Help Identifying or Reproducing Constantine Keychain

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Joel Benson

New Member
I have uploaded an image of my own Constantine exorcist key-ring as a point of possible interest for this prop discussion. I decided that trying to exactly reproduce the original Constantine prop key ring was less interesting than just going ahead and seeing what I could put together at relatively minimal cost, with an emphasis on obtaining larger medals and correcting some minor flaws in the thinking behind the original collection of medals for the key ring. So, what I have done is definitely not a perfect duplicate. It's just satisfying from the perspective of my own somewhat warped view.

The original Constantine pendant medals were about .75 inch or 1 inch high. This was too small for me as I often like to go bigger, if only to accommodate my less than perfect eyesight. So, for example, the Mater Dolorosa and Our Lady of Perpetual Help medals are about 2 inches in diameter and are each just over 100 years old. They required substantial polishing. I obtained these medals for a few dollars from a dealer in South America just east of Buenos Ares Argentina. I used to hunt dove in Argentina, so I'm somewhat familiar with the area.

The St. Aloysius medal is about 1.5 inches in diameter and is 120 years old, spending most of its life in Spain. Aloysius was an interesting guy as his family was rich, but he was totally committed to the Catholic church and gave up all his wealth to do God's work. He died at the age of 23 while attending people sick with what I assume was probably the plague. His medals all depict him intently looking at the cross to show his devotion and often show an adjacent skull to note his death at an early age.

The Madonna of the Streets medal I put together myself from inexpensive parts. The interesting thing about this medal is it originated as an 1897 painting by Ferruzzi who saw a beautiful 11-year old girl carrying her baby brother through the streets on a cold day and was so moved that he arranged to paint her carrying her brother. The painting was not religious in nature, but it was eventually adopted by the Catholic Church because everyone liked it. The girl in the painting eventually got married, moved to America, had 10 kids and a successful business with her husband until the 1929 stock market crash. Her husband died and she was eventually committed to an insane asylum for the rest of her life. So much for happy, inspiring stories.

The keys are an oddity of the Constantine key ring. The Key1 in my picture was made by the Independent Lock Company (ILCO) to operate a slot machine. The key number is 1055A which is hard to get, so I got a duplicate from the same company with a different number R1055AL. I had to purchase a dozen of these keys, so now I have a useless stock of old ILCO keys. Why would Constantine have an old slot machine key? Don't ask, it's an anomaly. The other key is a Corbin style corrugated key for a steamer trunk that hasn't been popular for over 100 years. The odd thing is the key has no Corbin logo, so it had to originate from a locksmith who made fake blank Corbin keys which are so rare that I think I got the last one. Anyway, I have the keys but I did waste a lot of time getting them.

As a note, I added a metal crucifix with a St Benedict image because he was known as the "demon chaser." I just couldn't leave him off of Constantine's key chain, even though he's on Constantine's cigarette lighter. I also added an Archangel Michael medal because it made no sense to leave him out when the angel Gabriel was ever-present.

The tiny size of the major exorcism medal was so disappointing that I made my own corresponding medal shown with a 2-inch diameter. I also made a separate larger 8-way exorcism medal which for some reason feels really neat in my hand. This baby would definitely burn a large circle on the forehead of any possessed person. I would definitely carry this large medal to any exorcism fight.

Anyway, my last comment is regarding the history of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help which has a really bizarre story attached to it. The original image was made as a painting in the Byzantine style in the late 15th century, around the time Columbus was commissioned to sail to America. The Church adopted the image and claimed it had magical powers. The painter in essence came up with the first science fiction tale involving time travel.

According to the story, the Archangel Michael and the angel Gabriel decided or were told that when Jesus was a boy of about 7-years old it was time to tell him about his horrific coming crucifixion when he would be 33 years old. Why it was necessary to burden a small boy with this information is an issue for scripture. So, the angels time-traveled forward to the crucifixion. Michael gathered up the blood-stained cross and Gabriel picked up the crown of thorns, the spear that had pierced Jesus' side and a mop that was used to soak up his blood. They then traveled back in time and confronted the boy Jesus with this information, showing him the bloody relics of his own crucifixion. Jesus, being a boy, screamed and ran to Mary who picked him up and comforted him while the angels took off with the relics. Jesus was so upset that a loose sandal dangled as Mary held him. From all of this, the Church designates the image of Mary, Jesus and the angels as indicating that Mary provides perpetual help to comfort Jesus and anyone else. So, now we have worldwide medals showing the image for all to see.

