This is a fine example of the latest switch lock and key set from the Boston & Maine Railroad -- would you believe these are among the hardest to find? Older ones are actually more common.
Both pieces were made by ADLAKE, and work well together, although the lock is a bit stiff from age and lack of use.
THE KEY is brass and stamped B&M on one side of its bow. On the other is stamped 3_96 . This is probably 3196 but the second digit, as well as the AD in ADLAKE, is worn away by "finger polish" as is the & on the opposite side. This key also has some slight wear at the top of the barrel from rubbing against keys beside it on a ring. The bit and barrel end are nicely rounded, and it has developed a terrific attractive patina and color.
THE LOCK is a steel switch lock made by Adlake. Its chain appears to be original. The maker's name appears in raised letters down the dust cover over the keyhole. On the back it is stamped B&M on the body, matching the key. There is a K 13 stamped on the shackle. A patent number stamped on the body below B&M was issued in the 1920s to the inventor of this TYPE of padlock and has nothing to do with the Boston & Maine or this individual lock.
This lock has seen quite a bit of use and has darkened from its original steel gray. There is surface grunge, very light surface pitting and some light bumps and dings. Probably most important of any issue is that the dust cover drop is solid and tight but the end is raised off the lock slightly. The internal spring is very strong - the dust cover resists being pushed to the side, then snaps back sharply on its own when released. Note the link of chain attaching to the lock is bent. The lock is stiff when you try to open and close it - it certainly should loosen up if lubricated/soaked but we do not like to monkey with our locks.
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