mr. Hennessey. The recording could have used a couple retakes at certain places, like when “the voice” would suffer a coughing fit or stumble hopelessly on a phrase.

It was pretty funny, but c’mon… The narrator sounded like he was 115 years old and he was clearly passionate about locks. What more could a museumgoer ask for? The lady took leave of us and we were free to enjoy the tour, such as it was, on our own.

107gAt this point, I think I could easily get away with simply posting 30 pictures of locks and be done with it. I didn’t take any notes during my visit because really, I think all they would say is “locks, locks, locks. Locks, locks, locks. More locks! Morlocks?”

Yeah, now that would be cool. Sort of a melding of the Clock & Watch Museum with the Lock Museum! Morlocks are cool. (Morlocks are a fictional species created by H. G. Wells for his 1895 novel, The Time Machine. They dwell underground in the English countryside of A.D. 802,701 in a troglodyte civilization, maintaining ancient machines that they may or may not remember how to build. Their only access to the surface world is through a series of well structures that dot the countryside of future England.

107fMorlocks are humanoid creatures, said to have descended from humans, but by the 8,028th century have evolved into a completely different species, said to be better suited to their subterranean habitat. They are described as “ant-like”, because they possess the ability to crawl up walls.

Morlocks wear no clothing but are covered with fur. As a result of living underground, they have little or no melanin to protect their skin, and so have become extremely sensitive to light.

I always appreciated Wells’ foresight and intelligence to set The Time Machine so far into the future. Anyway, there were no Morlocks at the Lock Museum, and this aside has now gone on too long. Let’s look at some real locks already.

107hAs I said, the museum boasts eight display rooms. This first one contains 23 different displays and “The Voice” walked us through each one, which as it turns out, is a pretty efficient way to go. I found myself rather enjoying it and even if you get lost in one particular bunch of locks, you can catch up with “The Voice” later as each display is numbered.

In a nutshell, the first floor contains displays containing Eagle Locks, trunk locks, padlocks, keys, cabinet locks, bank locks, colonial locks, Branford Rim locks, auto locks, old key machines and the museum hall of fame.

And I must mention the various collections around the room which contain – you guessed it – more locks.

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The first key duplicating machine! The world’s largest padlock!

Before heading upstairs to check out some more, um, locks, let’s learn a little bit more about one of the driving forces behind this singularly devoted place. (Info taken from some Bristol Herald article reprint I picked up at the museum.)

107h1Tom Hennessey had a long career in the lock-making industry. Once retired, he didn’t stray far from his craft and is still involved with locks as much as he ever was. Heck, he even authored a book called Locks and Lockmakers of America.

“It’s become the bible of the lock industry,” Hennessey says. He could discuss pins, tumblers and keys for hours. (I believe it.) The cuts on a key push the pins. When they’re all lined up properly the lock opens. And, as proven by an ancient Egyptian lock at the museum, the fundamental design has remained the same for at least 4,000 years. “It’s like a knife, fork or spoon,” he said. “It won’t change.”

Once upon a time, lock manufacturers prospered in Terryville, New Britain, New Haven. “Connecticut was the center of lock making,” Hennessey explained.

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Jail lock used in Wethersfield’s old prison (CTMQ “visit” here)

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Old Sing Sing Prison jail lock

107HOF
Yes folks… The lock Hall of Fame

In Terryville, the landmark Eli Terry Jr. Water Wheel was used to operate machinery at one of America’s first lock factories, Lewis Lock Company, in the early 1850’s. It is the only known original manufacturing water wheel left in the country. CTMQ notes: I can’t believe I didn’t make the two block trek westward to check it out. I have driven by it and will certainly make a trip out there soon and update this page. This 20-foot-in-diameter water wheel has a gear around the circumference that adds speed to the shaft which was used to operate the machinery of the factory.

107jHennessey was one of the founders of the lock museum and has been curator since it opened in 1972. The museum has grown from a small storefront to the eight current rooms.

Hennessey recently received a box from a Burt Spilker of Baltimore with over 300 keys and assorted locks. Some are over 1,000 years old and date back to Roman times – the collection is valued at around $300,000. (CTMQ notes: Holy crap.) And going back to the Industrial Museum’s lament, the lock museum got a $50,000 contribution from the Yankee Securities Convention, which is some sort of lock group.

