Arago: Mailbag Padlocks

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Mailbag Padlocks

Lever pouch padlock

Description:

Brass lock with bronze shackle developed by Solomon Andrews. The front of the shackle was stamped "U. STATES 1842 MAIL" and the back “PERTH AMBOY N.J. PATENT MANUFAC Co.” Also stamped on the front of the shackle is the number “2” which was probably a key code. The lock design and mechanism are as shown in patent number 1,882 issued to Solomon Andrews on December 5, 1840. The case of this lock is similar to a clam shell. It is made up of two plates of brass that were formed to shape by use of a die. The two halves are fitted with the internal mechanism and then joined together with brass rivets. The clam shell design had fewer parts and required fewer steps during manufacturing than contemporary padlocks, and thus could be sold at a lower price. The mechanism uses four to six levers with integral springs that act on a single hook at the end of the shackle. Solomon Andrews was the primary source of locks for the Post Office Department from 1840 to 1842. After 1842 locks were also purchased from H.C. Jones. This lock was primarily used to secure mail bags. It was felt that brass locks provided more safety, so they were usually used for securing registered mail or on longer or more important routes.

References:

U.S. Patent office, Patent Number 1,882.

“Postal locks: a primer for the postal lock collector,” J.R. Mundy, 1992.

Date:
1842
Medium:
brass
Dimensions:
0.5 x 2.62 x 3.5 in (1.27 x 6.67 x 8.89 cm)
Museum ID:
1992.2002.833
Place:
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

  • Lever pouch padlock
  • Lever pouch padlock
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