Bungalow Hardware

One of the features that initially sold us on our little bungalow was its incredibly intact stained woodwork. And while the wainscoting, box beams and pocket doors made us swoon, we especially loved the built-ins sprinkled throughout the house. Pretty AND practical – what’s not to love, right?

This particular latch adorns the doors of both the china cabinet in our dining room and the bookshelves flanking the living room fireplace:

latch-front.JPG

 

Viewed from the front, it’s not the most exciting piece of hardware I’ve ever seen, but I’ve always thought that the interior latch is especially funky and unusual-looking:

latch-interior.JPG

 

It finally occurred to me the other day to see if the latches bear any sort of imprint. So I opened our china cabinet, looked at the little latch I’ve used dozens of times (without ever really paying attention), and lo and behold: a stamp!

keil-imprint.JPG

 

As you can see, it says “Francis Keil and Son New York.” Intrigued, I set out to learn a bit about Francis Keil and Son.

Sadly, I wasn’t able to dig up too much information about the hardware itself, although I did find several references to a large Keil hardware factory building in Brooklyn. But then I stumbled upon the following posting on a random hardware forum:

My great-great grandfather was Francis Keil. He owned Francis Keil & Sons (Bronx, NY). I am trying to put together a collection of his work. If anyone has any information on where I might find any hardware, keys, etc. from him, please email me and let me know. Thank you in advance for your help. Greg Keil

The email address listed was no longer valid (the post itself was several years old) but thanks to the power of Google (is that a trademarked phrase, because if it isn’t, maybe it should be!) I was able to track down Francis Keil’s great-grandson. We exchanged a couple of friendly emails and I ended up sending him some photos of his great-grandfather’s work.

How cool is the Internet?

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43 thoughts on “Bungalow Hardware

    1. Well I have a key made by your grandfather one side of the Key reads Francis & Keil and Son New York and on the other side it says shine 111 a

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  1. Hi. How weird is this. Today my son, who attends Sequoia High School in Redwood City, CA., received several “Balloon Grams” from secret admirers for Valentines day. In an effort to be green, the kids used old keys to weight down the balloons. He showed me this key and commented on how totally cool it was. I could make out “Francis Keil” and “New York”, so I googled it and found your bungalow blog. If you are still in contact with Keil’s great great grandson and think he may still like this key, you can send us his email link and we will gladly get in touch with him.

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    1. Well anybody who knows the grandson of mr Kiel I live in WA. State and while I was metal detecting I found one of his great great grandfathers keys….

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  2. I have the same latch on a standalone kitchen buffet cabinet door (although mines in a nickel finish). I was just trying to look it up because the spring just broke and the latch doesn’t catch properly. Cool story!

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  3. soy de la cd. mexico tengo una llave de esas hay algo raro, se preguntan por que una simple llave nos llama tanto la atencion que hasta nos ponemos a investigar sobre ella? la mia la llevo colgada al pecho desde hace 15 años era de un famoso espiritista del siglo pasado. que abria esta llave? no lo se…

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  4. MY FATHER HAS A PRETTY OLD KEY CUTTING MACHINE FROM FRANCIS KEIL AND SON INC NEW YORK ITS A NUMBER 2 KEIL NEW YORK. WE WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE VALUE OF IT IS THANK YOU

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  5. I have another piece of Keil & Sons hardware, but it is a circular metal object, a flat disk on bottom and a 6-petalled flower-shaped cut-out that stands about 1/4″ proud of the disk. I believe that it was a floor buzzer used to summon servants to the diningroom. It is really neat!

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  6. I am refinishing a Greencastle kitchen cabinet (like the old Hoosier cabinet). The latch inside the top cupboard is stamped Francis Keil & Son New York PAT Sept 25 1906. A great find! Any info is appreciated. Many thanks.

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  7. My mom bought a used 2001 Ford Focus in 2003. Today when I was cleaning out the glovebox there was a ring of keys (5 keys) in the back right corner just ever so slightly showing. She told me to grab everything in there, so thinking they were her keys I grabbed them. Later I showed the keys to her because I wanted the antique looking one. She said she’d never seen the keys before nor does she know what they are for. So in hopes to find out what the keys went to I hopped on Google. On the key ring there are two GM (A and B) keys, a Cole National U.S.A. key (imprinted with SEARS on one side), a Milwaukee MasterLocke key, and a Francis Keil & Sons New York key. After learning about the Cole National key I set out to find information on the Keil key; and this was the first listing on Google.

