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1800s Antique Rare Maker LVRR Lehigh Valley Railroad Brass Switch Key by Nock
Here is one terrific rare maker key from the Lehigh Valley Railroad. It is lovely with a tapered ringed barrel made by George W. Nock of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We were unable to find out much about the company, but apparently the Nock family locksmiths operated from at least the 1830s throughout the 19th century and into the 1900s. George W's name appears in directories and other publications in the latter half of the 1800s, into the early 1900s.
This key is brass, just under 2 inches total length. It has a tapered barrel with one ring incised around the top. On one side of the bow is stamped LVRR in fine, serif Roman letters and the letter S. On the other side, in minuscule but beautifully crisp, clear letters, is stamped GW NOCK and PHILAD with the serial number 5949.
The bit and end of barrel are nicely rounded from use and it has great pocket wear.
The only thing we can criticize is that the bow is dark in several places on both sides -- this is discoloration only, there is nothing "on" the metal. We did not want to try to polish it, for fear of harming the color.
BACKGROUND from Wikipedia: The Lehigh Valley Railroad was one of a number of railroads built in the northeastern United States primarily to haul anthracite coal, with a goal of making the shipments faster and more effective than the boats that were transporting it at the time. Authorized on April 21, 1846 for freight and transportation of passengers, goods, wares, merchandise and minerals in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, the railroad was incorporated/established on September 20, 1847 as the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill & Susquehanna Railroad Company. On January 7, 1853, the railroad's name was changed to Lehigh Valley Railroad. The LVRR soon became known as the Route of the Black Diamond, named after the anthracite it transported. The railroad ended operations in 1976 and merged into Conrail along with several northeastern railroads that same year.
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