And check this out: Hennessey’s lock expertise has taken him on some interesting travels. He set up the key systems at SMU in 1963 and saw President Kennedy’s motorcade pass by about five minutes before he was assassinated. He also set up the key in system for the World Trade Center which had 46,000 Corbin locks. Hm, maybe this guy should stop traveling.

107kLet’s go upstairs.

The newest of room exhibit is an extensive lock collection that includes a Cannon Ball Safe, 30 early era time locks, Safe Escutcheon Plates and a large number of British Safe Locks, Door Locks, Padlocks, Handcuffs and Keys. Another display room, known as The Eagle Lock Company Room, contains over 1,000 locks and keys manufactured from 1854 to 1954.

The Bank Lock Room comprises a selection of bank locks, vault locks, safe locks and time locks. The Corbin-Russwin Room contains a large display of ornate hardware. Several pieces are gold plated and enameled. One of the animated displays shows how a pin tumbler lock works.

107m107_key
Beer lock! Independence Hall replica lock and key!

Recently added is a large, 20′ long display of mounted door knobs and escutcheons made by Russwin and P & F Corbin during the Victorian era. These are extensively detailed in styles such as Roman, Greek, French and Italian Renaissance, Gothic, Flemish, and Elizabethan English.

107oThe Yale Room accommodates locks manufactured by the company from 1860 to 1950. One of the attractions here is the original patent model of the Mortise Cylinder Pin Tumbler Lock designed by Linus Yale Jr., in 1865. While this device is considered the greatest invention in the history of lockmaking, it is certainly not without historical precedence. Close by is that 4,000 year old Egyptian made pin tumbler lock.

There is also a large display of locks and hardware made by Sargent and Co. in New Haven, Ct. Several early exit devices and door closers are on display as well.

And finally, the Antique Lock Room contains a large display of colonial locks and Ornate European Locks dating back to the 1500′s.

You get the point. There are a lot of locks at the Lock Museum of America. Perhaps my favorite little display in the whole place is the front gate lock from none other than the Lock Museum of England! Yes, the two venerable institutions traded door locks to display in each other’s museums a couple decades ago. I don’t know why, but that cracked Dan and me up.

107_ENG
The one, the only… Gate lock from the Lock Museum of England!*

*Update! Just found this on the Intertubes: Willenhall (in England) is famous for the manufacture of locks, and the UK’s National Lock Museum was situated within the town until it closed in December 2008 due to the withdrawal of funding by Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council. I’m actually somewhat upset by the news… And I just emailed it to Dan too. We care. Is there a Facebook fan group to help them out?

107w107t

As you can clearly see from my pictures, if locks are your thing, this is your heaven. And apparently Dan likes locks. The time was getting late and we had to get back through Bristol to Farmington to pick up Damian, but Dan just didn’t want to leave. He was furiously taking notes (and I took none and yet was able to craft this wonderful posting) and smiling at each new lock discovery.

At the least, I can say that Dan surely told someone about his visit to the Lock Museum and for that, I can be happy. I’ve successfully indoctrinated another person into my crazy world.

Lock him up and throw away the key. And now, some more pictures (you won’t believe how many I didn’t include.)

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107l

107_BATH
The Lock Museum bathroom door lock. I’m thorough.

107_DAN
Dan finishing up his notes on our way out.

…………………………………………………….

Back to Top

Cost: $3.00
Hours: May through Oct, 1:30-4:30PM everyday but Monday
Food & Drink? Chute Gates Steakhouse and Saloon – Oh my.
Children? Sure, if they get out of hand, just lock ‘em up
You’ll like it if: You appreciate the absurd
You won’t like it if: You thought it was the Lock Ness Monster
Freebies: Blank plastic key mold

107q

For the Curious:

Lock Museum of America
The history of locks
Virtual Lock Museum
Draft beer locks
Anti-roofie beer bottle lock
Pictures of Morlocks
Escutcheons.org!

107s

63 responses to “107. Lock Museum of America”

  1. miguel sartori says:

    hi,, i bought an old trunk,, undernis dirt, i found one the locks you have in your trunks lock, is th eone exatly under the sign trunk locks in picture number five,, could you addres me in how to get more information about lock, will love to have an idea of how old the trunk is…

    thankyou so much!!!

    great idea the museum of locks!! is an anusual databank!!

    best!!

