Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Master Key to the Situation

Hello all you key enthusiasts!

Our doors are open once again here at the Baldpate Inn Key Room and I’ve been having a lot of fun exploring and getting to know the wide variety of keys and stories that hang on our walls. My name is Rachel and I will be one of your Key Room Curators for the 2014 season. I am a senior in college originally from Clifton Park, New York and I’m so happy I decided to leave sea level for the summer to be in a place like the Baldpate where the history is as rich as the landscape.

The great thing about a collection as big as ours is its variety. Whether it be a collection of keys or toasters, you get to see a wide range of items from the most basic and plain to the most elaborate, strange, and baffling. I love the individuality and creativity found in some of the keys we have here, so for my first Key Room blog post I’d like to highlight one key whose story is full of creativity. It is called “the master key to the situation,” and takes up about 20 inches on our left side wall.

by the looks of it, this key does not unlock any door or chest, but included on its frame are six key blades, a knob, a couple of other unknown gadgets, and a large screw. It was donated to the collection in 1930 by a man named Gus Miller of Lincoln, Nebraska and its tag tells us that it was crafted in the early 20th century by workers in a Nebraska boys’ reformatory.

So what did this group of boys in Nebraska’s reformatory (much like a modern day correctional facility) working as key makers do with their free time? They used their knowledge of key making and their own imagination and humor to put together a “key” that would, in theory, fix whatever problem might come their way. The key is signed, or engraved, with the name “Engler the Locksmith” who presumably is the craftsman behind this interesting project. A project not of obligation, but of recreation.

Well Engler, the Baldpate Inn thanks you for your handiwork and Gus Miller for his generous donation. The "Master Key" is certainly a key unlike any other and one of my personal favorites in the key room, at least so far. If you come visit us here at the Baldpate Key Room, I would be happy to show you this fascinating key in person and the thousands of others worth sharing, so plan a visit! You’ll be sure to find a favorite key of your own and plenty of other key history to peak your interest.

Until next time,

Key Room Museum Curator