This is a fine example of a railroad switch key from the Canadian Pacific Railway. It is stamped C.P.R. on one side in storng serif letters, with a letter S (for switch) stamped on the other side. There is no maker mark.
Our Knous price guide suggests that based on its manufacturing style, this key dates from as early as the1940s, but it could be later. We confirmed that the cut is indeed Canadian Pacific in our American Railways switch key directory.
This key would be perfect as an example of a switch key from the CPR, or a representative Canadian key. It has everything going for it - strongly visible markings for display, great patina and really attractive color. There is just the right amount of wear -- the bit edges and barrel end are nicely rounded smooth.
BACKGROUND: The Canadian Pacific Railway is a historic Canadian Class I railroad incorporated in 1881. Headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, it currently owns approximately 20,000 kilometres (12,500 mi) of track all across Canada and into the United States, stretching from Montreal, Quebec to Vancouver, British Columbia and as far north as Edmonton, Alberta. Its rail network also serves Minneapolis-St. Paul, Milwaukee, Detroit, Chicago, and New York City in the United States.
The CPR was originally built between Eastern Canada and British Columbia between 1881 and 1885, fulfilling a promise extended to British Columbia when it entered Confederation in 1871. It was Canada's first transcontinental railway. Primarily a freight railway, the CPR was for decades the only practical means of long-distance passenger transport in most regions of Canada, and was instrumental in the settlement and development of Western Canada. The CPR became one of the largest and most powerful companies in Canada, a position it held as late as 1975.
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