Posted 11 months ago
In my previous Show & Tell post, I showed how I put a reproduction of an advertisement for padlocks along with the four actual padlocks in the ad into a shadowbox to hang on my wall. While I was putting that project together, I thought I’d see if I could get some old lock ads, not reproductions, and collect the locks in them for similar projects. I ended up buying two pages out of two different, approximately 100 year old, hardware catalogs. When I received them I realized that I got more than I expected. Each “page” is actually a “leaf” with a page on each side. That gives me four pages. Ideas are swimming around in my head now. Four shadowboxes perhaps? I could make two with original pages showing. and then two more with copies showing. Maybe I’ll just make two and whichever pages I collect the locks from first are the only two. How about two double sided shadowboxes? The pages could be visible from either side surrounded by the locks. Don’t hold your breath. I’m dreaming and getting delirious. I’ll just look for padlocks to collect for now and decide what to do later.
Last April a collector friend of mine and I went to a lock collector show. I’ve gone to this show for three years now. He’s been going every year for many, many more. I brought photocopies of the pages I have so I could look for locks that are in the ads. I figured I could spare about a hundred bucks to see what I come up with. Suddenly my friend comes over to me and tells me about this padlock display cabinet for sale. It has several of the locks I am looking for. Since it is a display like you would see in a store, the locks hanging on it are actually not used and in relatively great shape. It was more than I wanted to spend, but he said something to the seller, another friend of his, and the price dropped just for me. It was still more than I wanted to spend, but I bought it anyway.
So here it is; my instant lock collection. A display assortment and stock cabinet from the Eagle Lock Company. This wooden cabinet would be sitting on a counter in a store. Customers could choose the padlock they wanted and the clerk could open the back of the cabinet and have his padlock inventory right there inside of the display. I estimate its age to be at least 70 years old, or perhaps as much as 90. I have found similar displays in ads for Eagle Lock Co, but not this particular display.
The first picture shows the cabinet from the front. There are twenty padlocks on the display. Luckily, most have an original key with them. Some of them look the same, but there are differences. The difference may be in the size or finish. Most are stamped tin “Poorman Story Locks”, some plated, some “Japanned” which means they were coated with an enamel or lacquer. A few of them are all brass.
The second picture shows the cabinet, opened, from the back. You can see the shelves for holding the stock padlocks and there is a list on the door of the padlocks with their model numbers and prices.
The third picture is a close-up of the name plate on the front of the display. Eagle Lock Company of Terryville, Connecticut.
The fourth picture is a close-up of the list of padlocks on the inside of the door. The retail prices ranged from 10 to 50 cents each.
Now I’m faced with an even bigger dilemma. Do I use these padlocks for my original project and take them off of the cabinet, or clean the cabinet up and enjoy my instant lock collection? The more I think about it, the more I think I’ll let the first project wait a little longer.