Unusual 1940s Hollow Barrel Railroad Brass Key marked CTA - Chicago Transit Authority - image 1 of 5

This interesting key from the Chicago Transit Authority is stamped CTA in serif Roman style letters on one side of its bow. There are no other markings. At 3-1/4 inches long with a slender barrel and an appealing golden brass color , it is a standout in any collection.

We believe it dates from Mid-Century, the later 1940s, when the CTA arose from the purchase of two Chicago electric railroad operations. This type of key would have been used for a coach door. It differs from many caboose or coach keys because it has a hollow barrel.

The bow attachment is very different than most we have seen: a flat ring was affixed to a 2-1/4 inch shaft by the manufacturer.

Condition is extremely nice with light use evident. The bit and barrel edges are nicely rounded and show signs of wear.

BACKGROUND: Serving the city of Chicago, Illinois and 10 surrounding suburbs, the Chicago Transit Authority started operations on October 1, 1947 upon the purchase and combination of the transportation assets of the Chicago Rapid Transit Company and the Chicago Surface Lines streetcar system. The CTA is an Illinois independent governmental agency. In 1952, CTA purchased the assets of the Chicago Motor Coach Company, which was under the control of Yellow Cab Company founder John D. Hertz, resulting in a fully unified system. Today, the CTA is one of the three service boards financially supported by the Regional Transportation Authority and CTA service connects with the commuter rail Metra, and suburban bus and paratransit service, Pace.

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Unusual 1940s Hollow Barrel Railroad Brass Key marked CTA - Chicago Transit Authority

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