Page 1 of 2

The old Exploding Key trick!!

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:36 pm
by gameswat
Well I'll be damned, just had an antique key explode in front of me!! Luckily I wasn't hit by the small piece of steel shrapnel that came off it. I was re-keying an antique lock and this seemed like the closest fit and style for the job, but the key barrel would not fit fully onto the locating pin inside the actual lock. Often this is because of old dirt and grime building up in the key. So I clamped the key in the vice and started drilling it out. Within a few seconds there was an almighty BANG and small puff of smoke!! Once the shock had abated I looked to see the blown open hole in the key tube. All I can imagine is that this was supposed to be a trick key that someone filled with a tiny percussion cap?? The tube hole is quite tiny though at only 3mm inner diameter so the percussion cap would have had to be from a pretty small gun. I would imagine if you'd just been forcing the key into a lock with a few fingers the blast would have forced the key out of the lock instead of blowing a hole in the key. But I was using both hands and weight of the drill was too much. I just looked online and could not find any precedent for it, so doesn't appear to have been a common thing.

Re: The old Exploding Key trick!!

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:18 pm
by badpenny
Blast, looks like we failed lads!
Any other ideas?

Re: The old Exploding Key trick!!

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:33 pm
by john t peterson
Next time, put it in his cigar. Gets them every time.

J Peterson
American trickster

Re: The old Exploding Key trick!!

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:43 pm
by treefrog
Gameswat, do you have any enemies down there :lol:

Re: The old Exploding Key trick!!

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:21 pm
by gameswat
Ah yes, the booby trapped key, how could I have so easily fallen for that old chestnut!?! I've often thought that coin-op restoration & collecting has a lot to do with the likes of Indiana Jones............ !!UHOH!! :shock: :!:

Closest I can think of is the fraternal organisation prank devices that groups like the Mason's used, some sold by coin-op companies like DeMoulin around 1900. They did strength testers and blow testers etc with blanks fitted inside and powder like flour. The inductee would have to prove they were worthy by doing the test in front of everyone, only to be totally embarrassed by the results! This exploding key would be a much cheaper way for a group in Australia to pull the same kind of prank, "If you can open the special box then you'll be worthy of joining"?


Re: The old Exploding Key trick!!

Posted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 12:20 pm
by prunehat
I remember my dear old dad showing me the exploding key trick. Putting a common household product down the 'pipe' of a key and then inserting another common workshop item in the pipe.
Hung with a piece of string, it was swung against the wall and - 'bang'!
When he was a kid (he was born in 1901) it was a common trick.
Roy (aka Prunehat)

Re: The old Exploding Key trick!!

Posted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 4:07 pm
by gameswat
Hey Prunehat, thanks for the info. Strangely nothing at all I could find on the internet (until now) so a fairly lost "art". But in this instance do you think that would be what's going on here since this key is so tiny?

Re: The old Exploding Key trick!!

Posted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:46 pm
by badpenny
.…. what was the common household product?

Who remembers Peter Logan's exploding paste as shown on Brainiacs on TV umpty twelve years ago?

BP :!:

Re: The old Exploding Key trick!!

Posted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:40 am
by prunehat
The product was red (Swan Vesta) match heads.
But please don't try this - it is dangerous and could cause injury.

Re: The old Exploding Key trick!!

Posted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:51 am
by brigham
Matches are dangerous; they can catch fire.
They should sell them without the red bit on the end; same as they've done with sweet cigarettes.
Much safer all round.