Arago: Mailbag Padlocks

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Mailbag Padlocks

Lever pouch padlock

Description:

Iron lock developed by Solomon Andrews. The front of the shackle is stamped "U. STATES 1851 MAIL" by the manufacturer, and the back reads "S. ANDREWS PATENT P. AMBOY N.J." 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 comprised of two plates of iron that were formed to shape by use of a die. The two halves are fitted with the internal mechanism and then joined together with 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. The Department also purchased locks from H.C. Jones after 1842. This lock was primarily used to secure mail bags.

References:

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

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

Date:
1851
Markings:
front "U.S. STATES 1851 MAIL"; reverse "S. ANDREWS PATENT P. AMBOY N.J."
Medium:
metal (iron)
Dimensions:
Height x Width x Depth: 3 1/2 x 2 3/4 x 1/4 in. (8.89 x 6.99 x 0.64 cm)
Museum ID:
0.234863.34
Place:
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

  • Lever pouch padlock
  • Lever pouch padlock
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