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  1. #1

    Default PYES brass padlock found -patent 1858 1860

    Hey Guys I am new and was wondering if you could help. I was out last weekend and found an old dump in the middle of nowhere. We found old wagon wheels, old glass bottles, farm implements, old shoe soles, wooden barrel rings and This Lock.

    It is a padlock that appears to be solid brass, has the word PYES and patent dates of 1858 and 1860, I found it under some rocks

    The mechanism inside is not frozen and appears to be functional, in fact I can feel some spring pressure. No keys were found.

    I did a little research on it when I got home and could not find a picture of one in anyones collections. Is it rare?

    I also found the patent for the lock online, I will try to include a link below

    Any info on this lock would be much appreciated.

    US Patent Office -Thomas Pye patent 1858 and 1860

    Is it OK to clean and restore this lock? If so what would be the best method?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails HPIM0724.JPG  

  2. #2


    So, I actually have no more information on the lock, but have dug up some interesting information on the family. Precisely as oldlock predicted, I happened across this post while researching the Pye locksmithing family. I first got onto them when investigating "x-patent" locks. Locks that were patented prior to the US Patent Office fire of 1836. There were just under 10,000 lock patents issued prior to 1836, but only ~2000 were recovered afterward. So, the patent numbers started over from 1 and all the old patents they could account for were rerecorded under their original numbers with an "x" added after the number.

    So! Turns out William Pye filed for a few x-patent locks. Sadly none of them survived the fire and there appear to be no other good references to them, but I found a couple sparse references to his lock factory in New York that eventually led me to a genealogy which revealed all sorts of cool stuff. Here's what I've gleaned so far:

    Thomas Pye I came over to the US from England sometime between August 1793-1795. Dates established with the birthplace & dates of 2 of his children. He had several children, of whom William & Simeon are most notable locksmithing-wise.

    He established a lock factory in New York City, but later moved to Newark, New Jersey. The family history claimed it was one of (if not the) first lock factory in the US, but that seems dubious and I have no secondary source. Perhaps someone else on here can point me to a timeline for that sort of thing, but his shop should have been established by 1795. In 1833 at the 6th annual fair of the American Society he won a silver medal for his "knob lock." At the time they listed his shop at 143 Leonard St. The genealogy I mentioned previously suggested he was on Broadway, so I think it's safe to assume his shop was on or close to the corner of Leonard and Broadway.

    By 1844 he had moved to Newark, as I found a letter addressed to him at Quarry Street in Newark. The letter was written on May 10th, 1844. It was addressed to him, but written by Thomas Whaley to his mother, Rachel Whaley. However, at one point he insists to his mother that she insure his Father's locks and remove the important locks and papers to a different building. He was very concerned about fire. His father was Thomas Alexander Whaley, a NYC locksmith, who married Thomas Pye's daughter, Rachel.

    Thomas Whaley's concerns about fire may have stemmed from some hard luck suffered by his uncle, William Pye.

    William likely worked with his father in the New York City factory, but eventually set up shop for himself. In March of 1827, he moved his "Patent Lock Manufactory" to 101 Canal Street, between Church and Chapel streets. Chapel street would become West Broadway, so while I don't have the exact placement, this google map link should put you within a few dozen yards of where his lock factory was.

    In 1831, he petitioned congress that the "patents granted to him in the year 1818, for locks and bolts for doors, and for a lock called the "union lock," may be renewed." Unfortunately for William it looks like that may not have happened. The only other mention I find of this event simply says "Mr. Taylor...made an unfavorable report on the petition of William Pye."

    In 1836, somewhat fittingly the same year that the Patent Office fire would wipe out any record of his lock patents, his factory burned to the ground. The only other building to take serious damage was his house. Sadly his insurance was only able to cover 40-50% of the total monetary damage.

    I don't have much on Simeon, yet, except that he, too, got into lock making. The OP already put up Thomas Pye's patent for the lock in question, but here are the X-Patent #s that got me on this hunt originally:

    2947X - Locks and bolts for doors
    2948X - Lock, called the Union Lock
    Last edited by Dean Nickel; 20-02-12 at 03:13 AM.

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