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Before Locks, There Were Keys

Well, that's a silly statement! Really, though, this is true. Early magneto switches used what was referred to as plugs for keys. Some of these plugs worked similar to our plugs for audio jacks, making or breaking an electrical connection - hence, no actual lock involved. Were they effective? Only if the potential thief didn't know any better.

Only a Few Keys Needed
The ad for the garage mechanic at right indicates just how few keys were needed for most cars in 1918, a fact which many car thieves and joy riders were well aware of.

Better Locks for the Masses
Although some of the more expensive automobiles had been using the more secure pin-tumbler locks, the widespread use of more secure locks appeared in 1918 when Ford began using them in the Model T equipped with electric starter.

Keys for Antique American Cars

ring of magneto keys for garageGARAGE SWITCH KEY ASSORTMENT ON RING

Assortment contains 26 keys and plugs which will fit practically all makes of cars. Additional keys to meet any local demand may easily be added. This assortment enables the garage man to test or move cars under their own power.

Stock No. B410 List price, assortment complete. . . . . $4.50

1918 Beckley-Ralston Catalog