Padlock and Key

Padlock and Key

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Small, heart-shaped padlock with steel shackle, locking mechanism and small key with double circle opening in oval bow. Front of body is stamped incuse "M. W. & CO" in arched roman letters above keyhole. Alms box and padlock DL*245425.0078-.0079 were used together. Maker is Mallory Wheeler & Co., a lock and hardware manufacturer in New Haven, CT, 1834-1913.

Collection boxes have been used for centuries to solicit money for religious institutions and charities. Even those with little to spare might contribute coins anonymously to a strategically placed box. Unfamiliar in some American communities in the 1700s, these boxes became more commonly used in the United States in the 1800s.

Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
1834 - 1913
place made
United States: Connecticut, New Haven
Physical Description
brass (body material)
steel (shackle; locking mechanism; key material)
iron (locking mechanism material)
overall, padlock with key: 1 in x 1 1/4 in x 1 in; 2.54 cm x 3.175 cm x 2.54 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Kenneth E. Jewett
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Domestic Life
Giving in America
Domestic Furnishings
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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