    Miguel Sartori

  2. Kip Maxwell says:

    Hello,
    Can you help me out?
    I’m looking for a key for a CORBIN DESK DRAWER LOCK.
    info on the back of the lock is, HB7.
    This lock is also used on wwii u.s. feild desk.

    Thank You,
    Kip Maxwell
    530-736-9153

  3. Steve says:

    Kip – You should contact the Corbin company, the Lock museum or even the New Britain Industrial Museum. This blog has nothing to do with either.

  4. John Darby says:

    Greetings!

    I love your collections! Very extensive!

    Quick question: have folks created lcoks which a a bit Rube Goldberg? I am looking for something akin to the overly complex locks we see in Lord of the Rings or Hellboy2.

    Thank you!
    JohnD

  5. Steve says:

    Why does this page get the most illiterates who fail to read even the first two sentences? Or the URL for that matter?

  6. Russ says:

    Wonderful site! Hope to visit on my next trip to Connecticut.
    Grew up in New Britain and remember Russwin and Corbin locks, of course.
    Trivia question: In which Hitchcock movie do Russwin keys play a big part because there’s a missing key from a keychain, and it’s of a different brand, making it obvious that a key is missing?

  7. frank j p says:

    WOW ! (thank you)

  8. kerri says:

    Yeah, so I bought this chastity belt and after locking it noticed I didn’t have the key. Is this something that Connecticut Museum Quest can help me with? I need to get a duplicate old key because I changed my mind about wearing this piece of antique equipment. I’m thinking this was designed in 1759, but how can one be sure?

    …just kidding.

  9. D Locksmith says:

    I agree with Miguel, it is a very unusual databank! I never imagined that such a thing could exist. It would be interesting to see the old collections, the first lock systems compared to the actual ones. I have a very (very) old key at home, I have no idea when it was made… and I really don’t need it. Do you think it would be a good idea to donate it to the museum?

  10. Amanda says:

    I have some really old locks and keys P & F Corbin New Britain CT. and the number on the back is 2207241 was wondering if you would know anything about it. I have locks and more keys but it is the only one that stands out they all have one number on them they look like skeleton keys anyways I hope to hear from you;)~

  11. gary S says:

    I have a old 1700 skull and crossbone. Could you tell me how much its worth?

  12. cory sabins says:

    hi i have a very old key from The Eaglelock Co and i found it in my basement whinch was built in the 1800′s along with the church where i live. i was just curious what it may be worth or a story behind it.

  13. Steve says:

    I want you to jam the key into your eye as hard as you can. Only then will you see the true story behind that particular lock and key.

  14. Rachel says:

    purchased a trunk. only identifying marks is the lock to help date trunk. eagle lock 410. any idea as to possible manufacturing date for my trunk? any ideas is better than the 1920′s im dating it as. thanks a bunch!

  15. Steve says:

    Seriously you people are just messing with me now, right? Rachel, PLEASE tell me you’re kidding by asking such an idiotic question here.

  16. jacks hobby says:

    Wow great collection.Good job dud..

  17. Steve says:

    Even though it’s quite clear that this is not my collection at all? And how I repeatedly (yet endearingly) made fun of the guy who actually devoted his life to collecting locks?

  18. John McKenna says:

    Recently we did a job, modernizing a home. The interior locksets on the doors, both passage & privacy were unknown to us. The cut outs were rectangular, & the locks consisted of knobs attached to a shrouded rosette & a latch. It slid into the cut out & secured by two retaining screws, one on either side of the lockset. There are no markings on the locks. We would be able to send you pics of the locks if you provide an address. Any help in identifying the locksets would be appreciated.

  19. Steve says:

    What is a shrouded rosette? You see, I have no idea in the world because – as you’d know if you took 30 seconds to read more than the title of this page, let alone the comments where I have come to enjoy making fun of people like you – I don’t know crap about locks. In fact, it took me something like an entire hour to change a stupid doorknob in my house last year. I’m pretty useless with this type of stuff.