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  8. I am the youngest “Keil” grandchild of 17, Greg and Scott Keil are my cousins…Hi guys!!! Just called my mom to see if this was our family and suddenly saw your posts…too cool!!!! Love ya!

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  9. Hey, I’m an archaeologist cataloging artifacts at Mount Vernon and I just found a key from ‘Francis & Son, New York’ mixed in with some artifacts from an old trash site. Pretty cool!

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  10. A friend gave me some old keys, his father was a security gaurd/locs smith. I have a hand full of old keys, including the same Francis Keil key #60D along with if lost return tab to H.N. Tock 2809 Harriet ave Mpls. MN

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  11. I make rings out of antique keys, and we are posting a Francis Keil ring with a heart shaped bow to our shop today! We would love to sell it to the Keil family – what a cool story that would be! I found this message board while researching the company – out of curiosity, does anyone have any good information about the company’s history?

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  12. Justin, Eduardo, David and others,

    We don’t personally know the Keil family, but if you have questions about Francis Keil & Son, I encourage you to try to contact Greg Keil directly through the email address he provided above: greg@gregkeil.com. Good luck!

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  13. I make rings out of antique keys and recently made one from a Francis Keil & Son ring with a heart shaped bow! It’s posted on our Etsy site (etsy.com/shop/goatandkettle) – we’d love to sell it to the Keil family – what a great story that would be! I found this thread looking for the history of the company – does anyone have any information that?

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  14. Hi Mr Keil,
    I have what used to be an antique ,radio, cabinet in very good condition. On the outside there are beautiful Roman paintings, and stands on beautiful legs seen only on the finest antique furniture. It has the lock featured on ebay with the entire company’s name , except mine says Pat. 1906. The key is beautiful, and is a combination of two seen on ebay. I can send a picture of the key to your email address with your permission.

    If interested please contact me.
    Miriam

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    1. Miriam,

      As I have posted in reply to previous comments, we here at Bungalow Insanity do not personally know the Keil family. If you have questions about Francis Keil & Son keys, I encourage you to contact Greg Keil directly through the email address he provided: greg@gregkeil.com. Good luck!

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  15. I found a F KEIL & SON KEY metal detecting. It has a T5 on one side and a P on the other. It also has two dates which I am very curious about. Oct 8 1878 and Nov. 2nd 1880. Any ideas on the dates?

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    1. Justin,

      Neither Julio are experts about Keil keys, nor do we know the Keil family. The email Greg Keil provided several years ago was greg@gregkeil.com. The gregkeil.com web site is no longer active, so I do not know if the email address still works or not. Sorry we cannot be more help.

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      1. Thank you Stephanie!!! I will keep trying to research the company and the man, and get back to you if I find any good links.

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      2. Bob,

        As you will see from reading the many other comments on this post, my husband and I have no connection to the Keil family or the Keil & Son Company. The email address Greg Keil provided us with several years ago was greg@gregkeil.com, but the gregkeil.com web site is no longer active, so I do not know if that email address still works or not. Sorry we cannot be more help.

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  16. I recently found a key in my backyard with new keil york on one side and by harmo( this looked as if the rest didn’t fit on the key or it wasn’t etched properly). Is there a way to find out how old this key is?

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    1. Amber, I do not know. If you look through the 30+ comments connected to this thread, you will see that we have no connection to the Keil family or the Keil key company aside from an email address for Greg Keil which may no longer be current. Sorry I can’t be more help.

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    2. It is no problem AT ALL. I just feel badly because so many people come here looking for information about Keil keys and hardware and I really don’t have much to share. I’m sorry! Glad you’re enjoying the site though!

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  17. I was also doing some research on Francis keil and Sons.. how I found your web site…
    My dad / grandfather were locksmiths, and I have one of their machines, along with the orginal bill of sale, dated March 9, 1936…
    I would love to contact Greg Keil about this…could you send me his contact info, or send my info to him…
    Ed

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    1. Hi Ed. As you will see if you read through the comments here, this question gets asked a lot. Our response is always the same. The only contact information we had for Greg Keil was an email address: greg@gregkeil.com. And as stated in previous comments, we do not know if this email address is still current or not. Good luck wit your search!

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  18. I have a cabinet that says francis keil n son 1906 new york was trying to get information on it if anyone has any info id appreciate it

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    1. Hi Matthew. As you will see if you read through past comments, this question gets asked a lot. Our response is always the same. The only contact information we had for Greg Keil was an email address: greg@gregkeil.com. And as stated in previous comments, we do not know if this email address is still current or not. Good luck with your search!

      Like

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