Safe lock.

Mossman Lock Collection

Field review by the editors.

New York, New York

If you are delighted by deadbolts and find strike plates scintillating, you may enjoy a visit to one of New York City's most obscure museums: The John M. Mossman Lock Collection. This gathering of hundreds of locks, keys, and related tools is displayed in seven glass-fronted cases within the headquarters of The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of The City of New York, an organization founded in 1785.

Apparently the museum does not attract throngs of tourists. Some former visitors report that a Society staff member had to turn on the lights just for them.

On arriving, you are handed a 1928 book titled The Lure of the Lock that describes each lock you encounter. The oldest is an Egyptian example dating from 4000 BC. Many are unique made-to-order contraptions. Mossman was in the vault-building business, and what he collected are not your common gym locker combination padlocks. Many are ornate and complex (one has 83 internal moving parts) and others have protected millions in bank vault moolah.

If nothing else, this compact and focused exhibit offers a soothing haven for those exhausted by the intensity and bustle of midtown Manhattan. You will almost certainly feel very secure and be left alone with your thoughts.

Mossman Lock Collection

General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of The City Of New York

Address:
20 W. 44th St., New York, NY
Directions:
General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of The City of New York. Midtown. On the south side of W. 44th St. between 5th and 6th Aves, but closer to 5th. By subway take the B, D, or F to 42nd St./Bryant Park and walk uptown.
Hours:
M-Th 11-7, F 10-5 (calling in advance is advised) (Call to verify)
Phone:
212-840-1840
Admission:
Adults $10.00
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October 22, 2019

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