    Though if you feel compelled to send me pictures, I’d prefer they be of hot Latina women and not some boring old lock thing.

  20. robert mccrary says:

    Do you know a site that has all of the Eagle Lock co key blanks listed with a possible photo included? I have an oold Eagle lock but no key and a difference of opinion with the local locksmith about what kind of key it might require. If I could get an image…or a description, I might be able to make a key. But, all sites I visit do not list this number. 3ZQ8

    Thanks.

  21. Steve says:

    Me? I’d probably seek out an Eagle Lock Co site and not a goofy blog written by a guy who spent half the page above making fun of people who care about old locks.

    I would like to thank you, though, for continuing this maddening trend of lock-lovers proving themselves to be weird.

  22. Bill Cunningham says:

    Hey! I recently lost the key to my bike lock. If you could let me know where it is, I’d appreciate it.

  23. robert mccrary says:

    I am trying to locate a source for Eagle Lock Company key codes. I have a lock that is missing a key and every locksmith I have been to tells me that the code for that key cannot be found. The lock is very definitely made by Eagle Lock CO. The code is 3ZQ8. It appears that there was an over strike on the letter “Q”, so it could be a G. This lock is on an old metal lock box. Very secure. The lock is a half mortise lock measuring 1 3/4″ X1 1/2″. Can you direct me to a source for Eagle lock codes…..please?

  24. Steve says:

    “Every locksmith tells me that the code for that key cannot be found” so I turn to a website about museums and other items of interest in Connecticut named “Connecticut Museum Quest” and a page where the author has posted numerous comments making fun of his readers who failed to read 3 sentences on this website before making their comments.

    Including one just a week or two ago directly making fun of you, Robert McCrary.

    The human race is doomed.

  25. angel says:

    i have a corbin cabinet lock co padlock with key the key number is k127 and the key also has on it corbin new britain ct usa we could not find a date and would like more info on it if you ccould please let me know anything about this lock would be great i can send a picture of the lock if you can give me an email address thank you angel

  26. Steve says:

    I checked. The above moron named “angel” found this site, which doesn’t have the words “corbin” or “lock” in the url via ask.com. He or she landed on the Industrial Museum page, then searched the site for their stupid lock and came to this page.

    Unbelievably, he or she spent NINE minutes on this page before submitting the idiotic question above. So even though they were on this page for NINE MINUTES, they failed to read a thing, let alone the comments.

    It’s official – lock nerds have taken over from the button nerds on the Button Museum page as the biggest idiots of the nerd collector word.

    Congratulations.

  27. Tom Marquette says:

    I’m looking for a nieseen 612a.
    thank you for your time.

  28. Isaac says:

    This is incredible. Seriously incredible. A wonderful webpage that was amusing as well as informative, and a spectacular comment page that has people looking at me strangely while I work/cackle.

  29. Morlock says:

    Steve thanks for the report, thorough documentation, and you sparked a rather entertaining discussion page. Strange how ppl use internet these days huh?

  30. Alex says:

    I was searching for an answer regarding an antique key; however I stumbled across this page, and have spent I don’t know how long laughing my a** off at the stupidity of pretty much every person that has posted a comment. Thanks for making my day! Stupid people never cease to amaze…

  31. Rachel white says:

    I have some p&f Corbin new Britain ct keys I have a few questions email me. ????

  32. Steve says:

    Sure, I’ll email you. But you won’t like it.

  33. ake faamasino says:

    hi i have these key.the name on the key is P.F CORBIN NEW BRITAIN CT,and there is a code on the key,so if you read the email,please get back at me.my email address is agnesbelford@yahoo.com,or you can call me at 20364787136.thank you.

