Home Antique Locks (83) Antique Eagle Railroad Switch Padlock Bypassed

(83) Antique Eagle Railroad Switch Padlock Bypassed


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My vises are made by Panavise, a U.S. Company.  The one with the wide jaws is the model 350.  The smaller one is the model 301. Both have the 312 Base mount – www.panavise.com




  1. usually a railroad lock would have the initials of the railroad engraved or marked on the key or the lock itself, sometimes both. some of them got REALLY ornate. they are common railroad collectables, and you can usually find a table or two selling them at most model railroad shows. I know my Dad has an old switch key filed down like you said, since his father worked for the railroad as a brakeman.

  2. Hi Bill. I thought I'd offer a bit of clarification. "Railroad lock" is a collector term, meaning a lock of any type marked with the name or initials of a railroad. Without such a marking, a lock is not a "Railroad lock", even if you were employed by a railroad, and took the lock out of service yourself (and the same goes for keys). While it's true that you will find many unmarked locks on eBay and other online sites, described as "Railroad locks", in most cases that's due to one of two reasons. First, many sellers have discovered that "Railroad lock" sounds sexier (and sells better) than "brass lever lock". And second, after seeing so many unmarked locks described as "Railroad locks", many well-meaning individuals understandably (but mistakenly) "learn" that that's what they're called. The practice of calling certain unmarked padlocks (usually brass heart-shaped lever locks) "Railroad locks" is so pervasive, that even someone with your remarkable level of expertise can pick it up. Of course, none of us is an expert in everything (I'm no locksmith, but I've spent over 50 years collecting railroad locks and keys). With that said, I really enjoy your videos, and find them very informative. Keep up the excellent work!

  3. I dig up tons of these things with my metal detector. Almost none of them are operational tho. Many have steel pins or random steel tiny parts that rust away and clog up the internals when they're in the ground for years.

  4. sorry bill t,but your incorrect.
    only waterbury ct is the brass city,while you're correct in the fact it is in the valley.
    Terryville ct,is the LOCK CITY!
    or otherwise known as the clock city. sorry bill t. but i had to say something seeing that is where i grew up, or got older . i never grew up!!

  5. Huh, I was just wondering what this pair of locks in front of me are called, and now I know – warded locks. Too bad mine aren't beautiful antiques but rather just crummy modern pieces of junk.

  6. I remember in 1956 my brother picked a much larger lock to a RR switch station. The  lock opened the light went from red to green. I was so scared I turned the landle back to red. Much later I picked a lock at the same location.

  7. Actually, every now and then these 4 lever tumbler padlocks will have gates cut in just the right place such that when you turn the "warded lock" bypass tool the levers move the gates into the position where the bolt can move into them when you push the actuator.  I have a Corbin 4 lever tumbler that does the same thing.  I doubt you'll ever come across another one of these locks that will open using a warded pick. 

  8. I'm curious why you erased my previous comment. I thought this was America, or is censorship still alive. As I mentioned before, this lock was never meant to be by passed in the manner described in your video. This is a rather secure four lever padlock. I believe this lock has worn and/or even has weak springs. I have seen this problem on similar locks. Your by pass is not a mainstream method. I doubt it would work on other locks.

    P.S. you're welcome for being able to do a video on my dad's U-Change invention. Who do think made the tool for Peterson?

  9. This lock was never designed to be bypassed in the manner shown in this video. This lock should have 4 lever tumblers (the key even supports this assumption). The fact that bypass is possible suggests that the lever tumblers are weak or even badly worn. I would consider this lock as damaged goods mechanically, but nice looking.  

  10. Another great old lock, and you use my exact method of offering a warded pick to a keyway regarding looking at size of keyway before putting the warded pick in.

  11. Thanks buddy, but I DO have a dark (humor) side. Wait until tomorrow and I'll upload proof. "Training to pick under (great) stress". I think you'll get a kick out of it.

  12. If the lock is ~80 years old, then they certainly would have had access to pin-tumbler locks.

    I suspect that they chose warded for reasons of reliability… the same reason you see wafer locks in improbable locations today.

    Love it!

  13. Thanks Adrian. I agree about the cleaning job, but it was that way when I bought it.
    In some of these warded locks there ARE two actuators (see my Corbin lock video), but the single actuator is much more common. It works EXACTLY like the suitcase lock except these padlocks have a lot more warding, as you can see from the key. They are cool parts of history, but really offered very little security.

  14. Beautiful old lock Bill, it's to bad someone removed all the patina but to each their own. I've got a question about the Skeleton keys, why for the doubles? Is the actuater lower or are there 2 separate ones? Also in these bigger locks, is the set up the same as the old small suitcase locks?…. Do they have they same hairpin style actuator? With the hinged hasp, I don't really see how it gets disengaged. I could probably do some work and find out, but where's the fun in that? Lol Peace n' Tanx

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