Save The Locks!

The Patent Office fire of 1836 stole the core history of our early industrial culture from us. Among the ruins we lost dozens of patents relating directly to locks. This project is my personal attempt to recover as much information as I can about each of those locks.

Want to Help?

Subscriptions to Archives:

I am utilizing dozens of free newspaper & magazine archives, but access to major commercial databases would be a great addition. If you have a subscription to Fold3, Genealogy Bank, Newspaper Archive, Ancestry.com, NY Times, Boston Globe, or any other commercial archive and want to join in the research, please get in touch.

Academic Resources:

I am not institutionally supported. Consistent access to JStor and the massive academic libraries of Colleges and Universities would be amazing. If you are a student, staff or faculty member of any institution of higher learning, and you would be willing to leverage your access to increase the depth of this research, please get in touch.

Academic Support:

If you are in a position to throw the institutional weight of your College, University, Museum or Company behind this project, please get in touch.


There are a number of hand written documents from the early 1800s which may provide great insight into some of these locks. However, they are often poorly scanned, or written in a loose, rought script that can be hard to read. If you'd like to try your hand at transcribing these documents, please get in touch.

Fellow Researchers:

There is a LOT to find, and right now I could use some help finding it. The assignment is simple, I'll point you toward a specific inventor & patent to dig into, you give me an info dump of everything you uncover. If you want to join me in this work, please get in touch.