Locksmith’s Sign (Padlock)

Artist unkown

19th Century

Wood, copper and iron

Height: 89.5 cm

This padlock is made from sheet steel and was originally gilded, but is now painted a grey-green. The key is made of wood with a steel plate on the shaft (in order that the key could be hung lengthwise) and metal fixings on the handle and on the teeth.

This was most likely a locksmith’s shop sign. However, according to Sir Ambrose Heal’s seminal The Signboards of Old London Shops (1947), bell-hangers and ironmongers also identified themselves by this trade symbol.