Anyway, that's my last word. I must say the collection of Constantine key ring medals was interesting from many perspectives. I certainly learned something about the history of the Catholic Church while finding medals.
 
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Buch

Sr Member
I have uploaded an image of my own Constantine exorcist key-ring as a point of possible interest for this prop discussion. I decided that trying to exactly reproduce the original Constantine prop key ring was less interesting than just going ahead and seeing what I could put together at relatively minimal cost, with an emphasis on obtaining larger medals and correcting some minor flaws in the thinking behind the original collection of medals for the key ring. So, what I have done is definitely not a perfect duplicate. It's just satisfying from the perspective of my own somewhat warped view.

The original Constantine pendant medals were about .75 inch or 1 inch high. This was too small for me as I often like to go bigger, if only to accommodate my less than perfect eyesight. So, for example, the Mater Dolorosa and Our Lady of Perpetual Help medals are about 2 inches in diameter and are each just over 100 years old. They required substantial polishing. I obtained these medals for a few dollars from a dealer in South America just east of Buenos Ares Argentina. I used to hunt dove in Argentina, so I'm somewhat familiar with the area.

The St. Aloysius medal is about 1.5 inches in diameter and is 120 years old, spending most of its life in Spain. Aloysius was an interesting guy as his family was rich, but he was totally committed to the Catholic church and gave up all his wealth to do God's work. He died at the age of 23 while attending people sick with what I assume was probably the plague. His medals all depict him intently looking at the cross to show his devotion and often show an adjacent skull to note his death at an early age.

The Madonna of the Streets medal I put together myself from inexpensive parts. The interesting thing about this medal is it originated as an 1897 painting by Ferruzzi who saw a beautiful 11-year old girl carrying her baby brother through the streets on a cold day and was so moved that he arranged to paint her carrying her brother. The painting was not religious in nature, but it was eventually adopted by the Catholic Church because everyone liked it. The girl in the painting eventually got married, moved to America, had 10 kids and a successful business with her husband until the 1929 stock market crash. Her husband died and she was eventually committed to an insane asylum for the rest of her life. So much for happy, inspiring stories.

The keys are an oddity of the Constantine key ring. The Key1 in my picture was made by the Independent Lock Company (ILCO) to operate a slot machine. The key number is 1055A which is hard to get, so I got a duplicate from the same company with a different number R1055AL. I had to purchase a dozen of these keys, so now I have a useless stock of old ILCO keys. Why would Constantine have an old slot machine key? Don't ask, it's an anomaly. The other key is a Corbin style corrugated key for a steamer trunk that hasn't been popular for over 100 years. The odd thing is the key has no Corbin logo, so it had to originate from a locksmith who made fake blank Corbin keys which are so rare that I think I got the last one. Anyway, I have the keys but I did waste a lot of time getting them.

As a note, I added a metal crucifix with a St Benedict image because he was known as the "demon chaser." I just couldn't leave him off of Constantine's key chain, even though he's on Constantine's cigarette lighter. I also added an Archangel Michael medal because it made no sense to leave him out when the angel Gabriel was ever-present.

The tiny size of the major exorcism medal was so disappointing that I made my own corresponding medal shown with a 2-inch diameter. I also made a separate larger 8-way exorcism medal which for some reason feels really neat in my hand. This baby would definitely burn a large circle on the forehead of any possessed person. I would definitely carry this large medal to any exorcism fight.

Anyway, my last comment is regarding the history of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help which has a really bizarre story attached to it. The original image was made as a painting in the Byzantine style in the late 15th century, around the time Columbus was commissioned to sail to America. The Church adopted the image and claimed it had magical powers. The painter in essence came up with the first science fiction tale involving time travel.

