What could be more useless than a pair of padlocks with no keys?


A friend of mine recovered these from a skip and gave them to me. Sharp eyed folks might notice that they carry three magic letters – GWR.

GWR stands for Great Western Railway, or according to your viewpoint, ‘God’s Wonderful Railway’ or ‘Great Way Round’. That last was a 19th century comment on routes to the west always being via Bristol.

Let’s zoom in on those letters.


We can see that the padlocks are well made in brass.


We don’t know the original purpose or date of these padlocks but they are quite small – overall about 6 by 3.5 cm. They could have been used to padlock leather cash bags. No doubt there were many other uses for these padlocks.

And maybe someone out there can let me know what their function was and give me a rough idea of when they were made.


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3 Responses to “Padlocks”

  1. Leatherworking Reverend Says:

    I have one similar that I inherited from my grandfather. There’s a simpler slide plate covering the keyhole, and on the upper left the year 1914 is stamped. It is from the NSW Government Railways, as they were at the time and was used on a modest toolbox when I first saw it. I’m sorry I can’t add any information about the intended use, at least it’s an additional contemporary example from the other side of the world to yours.

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