Tower Bean Pattern Cuffs - 1910 with 99% nickel plating -- what to do?

Joined: September 3rd, 2018, 5:05 pm

September 3rd, 2018, 6:00 pm #1

Hi all, lots of fascinating discussion i've found here about a subject matter i had never thought about until this morning. Visiting my in-laws on the ranch for the holiday weekend and they dragged out a couple of 1800's antique trunks to give to me to do something with. I asked them if they had any old keys that might fit and so they bring me a box full of old keys, a few padlocks, and a set of handcuffs. They've asked me to do something with these handcuffs too, so now i need to figure out what to do with them.

these cuffs have really all of their nickel plating, not really sure how to quantify percentages... but i can't find any missing or worn areas, just a few spots of pin-point pitting.

while we did discover the keys to the old trunks, we couldn't find the key to this handcuff, upon closer inspection it looks like the key or a key, has been broken off inside one of the locks.

because we don't have a key, we can't tell if those lock release buttons work, but they don't seem stiff or locked up, they do press slightly, i presume if we had a replacement key we'd get one cuff to work just fine.

provenance: can trace the keys back some... my mother-in law has had for about 30 years, before that they belonged to her uncle, who was a deputy in Wamego County, Kansas. No telling if he got them on the job, or collected them somehow... however he would have been just a child of about 7-9 years old when these were made in 1910.

big questions i have are...
1. do we try and repair the broken lock, or leave alone? if try and repair, how do you get an old broke off barrel key out of the lock, or is there someone who can do this?
2. do we try and get ahold of a replacement key.. or just let whomever the new owner is get one themselves?
3. do we sell as-is, or try and get key to determine if things works, and repair broken lock, etc, to help the resell value? i hate to just be all about the money... but my in-laws are nearing 80 and have barns, closets, sheds, and rooms full of antiques they've been trying to find new homes for over the last decade (anyone want a trunk or 3? lol?).

thanks all!
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: September 3rd, 2018, 5:05 pm

September 3rd, 2018, 6:02 pm #2

fyi, i'm trying to post images... found a free photo hosting website... but i'm still at the ranch, and dial-up internet is THE WORST! i may have to wait until later tonight or this week when i get home to post up images. thanks,
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: May 8th, 2018, 2:18 pm

September 4th, 2018, 2:24 pm #3

Hi I have had good luck using strong magnet to remove key , no need to get into lock case, works best if turned keyhole facing down with magnet at keyhole and draw broke key out, might take a while, also small pick or toothpick might help alien the broke key to keyhole!
yes if u want better price then sell with key, also will sell better although people do sell them without!
are the cuffs in the open position or are  they locked ?
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: September 3rd, 2018, 5:05 pm

September 4th, 2018, 5:32 pm #4

they are locked. we did briefly try with a brick sized magnet that for some reason god-only knows my mother in-law had on hand... but no luck. i'll try some more. i posted pics in another post because i couldn't figure out how to add them here.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: May 8th, 2018, 2:18 pm

September 4th, 2018, 6:00 pm #5

ok!  yes try moving key and free it so magnet can pull it out  !
once it is loose around post it should fall out hold upside (keyhole) down above head so u can see !
key has 2 lock bit's on it ,tweezers or fore snips also might be useful !
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: May 8th, 2018, 2:18 pm

September 4th, 2018, 6:03 pm #6

ya  I saw pic's  definitely Broke off key !
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: May 8th, 2018, 2:18 pm

September 4th, 2018, 11:40 pm #7

hi again, thought some more about your situation and it might help to explain what key looks like,
it is a hollow tube with 2 bit's starting from the end of the key is one bit 1/16th inch wide then 1/8th inch empty space,
then another bit 1/16th inch wide, both in a straight line, those bits need to be In line with the square slot below the round post for it to come out!
Also yes when they are locked the button will not move  very much!
Looks like a nice set other then broken key and no other key!
try to line up the bit's in the slot, maybe with needle, ect.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: January 17th, 2016, 10:08 pm

September 5th, 2018, 5:22 am #8

LK, is correct on how to remove the key. If that doesnt work, you can consider taking it to a lock smith who can use a broken key extractor to remove it. Or, may be cheaper to buy a broken key extractor from Amazon or similar and yank the key out, yourself. Either way, it should come out. Can be a tight fit though. So, it will probably take some work to get it out. In this pic, key #3 is what you are working with. You can see how the key's two small bits will have to be lined up with the slot in the keyway to allow the removal. Hope this helps to give you an idea on what needs to happen to get the key stub out.    imageproxy.php.jpg
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: September 3rd, 2018, 5:05 pm

September 5th, 2018, 4:27 pm #9

key 3 looks spot on from what i've seen in photo's for this set of cuffs. after rummaging through my mother in-laws box of antique keys i definitely do not have that key. however i think she has key #2. i wonder if this is another key that was acquired from the deputy uncle? what set of cuffs is that key for? maybe someone out there is looking for one?

thanks everyone for advice on getting that broken key out, i'll work on it with a magnet and needle first, then try the locksmith. After that i'll see if i can locate an existing key, or get one made, then put up for sale for my in-laws.

thanks!
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: May 8th, 2018, 2:18 pm

September 5th, 2018, 4:55 pm #10

key # 2 is for marlin's
Quote
Like
Share

Confirmation of reply: