This very scarce key was made between 1908 and 1914 for the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway, a difficult line from which to find memorabilia. It is an "Oiler" style key -- with a flat bow that changes to a hollow barrel. The bit is large enough to open a switch lock, but so far we haven't found one.
On one side of the bow is stamped L.S.&M.S. above the serial number 7708. On the same side is a patent date of Oct 27 1908. There is no maker mark.
CONDITION is excellent. The barrel and bit end are rounded documenting use. The steel has taken on a rich silvery color that shines. There is extremely minor surface rust here and there (cosmetic). NOTE - the shaft is slightly bent just below the bow from someone likely trying to force a lock to open. It could be straightened but we've left it, feeling it adds character.
FROM WIKIPEDIA: The Lake Shored & Michigan Southern Railway, established in 1833 and sometimes referred to as the Lake Shore, existed until 1914. The LS&MS was a major part of the New York Central Railroad's Water Level Route from Buffalo, New York, to Chicago, Illinois, primarily along the south shore of Lake Erie (in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio) and across northern Indiana. Originating in Michigan, its earliest predecessors grew and prospered, over the years attracting attention from rivals looking to expand westward.
Around 1877, railway tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, owner of the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad, gained a majority of stock of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway. The line provided an ideal extension of the New York Central main line from Buffalo west to Chicago, along with the route across southern Ontario (Canada Southern Railway and Michigan Central Railroad). On December 22, 1914, Vanderbilt merged the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad with the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway to form a new, New York Central Railroad.
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