  34. Rob Fonda says:

    My daughter and I were out “treasure hunting” with our metal detectors one day and among the numerous other items of interest that we found was a miniature padlock about an inch or two down in the soil in a well-traveled dirt roadway between a couple of old sheds in a small town in North Carolina.
    The body of the padlock is round, approx. 15mm across and 3mm thick. There are 3 rivets, one of which forms the hinge for the bail. On this bail, the words EAGLE LOCK CO. are imprinted on one side, and TERRYVILLE CONN. on the other side. There is a letter “U” following CT. but the rest is obscured by the hinge itself. I am guessing that was a part of “USA.”
    Actually, we found two of these locks. We found the first one in this road that farm tractors traveled years ago. The second we found over 100 feet away close to the house presently on the property, built in 1953. It is adjacent to the site of the former grand old farm house that once stood close by. It was about the same depth in the ground.
    I am trying to find a reference that might list or picture this particular lock so I can positively identify it. It is small enough to perhaps have been on a jewelry box or maybe even a diary.
    How can I find a cross reference of old locks made in that area of Terryville?
    Thanks,
    Rob

  35. Dawn says:

    I am looking for an old, though not antique Chicago key (H2810) and thought perchance you could guide me in the right direction to find one. It’s for a gumball machine. Do you have any constructive comments? Thanks

  36. Steve says:

    Sorry. I am actually incapable of constructive comments on this page anymore.

  37. Janet says:

    I have an actual question that follows actually reading your entertaining blog. I saw a would-be review of this museum that said they weren’t open their posted hours. Their website was last updated in 2010, and the phone numbers don’t work. Do you have any idea how to visit this place, or contact the guy that runs it? My kid is doing a project on locks, and the museum is about 2 hours away from us, so I thought it would be perfect, but don’t want to drive 2 hours only to have to turn around and come back.
    BTW, you got really, seriously stupid questions from the interwebs up here.

  38. bill says:

    Hi I have a question I was wondering if you might be able to help I have an old trunk with an eagle lock skeleton key when did the company start up do you have an idea of an era they would have made travel trunk locks ?

  39. alains says:

    I have a brass plated steel drawbolt lock “Eagle Co” on a wardrobe steamer trunk,about 80 yaers old .I would very much appreciate if you could help me find the corresponding key.There is no numbers or letters to identify the lock.
    Would the Illustrated Catalogue,Volume n°46[Eagle Lock Co]1930 742pp+sup contain the information for lock identification and therefore the corresponding key number?
    If so,how can I get to flip through the book on the internet?
    Alains,Lyon,France

  40. Mike Kondrat says:

    Folks –I am looking for a replacement key for my old trunk made by the Eagle Lock Co. The number is a Eagle 56k2. I tried Brettuns Village web-site but they do not show it available. It is almost impossible to try and contact them– no phone # or e-mail address Help!!!

  41. Kathee Brashar says:

    Very interesting site. My husband has a lock that looks very old. It is round,has Eagle lock Co.Terryville,, Connecticut and The name Emerald on one side. Seems like it would be worth something. What do you think ??? I have looked on other sites and can’t find one exactly like it.

  42. Reader from PA says:

    Steve, Thanks for sharing your love of locks. But mostly Steve, Thanks for the laughs!

  43. Carrie Lynn says:

    Steve, It’s painfully obvious that the majority of the population cannot read/comprehend, so I would suggest 2 options: 1. disable the comments for your blog, or 2. keep telling the idiots how obtuse they are, as they are probably not reading what you write in any event.

    I think the museum is cool, cause I like funky things-and I really admire your restraint in your comments…mine would have been much worse!

    :)

  44. Lois P. Hoover says:

    I have a P & F Corbin key, CR 1909796. It appears the Lock Museum has many keys but if they are being collected by number, would this be an addition to the museum? Not for sale. I prefer to donate it.

  45. Bri L. says:

    Lois i have one of those keys as well.

  46. joan mcgarry says:

    Hello, I have a pair of pocket doors in my home – after removing the locking door pulls for cleaning I found a marking on the inside – Y&T inside of a clover leaf. I know this is a Yale and Towne marking but I can not find information on what years this logo was used. Would you know the time period Yale used this logo – I would love to how old it is? Thank you in advance for any infomation you might have. Joan McGarry

  47. Ken Mucherino says:

    Re:1926 Chevy Door Lock / Pillar Lock Eagle Key # CH 85
    Lee Whitford Suggested I contact Tom Hennesy of the Lock Museum
    Would you know of a source / locksmith for the corrugated key blanks or a CH85 key.
    Lee gave me the 7 digit code. I am not sure of the key blank #???
    Any Help Would be Appreciated. Ken Mucherino

  48. Julio Rey says:

    Hello, my name is Julio and I´m writing from Spain. I found an old lock and I can read in it: “eagle lock co. Terryville Conn. USA 7332″
    I would like to know the year when it was made…could you help me?
    Thanks

