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Glasgow Box Keys

Started by starcross, Dec 12, 2017, 11:13 pm

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starcross

Dec 12, 2017, 11:13 pm Last Edit: Dec 17, 2017, 05:05 pm by starcross
Quote from: hb88banzai on Dec 12, 2017, 05:55 pm
I have never been able to find a photo of the Trench type Glasgow Box keys, and everything I've seen points to them not being Yale type keys at all, so getting a photo of one would be brilliant.



Ask and you shall receive. The Keys for the Glasgow Box at Avoncroft Museum in Bromesgrove.
I never got to hold the keys, but I did get this one photo of them when they showed me the first aid kits.  
 
DSCF5181.JPG

Edit - 5 days later :
After contacting Alistair Dinsmor of the Glasgow Police museum, he shared the following Box keys images with me.

The 1890s Keys, Police and Citizen versions.
It's a custom lock as it has electrical contact components to it.
The Police and Citizen versions would flip the electrical circuits to raise a red filter over the gas lantern light.
The Citizen key was registered and it was captive, so once used it had to be released by the Officer. 
1890s Keys.jpg

The 1930s key, is a Chubb London Brand very similar to GPO Postal Pillar keys.
"This the official pattern, and the number was registered to the constables record.
However replacements did not have the triangular top and number"
Combined.jpg

This leads me to believe that the Silver Avoncroft key is the correct box key, and is an obvious replacement.

hb88banzai

Dec 13, 2017, 07:24 am #1 Last Edit: Dec 18, 2017, 09:31 am by hb88banzai
EDIT: Topic split from original http://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?topic=699.0. Further, the above (now initial) post was edited by Starcross to include answers to some of the questions below, but these are still included as they have additional observations and context. All a bit convoluted, but Starcross wanted the above photos all kept together. So the below response post is in reference only to the info in the above post that precedes the "Edit - 5 days later :" line therein.

Original Post:

Brilliant -- thanks!

I see a regular Yale/ETAS type cylinder (pin tumbler) key being used on the First Aid Door, like with most UK Boxes and all the PA 1 through PA 3 Pillar/Post doors (though possibly smaller here, hard to tell), plus the dangling lever tumbler lock keys. The latter is what I suspected was used on the Glasgow main doors based on photos of the original locks and key slots (as no cylinders in sight).

However, there are two lever tumbler keys here and they are bitted differently (and likely not even the same make/vintage from what I can see of the patterns). Wonder which one was for the front door of the Glasgow Box, and where the other one was used (or if perhaps for the other, shed type Box at Avoncroft)? If it's the back one (which looks to be the oldest) then there isn't quite enough showing to get a good key pattern off of, unfortunately.

EDIT: And then below was Starcross' response (not included as was only a small part of another posting, and there is no way to split individual posts into multiple posts for rearrangement):

Quote from: starcross on Dec 13, 2017, 12:47 pm
Quote from: hb88banzai on Dec 13, 2017, 07:24 am
Wonder which one was for the front door of the Glasgow Box


If memory serves me right, then I believe the front Brass key is the Glasgow box key. Don't let its youthful appearance fool you, they had modern copies of keys for things. Not every key was original.


Note that this observation was then revised in the part below the ""Edit - 5 days later :" line in the first post above.

starcross

Now that this is in it's own thread we can begin to be a little bit more linear with discussions.
Thanks for the Split.

Now I've done a bit of further research and the CHUBB logo is specific to a time period.
The 1920s in fact.

Source: Chubb Archive
chubbfonts-01-max.jpg

I've started looking for a Key on ebay, but that triangle guitar pick head is quite unique.
The only other keys that come close are the GPO pillar box keys.
Not surprising since they were quite involved with the Police box programs.

GPO Pillar Box Key 3.jpg

hb88banzai

Dec 18, 2017, 07:05 am #3 Last Edit: Dec 18, 2017, 09:34 am by hb88banzai
They are still all but unique when it comes to Police Boxes in the UK. The vast majority seemed to use one version or another of pin cylinder lock and Yale (or Yale knock-off) pattern key (both the old corrugated variety, and the newer paracentric).

Chubb was a very big name in the lock industry before the pin cylinder lock revolution was ignited by Linus Yale, Jr. - a time when intricate lever tumbler and warded locks were still king. Chubb got an early foothold with the GPO in 1823, and apparently maintained that even after most other agencies had swung over to the cylinder side of the Force.

This leads one to suspect a closer relationship between the GPO and the Glasgow Police in the design and equipping of the Glasgow Boxes of the 1930s than was the case in most other districts. In other respects the Mark 4 Glasgow Box takes most of its cues from the Mark 2 Met Box (right down to the vents in the sign lintels), save for some overall simplification and the design and hardware elements surrounding the Ericsson/GPO speakerphone unit (plus of course the First Aid Kit access requirements). I'm left wondering if Percy Sillitoe didn't just hand the GPO a set of rough plans for the Met Mark 2 obtained from the Home Office and said, "Here, make the changes needed to get it to work with your system, and while you're at it simplify things a bit so it's cheaper to build."

Angelus Lupus

Quote from: starcross on Dec 12, 2017, 11:13 pm
It's a custom lock as it has electrical contact components to it.
The Police and Citizen versions would flip the electrical circuits to raise a red filter over the gas lantern light.
The Citizen key was registered and it was captive, so once used it had to be released by the Officer. 


This bit sounds very interesting, not sure I fully understand it, but it seems quite ingenious!
Sounds like the sort of added security that would be ideal for a Tardis. Imagine - instead of raising a red filter, your key triggers the circuits that start your lights/sounds/etc!
A mixed-up non-conformist, trying to fit in.

hb88banzai

Both the Citizen key and automatic signalling had precedence in the US Police Boxes and Posts. Chicago (the first) had the Citizen Key concept from the beginning (1880/81) and later Gamewell and their competitors had both types of systems beginning in the 1880s. Each municipality had choices of how they wanted to implement the system as the concept spread throughout the US and Canada.

starcross

Aug 05, 2018, 02:00 am #6 Last Edit: Aug 05, 2018, 03:34 am by starcross
So I've been looking for a match for the Glasgow Police box key.
The GPO has/had a large Postal pillar key with the two holes, those are easy enough to find.
This smaller variety has been basically non-existent in the eight months I've been searching.

Until now that is, I found a close match on ebay.
A little rusted, and the Keying is wrong for the Glasgow Box, but the shape is a match.
The stated 81mm is close enough, the shape of the head, placement of numbers, and the Single hole are all matches.
What doesn't match is the Extra Pegs, and the Branding for Chubb London.

I'm looking forward to receiving it and working out the details further.  

00 - All keys.jpg

5.jpg
11.jpg

The Ebay Description:
This is nice group of 3 old British Post Office Letter/Post Box steel keys, made by and impressed 'CHUBB LONDON'. These are very rare, but I was lucky to buy a small group (10 to 12) from an ex post office worker a few years back, and this is now my last group of 3 - I have no more after these.


No. 1
Unusually has two small pegs attached to the top, which I presume are used to open part of the Post Box.
It also has the number: '259' stamped on one side - identifying the particular Post Box?
The length of this one is 101mm (4").

No. 2
Does not have the two small pegs - and never has as there is an unbroken mould mark running across the top.
It also has the number: '153  1' stamped on one side.
The length of this one is 96mm ( 3 3/4").

No. 3 - (The Key that Matches in the middle)
Also has the two small pegs attached to the top, but is the only one I had in this much smaller size.
It also has the number: '341' stamped on one side.
The length of this one is 81mm (just under 3 1/4").