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  1. #1

    Default 1823 Jail Lock- NE United States

    Does anyone have a photo and any background history of 1823 jail locks? Any help would be much appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Greg

    PS- I posted this reproduction is it close??
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails jail padlock.jpg  

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    41
    Country: United States

    Default

    I am no expert on padlocks- I avoid them like the plague for precisely this reason. But I suspect this is modern lock produced in India, and aged through urine (and other methods). The fact it conveniently comes with two keys makes me view it with suspicion. There are numerous similar looking locks on Ebay, some claiming to be from Alcatraz or San Quentin. Others claiming to be Pauly Jail locks. I collect rim or jamb mounted Prison locks because the cost of making a convincing forgery would far exceed their going selling price (which is about $150 to $200 with a working key). But I could be wrong- I don't collect padlocks- Greg Wiley Prison Lock Collector

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    41
    Country: United States

    Default

    I think understand what you are referring to now. You are referring to the reforms of British Prison of the 1823 Penal Act.

    There is a 1824 Chubb lock on their webpage that may have been inspired by these reforms:
    20140206 1
    http://chubbarchive.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/page8.html

    Otherwise I am not sure what you mean by 1823 lock

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    California, USA
    Posts
    216
    Country: United States

    Default 1823 Jail Lock- NE United States

    I am inclined to agree with Gmanphotog that the padlock is relatively modern (perhaps mid-20th century). I have one nearly identical in shape, rivet positions, etc. Although it isn't marked "Made in India," there are several things that suggest this such as a misspelling - GUARENTED. Also, the maker is not honest when he inscribes 10 levers on the keyhole cover. I can't see an American or British company being able to get away with this. Below are 2 photos of my padlock. I do have to admit it's solidly constructed.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    California, USA
    Posts
    216
    Country: United States

    Default 1823 Jail Lock- NE United States

    Oop! I didn't post the picdtures. Here they are.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails CIMG1650.JPG   Rustam 2.JPG  

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Klemm View Post
    Oop! I didn't post the picdtures. Here they are.
    Since the manufacture of any locks was centered in CT and didn't start there until 1831 it is unlikely that locks used in 1823 were made in the US. They may indeed have been Chubb locks if they were mounted to cell doors, but if they were padlocks it is most likely they were of the economically produced Scandanavian type and very likely had bull ring shackles.
    BBE.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio USA
    Posts
    1,331
    Country: United States

    Default

    I think the idea that locks were not made in the US prior to 1831 needs to be taken with a big grain of salt. The relationship between the making of guns and the making of locks historically is a very strong one, especially strong with the moving parts of the gun, which coincidentally is known as the lock. The manufacturing skills needed were virtually the same. Since Ely Whitney did make guns here 30 years prior, the abilities needed to make locks certainly existed here. There were more than 10 US lock patents granted prior to 1831, none of which came out of Connecticut. The odds are also very great that individual blacksmith/machinists were copying or making locks of their own designs that were not patented. So while it may be correct to say that the lock industry was centered in Connecticut, it is stretching it a bit to say the first locks were made there. Doug

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    41
    Country: United States

    Default

    I really don't want to flame a US versus UK war, but I think there more evidence suggest what he is referring is something manufactured across the pond.

    The question is what happening in 1823. It may not be a patent, but a Royal charter. The 1820's was a period when Chubb first expanded into detentions locks as Chubb archive article I linked to previously stated. Initially with padlocks, which as the article stated, became very popular in other countries, the US included? Don't know- probably. They also patented a dedicated prison lock in 1824, which is one I pictured. But as BBE pointed out during this period in the US, dedicated locks were rarely used.

    But what is significant about 1823 is its the year Chubb became the official lock of the Royal family. Chubb locks carried this seal well after 1823, and certainly would have increased there esteem in the US. And a Chubb brother was making locks in the US at the time.

    Also the lock the posted put up is Mickey Mouse shaped lock. The reason why 90 percent of the forgeries on EBay have a Mickey Mouse shape is that was shape of early Chubb padlocks.

    So I think 1823 refers to the Chubb Royal seal.

  9. #9

    Default

    Thanks all for the history and your collective experience! It much appreciated and will be shared with my client who is restoring a jail from circa 1823. This is new for me as my business is creating reproductions of door and window hardware from the late 1800s.

    So what I gave I should be looking for a Scandinavian style lock, which I will pay top dollar for 12 locks with keys.

    My client is fine with a reproduction, however, I want to make sure it is historically accurate down to the metal type, etc.

    Thanks again,
    Greg
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails scandanavian lock.jpg  

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug MacQueen View Post
    I think the idea that locks were not made in the US prior to 1831 needs to be taken with a big grain of salt. The relationship between the making of guns and the making of locks historically is a very strong one, especially strong with the moving parts of the gun, which coincidentally is known as the lock. The manufacturing skills needed were virtually the same. Since Ely Whitney did make guns here 30 years prior, the abilities needed to make locks certainly existed here. There were more than 10 US lock patents granted prior to 1831, none of which came out of Connecticut. The odds are also very great that individual blacksmith/machinists were copying or making locks of their own designs that were not patented. So while it may be correct to say that the lock industry was centered in Connecticut, it is stretching it a bit to say the first locks were made there. Doug
    Hi Doug,
    While you seem to have read my post you obviously didn't understand what I wrote. I didn't say no locks were made in the US, what I said was that manufacturing started in 1831. You can find that information in Tom Hennessy's book Early Locks and Lockmakers of America. Before manufacturing in the US most latches were made outside of the US or by blacksmiths in the US. I seriously doubt that a jail was fitted with those blacksmith locks.

    Actually by examiningTom's book there were some 18 patents prior to 1831 but like many patents I see no indication that any of them were produced beyond the patent odels required at that time. In cheecking my own files I find that there were as many as 20 X patents for locks but again no indication of manufacture. It is too bad we can't get copies of all of those X patents but they went up in flame when the patent office burned.

    Jails in the US were being locked with padlocks as late as the mid 1800's, especially in the west. If the padlocks didn't have a bullring shackle they were typically used with a chain. As near as I can tell fixed locks weren't used in very many jails until the late 1800's.
    BBE.

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