This is a fabulous and very hard to find matching lock and key set from the Lehigh Valley Railroad. It dates before 1900, having been made by George W Nock of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who went into business in the 1870s. This extremely scarce pair may well have been together since the beginning! Although we have seen several keys, this is the very first lock we have found.
The key is solid brass and has a ringed hollow barrel with a thick "bracelet" around it where the bow meets the barrel. On one side of the bow it is stamped LVRR above the letters SS . On the other side is stamped GW NOCK PHILA PA and the serial number 9324. It is a lovely deep golden brass color with no damage to the metal. It works perfectly in the lock.
The lock is solid brass also, with an iron clevis ring that swings freely. Several links of almost certainly original iron chain are attached. On its shackle, the lock is stamped LVRR in an arc above SS. It is further stamped GW Nock and PHILAPA (part of the last "A" is not well stamped). The lock responds smoothly and instantly to the key, and the shackle locks securely closed. Please note there are inconsequential bumps and dings mostly on the edges of the lock and also on the keyhole cover - cosmetic only, with no impact on operation. They add character -- if only this old lock could talk!
IMPORTANT: The only issue we can find are that the internal spring for the keyhole cover is not working. The brass plate covering the keyhole should stay in place and resist being pushed aside to admit the key -- this one has no spring, allowing the cover to move freely (SEE OUR PICTURES).
BACKGROUND: The Lehigh Valley Railroad was one of a number of railroads built in the northeastern United States primarily to haul anthracite coal. Its immediate predecessor was incorporated in 1847, as the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill & Susquehanna Railroad Company. Then, on January 7, 1853, the railroad's name was changed to Lehigh Valley Railroad. It was sometimes known as the Route of the Black Diamond, named after the anthracite it transported. At the time, coal was transported by boat down the Lehigh River; the railroad was meant to be faster transportation. Over the ensuing years the LV expanded into New Jersey and New York, expanding by mergers and acquisitions. Expanding beyond coal, the line carried both freight and passengers over its lifetime. Finally, in 1976 the Lehigh merged into Conrail along with several northeastern railroads, creating the Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail).
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