According to the story, the Archangel Michael and the angel Gabriel decided or were told that when Jesus was a boy of about 7-years old it was time to tell him about his horrific coming crucifixion when he would be 33 years old. Why it was necessary to burden a small boy with this information is an issue for scripture. So, the angels time-traveled forward to the crucifixion. Michael gathered up the blood-stained cross and Gabriel picked up the crown of thorns, the spear that had pierced Jesus' side and a mop that was used to soak up his blood. They then traveled back in time and confronted the boy Jesus with this information, showing him the bloody relics of his own crucifixion. Jesus, being a boy, screamed and ran to Mary who picked him up and comforted him while the angels took off with the relics. Jesus was so upset that a loose sandal dangled as Mary held him. From all of this, the Church designates the image of Mary, Jesus and the angels as indicating that Mary provides perpetual help to comfort Jesus and anyone else. So, now we have worldwide medals showing the image for all to see.

Anyway, that's my last word. I must say the collection of Constantine key ring medals was interesting from many perspectives. I certainly learned something about the history of the Catholic Church while finding medals.

Can I ask where you found the Corbin key? And do you know what exact trunk it's made for?
 

Joel Benson

New Member
Can I ask where you found the Corbin key? And do you know what exact trunk it's made for?
In answer to your question, I got my "blank" Corbin key (i.e., a key with no Corbin logos) on Ebay for about $8. Since this key displays no useful serial number information, its serial number cannot be determined. But this answer isn't helpful without some background. So, here goes.

The Constantine movie was filmed in Los Angeles. My best guess is the prop person probably went to a local locksmith and grabbed a few old keys that looked interesting. As luck would have it he/she grabbed an ILCO slot machine 1055A key and an old blank corrugated Corbin-style key for a steamer trunk. Now, Corbin has been in business for over a hundred years- it started on the east coast in the late 1800s. It has since relocated and has literally made hundreds of different styles of keys over time and has worked with ILCO and other companies. Oddly, the unique appearance of its corrugated steamer trunk key has never been repeated for other types of keys, so old steamer trunk keys are the only keys with that Corbin design.

Over time, Corbin has used different types of logos on its keys. So, if you do a search on Ebay, you will find many vintage Corbin corrugated steamer trunk keys with the unique Corbin shape and different serial numbers such as: TTD3-5; TTC1-6; TTB4-5. To make matters more complicated, Corbin also made trunk keys for Wheary (WBT1- WBT10) and Hartman (HTM1-4, HTK1-5, the TE series and the BLE series). The problem is all of these corrugated keys have fancy and semi-fancy logos and therefore aren't logo blanks like the odd key used for the Constantine key ring. Likely by pure chance, the Constantine prop person used a no-logo key that is very hard to find because it's essentially a rip-off replica replacement for an original Corbin key. There is no Corbin logo on the rip-off corrugated key likely in order to avoid a claim of copyright infringement by Corbin, which was a somewhat litigious company. It's worth noting that Corbin also made barrel and flat type trunk keys (the flat keys have no logos), but these differ in appearance from the corrugated keys and are not relevant.

Bottom line, if you want a logo-blank Corbin trunk key you can easily buy a logo key on Ebay or even Etsy and then sand-off the logo elements. This would be a pain in the neck, but removing the logo elements should produce a good replica. Fortunately, I got lucky and found a logo-less Corbin key. Not surprisingly, it had a faint ID noting it originated from Bode & Bode locksmith of Sacramento, another company with a hundred year history. I contacted this locksmith, sent them a picture of their key and asked for a few more. They responded that they had no such keys in stock and could only produce hundreds of such keys from an undisclosed source. So, Bode & Bode was no help, but it did confirm that locksmiths are the likely source for logo-blank Corbin corrugated trunk keys. I found another source for Corbin keys on the Internet. They had a large inventory of vintage keys, but all had logos and they wanted $25 per key. At that point I lost interest and went with the $8 key that I had obtained.

So, that's the story. One person on this site found three logo-blank Corbin keys in 2015, probably from a locksmith or a collector. His keys look much better than the one beat-up relic that I found, but given the oddity of the origin of the Corbin rip-off key it is amazing that there are any such keys available, even after careful searching. Somewhere there is probably a locksmith with a stash of blank no-logo Corbin trunk keys, but finding that source is a real needle in a haystack deal. Sanding a logo key is probably the best option for now. Reproducing the key is another option that is being pursued by someone reporting on this website.
 

Buch

Sr Member
In answer to your question, I got my "blank" Corbin key (i.e., a key with no Corbin logos) on Ebay for about $8. Since this key displays no useful serial number information, its serial number cannot be determined. But this answer isn't helpful without some background. So, here goes.

