This is a terrific key from the Reading Railroad. Made by Fraim with a sharp, distinct keystone logo, we can date it to the early part of the 1900s. It displays beautifully with great color and strong stamping.
A plus for collectors is that this bit has the Philadelphia & Reading cut.
There is little if any wear on the bit edges and end of the barrel, but we confirmed the cut in our Johnson book where an identical key is shown.
The Reading Company (pronounced RED-ding) operated a railroad in southeast Pennsylvania and neighboring states from 1924 until 1976. Commonly called the Reading Railroad or Reading Lines, it was a successor to the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company founded in 1833. Until the decline in anthracite loadings in the Coal Region after World War II, it was one of the most prosperous corporations in the United States and lasted many years until modern competition with the trucking industry that used the interstate highway system compounded the company's problems, forcing it into bankruptcy in the 1970s. Its railroad operations were merged into Conrail in 1976
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