  49. Lynn Everhart says:

    I enjoyed the witty write up of the museum…. my husband and I will have to get there…. So many locks….. so interesting….who knew? And to have the subject of Morlocks thrown in as a bonus and a pun! Doesn’t get any better than that. Thanks again

  50. steve mcmullen says:

    Hi, I have just found a CORBIN CABINET LOCK COMPANY key cutting machine which is in a wonderful condition it has the CORBIN CABINET LOCK CO. NEW BRITAIN PATENT SEPT 6th 1910 plate attached to it. Everything is with it and it holds two huge drawers full of blank keys, maybe 1,000. It has numerous brand new cutting tools and one still packed in its original grease package.
    Everything on it still works and is free moving.
    Is this a museum piece.
    Thanks.
    Steve.

  51. christina says:

    Hi, I am looking to date a Skelton key. I know this much it was made in Italy and it is approx. 7-8 inches long. When you turn the handle the top piece pulls apart and reveals a letter opener or dagger of some sort.

    Could you help me and figuring out when it might have been made or when they were made.

    Thanks

    Christina

  52. Steve says:

    A dagger? Good. Stab yourself in the thigh with it.

  53. Ronald says:

    I came across an Eagle Lock company lock on a piece of furniture I bought that I am looking to date. The lock says s4k18 and is a square base with a post that sticks out which goes through the drawer. It was a single drawer dresser of some sort. Any idea?

  54. Steve says:

    Ah, yes, the good ol’ s4k18. When dating locks of this sort, you have to be careful. They are what we call “lock-teases.” Your date will be going along great… dinner, flowers, the whole thing and s4k18 will totally be flirting with you, giving you those pin and tumblers you always fall for so hard.

    But then, just when you think you’re gonna get some hot locking action, she lock-teases you.

    So I wouldn’t want to date an s4k18.

  55. Ed DeNeale says:

    I have a key that has P & F CO etched in it and a number 3 on it. How old is it? It is a skeleton key

  56. Joan sanders says:

    I just bought a big padlock with key at an antique auction in Georgia. Can I send a photo somewhere to help identify and find out if its worth I paid. Thanks!

  57. Chris K says:

    Steve,
    I am the Gatekeeper. Are you the Keymaster? If not could you date this ancient Sumerian lock I have?
    Thanks,
    Zuul

  58. Chuck says:

    I have a antique surveying instrument housed in a carrying case with a eagle lock #76P217.
    The instrument and the lock has the date March 15 1892.
    Any ideas on how to get more info?
    Thanks

  59. Michael says:

    We found an Eagle Lock Co. (Terryville, CT), key, #13C11, among my wife’s deceased parents’ belongings In Minn.

    It reminds me of a railroad switch lock key, but since it is not stamped with a railroad’s initials, I think it must be for another type of lock. It is almost two-inches long and seems to be of brass. Has a hollow tube with one end flattened to a circle with a hole in the middle.

    Any idea what it can be?

  60. Halie says:

    I have an Eagle lock co. Trunk key with the number 30 on it. Can you tell me roughly what year?

  61. Gloria says:

    We are restoring a historical home in Boulder City, NV and have Sargent locks on the doors. They are #605A, 607A, 609A, 612A, & 625A. I have only one key 613A. I continually keep my eye on ebay but have not found any. Any help would be appreciated.

  62. HAWK OLIVERA says:

    MY NAME IS HAWK OLIVERA ADOPTED NAME SANTOS VIDAL REA I AM THE RIGHTFUL HIER TO SEVEN OF THE WEALTHEST MONARCHS OF THIS WORLD QUEEN ELIZABETH THE SECOUND IS MY STEPMOM I AM THE GRANDSON OF THE LAST IMPERIAL MONARCH KING. I AM BEEN HELD HOSTAGE IN SELMA,CALIFORINA BY DWIGHT NELSON PLEASE SEND HELP I REPEAT THIS IS NO JOKE NEED MARSHALL LAW IN CALIFORINA NOW LIFE OR DEATH

  63. Steve says:

    What’s awesome about this insane spam is that it’s not too different from the insane lock people above.

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