This superb brass switch lock and key set, a matched pair by Bohannan, is from the Fitchburg Railroad, which operated from Boston through northwestern Massachusetts.
The lock is heart shaped and heavy. On one side of its shackle is stamped FITCHBURG.R.R and on the other side is the mark of its manufacturer Wilson Bohannan of Brooklyn New York, with a patent date of June 25 '79 (1879). A number stamped below the patent date appears to be 120 or 180 - it's hard to read - this is Bohannan's own number for that particular style of lock. The letter S for switch is also stamped on the shackle. There is strong spring to the dust cover, and the chain attached with a clevis pin appears to be original. There are some light surface marks on this lock, but we do not make any attempt to clean or polish any of our metal items.
The key is wonderful, with an incised ring around its barrel. It is stamped FRR on one side of the bow along with a number 654 and the letter S ("switch"). On the other side is stamped W.BOHANNAN / BROOKLYN N.Y. The color is a highly appealing, golden brass. It shows use, but NO cracks or splits in the end of the barrel. It works smoothly and cleanly with the lock.
The Fitchburg Railroad was incorporated in 1842, to run from the city of Boston to Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Construction began in early 1843, and the first section to Waltham opened in December 20, 1843. Further sections opened the following to Concord, Acton and Shirley, and then to Fitchburg in 1845. After numerous expansions, notably within and around Boston, the Fitchburg Railroad was leased in 1900 by the Boston & Maine Railroad, which operated it as its Fitchburg Division for nearly 20 years. Then, in 1919, the two companies merged to form a new Boston & Maine, effectively ending the Fitchburg as an individual railway.
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