The Constantine movie was filmed in Los Angeles. My best guess is the prop person probably went to a local locksmith and grabbed a few old keys that looked interesting. As luck would have it he/she grabbed an ILCO slot machine 1055A key and an old blank corrugated Corbin-style key for a steamer trunk. Now, Corbin has been in business for over a hundred years- it started on the east coast in the late 1800s. It has since relocated and has literally made hundreds of different styles of keys over time and has worked with ILCO and other companies. Oddly, the unique appearance of its corrugated steamer trunk key has never been repeated for other types of keys, so old steamer trunk keys are the only keys with that Corbin design.

Over time, Corbin has used different types of logos on its keys. So, if you do a search on Ebay, you will find many vintage Corbin corrugated steamer trunk keys with the unique Corbin shape and different serial numbers such as: TTD3-5; TTC1-6; TTB4-5. To make matters more complicated, Corbin also made trunk keys for Wheary (WBT1- WBT10) and Hartman (HTM1-4, HTK1-5, the TE series and the BLE series). The problem is all of these corrugated keys have fancy and semi-fancy logos and therefore aren't logo blanks like the odd key used for the Constantine key ring. Likely by pure chance, the Constantine prop person used a no-logo key that is very hard to find because it's essentially a rip-off replica replacement for an original Corbin key. There is no Corbin logo on the rip-off corrugated key likely in order to avoid a claim of copyright infringement by Corbin, which was a somewhat litigious company. It's worth noting that Corbin also made barrel and flat type trunk keys (the flat keys have no logos), but these differ in appearance from the corrugated keys and are not relevant.

Bottom line, if you want a logo-blank Corbin trunk key you can easily buy a logo key on Ebay or even Etsy and then sand-off the logo elements. This would be a pain in the neck, but removing the logo elements should produce a good replica. Fortunately, I got lucky and found a logo-less Corbin key. Not surprisingly, it had a faint ID noting it originated from Bode & Bode locksmith of Sacramento, another company with a hundred year history. I contacted this locksmith, sent them a picture of their key and asked for a few more. They responded that they had no such keys in stock and could only produce hundreds of such keys from an undisclosed source. So, Bode & Bode was no help, but it did confirm that locksmiths are the likely source for logo-blank Corbin corrugated trunk keys. I found another source for Corbin keys on the Internet. They had a large inventory of vintage keys, but all had logos and they wanted $25 per key. At that point I lost interest and went with the $8 key that I had obtained.

So, that's the story. One person on this site found three logo-blank Corbin keys in 2015, probably from a locksmith or a collector. His keys look much better than the one beat-up relic that I found, but given the oddity of the origin of the Corbin rip-off key it is amazing that there are any such keys available, even after careful searching. Somewhere there is probably a locksmith with a stash of blank no-logo Corbin trunk keys, but finding that source is a real needle in a haystack deal. Sanding a logo key is probably the best option for now. Reproducing the key is another option that is being pursued by someone reporting on this website.

Thank you for taking the time to write this in depth answer! Much appreciated... It sure did give me some new ideas where to continue the search.

This definitely has to be completed....

IMG_6784.jpg
 

Joel Benson

New Member
Good luck with your search for the perfect logo-less Corbin steamer trunk key. This is a real Don Quixote search, but as you say, you do need to complete your beautiful collection of medals. Your reproduction of the Madonna medal is particularly impressive. I avoided the necessary hardship of attempting to achieve perfection by reducing my standards for replication.

One thing to note, I am only guessing that a logo-less Corbin key would likely come from a locksmith replicating the key and attempting to avoid copyright infringement. It is possible that at some point Corbin did produce corrugated keys with no logos. I have just never found any evidence to support that possibility. Again, good luck with your search.

If you need an ILCO R1055AL key which has the same design as the original 1055A key, just send me your address and I will mail you this key at no cost to you. You could use it as a placeholder until you find an original 1055A ILCO key, if any are still available.
 

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Joel Benson

New Member
This is an additional response to a question regarding the Constantine keys. Research indicates both Constantine keys are made my the Independent Lock Company (ILCO) which is a well-known source for keys in the U.S. As previously noted, the first key was originally manufactured by ILCO as a slot machine key, so it has ILCO's logo and an ILCO serial number: 1055A. This key is also available with the serial number R1055AL and with other numbers as well (eg. ,1013), which may be easier to find.

