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Vintage Florida East Coast Railroad Brass Railway Switch Key
This key is from the Florida East Coast Railway. It is stamped FEC in block letters on one side of its bow and ADLAKE on the opposite side. It is a Mid-century piece, dating from around the early 1940s.
Condition is very nice, with attractive darkening golden brass color and just the right amount of wear to document use and authenticity. There is some slight flattening on the sides at the base of the bow where it meets the barrel, likely caused by rubbing against adjacent keys on a ring. We did find a tiny nick in the very end of the barrel that will catch your fingernail, but cannot be seen without a magnifying glass.
We confirmed the bit cut from an identical key shown in our Johnson switch key identification guide.
The Florida East Coast Railway began operations in 1885 as a project of Standard Oil principal Henry Morrison Flagler, who first visited Florida hoping the climate would benefit his wife Mary, who was afflicted by health issues. Flagler, a key strategist who worked closely with John D. Rockefeller building the Standard Oil Trust, noticed both a lack of services and great potential during his stay at St. Augustine. He subsequently set out the building the railroad and developing resorts, industries, and communities along Florida's Atlantic Ocean coastline between Jacksonville and Key West.
The FEC survived through mergers, financial upheaval, government involvement and tumultuous, often violent times over the following decades. In modern times, the company's primary rail revenues come from its intermodal and rock trains. Since 2007, it has been owned by Fortress Investment Group which acquired it for over $3 billion (including non-rail assets).
COLLECTOR NOTE: Fake FEC keys are in circulation. These are stamped 7029 (or a number including 7029) and ADLAKE. Beware!
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