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This Gallery:-

Other Galleries include:-
Ancient Style Padlocks
Seal Padlocks

Railway Padlocks
The Arthur Linley / Enoch Jones Padlocks
Milner Linley padlock Internal workings.
Milner Linley Padlock, SN:272

George Cooper, of Buenos Ayres, patented his design for a padlock in 1880 (No.5376) through Arthur Linley, of London. Milners was the first manufacturer utilising this patent but seems to have incorporated a wedging block from an early stage as well as a single pivot for the shackles.

Serial number 272, dated 1884, body width 90mm.
Internal arrangement.

The condition of these locks is quite remarkable considering they are over 100 years old and attached to the outside of railway wagons as can be seen in this example where the cap has been removed. Note the Aubin style integral levers, and the heavy tinning. Note also the wedging block and the shackle single pivot arrangement.

Serial number: 31340

Milner FCS padlock Linley padlock.
Milner Linley Padlock marked FCS
This nicely preserved example is marked FCS (Ferrocarril Sud - South Railway)

Serial number: 37246
Linley Padlock
Although this version is marked "Linley & Co" with an address of "River Plate House, Finsbury Circus, London." the tooling looks very simular to the Milner lock. Were they made by Milners?

Serial number: 46830.

Linley Engineering padlock. Enoch Jones padlock.
Linley Engineering Padlock
Another change in name to "Linley Engineering Co Ltd, Birmingham" and a definite change in tooling.

Serial number: 52521
Enoch Jones Padlock
The Enoch Jones padlock (patented 1921 No. 192882) where the improvement seems to be the wedging block which was incorporated in the Milner design but not patented. This example is marked 'ESTADO' which means 'State' and refers to 'Ferrocarriles del Estado' or 'State Railway'.

Size: 84mm wide.


The Arthur Linley Padlock

Towards the end of the Victorian period, a man living in Buenos Ayres in South America applied to the British Patent office for a patent for a novel design padlock. The name of this man was NOT Arthur Linley but George Cooper. Unfortunately the law at that time did not allow people living outside the UK to take out a British patent in their own name, so George Cooper had to work through a patent agent and the name of that agent was Arthur Linley. It is a strange irony that thousands of this pattern padlock were made and sent all over the world, especially to South America, all bearing the name of Arthur Linley and yet his contribution was no more than being the patent agent. An article in the journal "The Ironmonger" of 1881 describes the launch of this padlock thus:-

"The main object in view in designing this lock was to prevent robberies from goods wagons on which padlocks were used. It will be seen that its chief feature is the impossibility of hanging the padlock on to a staple without it being absolutely locked, as when the bow is closed, it cannot be opened without the key. If the bow is not closed the padlock will NOT hang on a staple. Thus by simply observing that the staple has a padlock, the guard may be certain that they are all locked and cannot be opened without the key which he has in his possession. There are obviously other advantages such, for instance, as expedition in locking without a key and with one hand only, which commends this lock to railway companies and others interested in the safe custody of goods"

For demonstration purposes and for exhibitions, a very handsome brass version was made. The "give away" that these brass locks were not intended for actual use, is that they lack the lug (or clevis) always present on the commercial version and these were made of heavy gauge steel and heavily tinned (or galvanised). Once the patent had been granted, it seems that Milners were selected to be the manufacturers of the padlock for the duration of the patent (14-15 years). It may now seem odd that a safe making company should be chosen for this purpose. Although in the past (1850-1870) Milners had been dependant on other companies to supply all their locks needed for safes, with the ending of their contract with Hobbs, Hart & Co., they decided to set up their own lock making department. In this they were helped by the fact that the lock making business of Charles St Aubin had just been put into liquidation in Wolverhampton. This allowed Milners to take on Charles St Aubin as foreman of their new lock making dept. and so recruit all his now redundant former highly skilled lock makers and to transfer them to Liverpool to form the nucleus of Milners new department. Milners were thus well placed to take on the work of making the Arthur Linley padlocks, not being committed to the making of conventional padlocks. What is interesting is that Milners slightly changed the design of the padlock, so that, instead of having the two halves of the hasp being separately pivoted, they simplified the lock by combining both halves, so that they shared a common central pivot. Another point worth noting is that the line drawing on the patent shows clearly that the springs used on the levers were INTEGRAL ones, so that each lever and spring were made from the same piece of brass. This may seem a trivial point but this was one of Aubins major inventions. There were no phosphor springs at this time, only steel ones. These could rust badly and fail whereas an all-brass lever/spring combination was ideal for padlocks that could be used in tropical climes of high humidity. Unfortunately for Milners, Aubin died in 1883 shortly after joining them but he had set up the lock making dept. and several of his best men stayed on to carry on he good work and Milners never looked back from then onwards. To return to George Cooper, the original inventor of the Linley padlock, he was the General Manager of the Argentine railway Co "Ferrocarril Central Argentina" or F.C.C.A. for short and many of the padlocks are stamped with these initials. This design of padlock was obviously considered to be very practical and successful in South America because in 1923 a Patent was granted to Enoch Jones & Co of Willenhall for a padlock very similar in design to the Arthur Lindly Pattern. In fact the only real difference seems to be in the use of a "wedging block" to prevent the two arms of the hasp being forced apart when locked. It is interesting that this make and design of padlock was used by the F.C.C.A. whose employee had patented the Arthur Linley design all those years before.
(contributed by Mike Fincher)


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We are always looking for artefacts to add to this collection. Please contact the Curator if you can help us in our mission in any way.
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This page was last updated May 2010