The second key has a more complex history. This key was made by ILCO as a "no logo" replacement for Corbin key numbers TTD1-5 and for a key made by Corbin for the Hartman luggage company of the series HTN1-12. Both of these ILCO no Logo keys are 2-inches long and replicate the noted Corbin keys which are among the longest corrugated keys that were sold by Corbin.

However, the situation with no logo ILCO keys gets more complex. ILCO made two different styles of no logo Corbin keys. The first style was used in the Constantine movie and has no Corbin or Hartman logo, but it does have the oval key hole and circumferential ridge that were used in the original Corbin key design. Then, presumably later, ILCO simplified its no logo key design to change the oval hole to a circular hole and to eliminate the ridge at the head of the key. I'm guessing ILCO probably simplified its no logo key design in order to move further away from the original appearance of the Corbin key.

So, what does all this mean? Well, in searching for ILCO no logo keys I found a company in Maine called the Brettuns Village Trunk Shop which is a good source for Corbin and ILCO no Logo Corbin/Hartman keys. Keys are sold for $25 each. You order a Constantine-type key by going to the website, specifying either HTN1-12 (preferred) or TTD1-5 (not tried) and noting you want a BLANK NO LOGO key. I did this and got the second style of ILCO no logo Corbin-style key which is close in appearance to the second Constantine key, as noted above. The address for the trunk shop is: www.brettunsvillage.com

As shown in the attached picture, the two ILCO keys that I purchased from Brettuns have blank front sides, a round hole and no top ridge; the back sides of these keys also don't have logos but do include a number or what may be a reference address, for example for a locksmith. So, these keys are not perfect replicas of the ILCO no logo Corbin-style key of the Constantine movie. But they may come close enough to be a
stand-in.

Anyway, good hunting for Constantine style keys!

CORBIN LOGO AND ILCO NO LOGO KEYS- 10 BY 6 INCHES-72 DPI- WITH NOTES.jpg
 
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Joel Benson

New Member
Since I'm obsessive/compulsive, attached is a picture that shows an actual cut Corbin Key with logo in association with the two types of corresponding NO LOGO ILCO blank keys that I have noted, the middle ILCO no logo key being the one used in the 2005 Constantine movie.


CORBIN LOGO AND TWO ILCO NO LOGO BLANK KEYS- ONE WITH OVAL AND RIDGE- OTHER WITHOUT OVAL AND R...jpg
 

laellee

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Just a quick update, but the Corbin and Ilco keys have now been successfully produced in brass via Shapeways and are available here:

Shapeways keys

I have not personally seen the finished product, but should have mine in hand in the next week (y)
 

Joel Benson

New Member
Thank you for the information. This is an excellent opportunity to get a no logo replica Corbin/Hartmann HTN# key without further searching. I ordered the Corbin polished brass key version for about $50 and, if it looks as good as its picture indicates, this will be the key that I will use for my completed Constantine key ring. Thanks again for the information.
 

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Joel Benson

New Member
I just received a Shapeways glossy brass Corbin trunk key. A picture is attached. As shown, this key comes in a black velvet bag. This definitely concludes my search for Constantine exorcism keys. The Shapeways reference was provided by Laellee on this site. Just look for the picture of Nicola Tesla.

One thing, the thickness of the Shapeways key is .05 inch as measured with a micrometer. That is the thickness is .127 cm or 1.27 mm. On the other hand, a typical vintage Corbin key is about .1 inch thick, that is .254 cm or 2.54 mm thick. So, the Shapeways key blank is about half the thickness of an actual Corbin key. Although the Shapeways key may seem a little thin to the touch, it is rigid and within the thickness reported for some other blank keys and it is definitely a beautiful reproduction of the Constantine key. I'm just reporting the thinness of the Shapeways key so you are not surprised if you order it. I personally am very happy with the Shapeways key and will use it for my final display collection of Constantine exorcism keys. By the way, this Shapeways key is 2-inches long, so it is as long as the corresponding key in the Constantine movie and longer than some original Corbin keys that you might find on the Internet.
 

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