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Early 1900s Maine Central MCRR Railroad SWITCH KEY only Lock not included
This lock and key are from the Maine Central Railroad. Both are stamped MCRR. The key cut, a seriously curved "9" assures we are not dealing with Michigan Central, the most likely other "MCRR".
THE LOCK is stamped MCRR on the shackle and on the other side is stamped FRAIM. A 1929 patent date is stamped on the body. It is extremely heavy (noticeably heavier than the "standard" steel switch lock) and given the time-frame is probably iron. It has darkened to an interesting color. It works with the key but is stiff and could use a good internal cleaning.
The internal spring is very strong - the dust cover resists being pushed away from the keyhole and snaps shut on its own when released. The clevis loop and pin are securely in place (no rust) and swing freely. There are overall bumps and dings expected from years of service. The only issue of note is some light surface-only damage on the dust cover and the body beside it. We first thought "Pitting" but it's possible the lock was repeatedly bumped against something that made these marks, which are cosmetic and don't affect its operation.
One last note - someone reattached what should be the original chain with an S hook.
THE KEY is stamped MCRR and S for switch on one side of its bow. There is no stamping on the other side. From the shape we can identify it as a Bohannan-made key. It shows very little use (the bit edges are not quite sharp) and is almost certainly a replacement for the original Fraim key. The color is an appealing, darkening brass and it is in excellent condition with NO dents or bends or splits.
BACKGROUND: The Maine Central Railroad Company operated in central and southern Maine. Chartered in 1856, it began operations in 1862 and by 1884, was the longest railroad in New England. It remained independent until 1981, when it became part of what is now the Pan Am Railways network.
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