Brass, steel, iron, mahogany
Lock - H: 8.5"; W: 12.5"; D: 2.5"
Plate - L: 6.5"; H: 4.25"
An engraved brass doorplate inscribed "Doctor Wistar" and a brass and mahogany door lock from the Philadelphia residence of the Quaker scientist and intellectual Dr. Caspar Wistar (1761-1818). In 1798 Wistar purchased a house built in 1750 by another prominent physician Dr. William Shippen at 4th and Locust Streets in Philadelphia. From this house he conducted his weekly open houses in winter where students, citizens, scientists and travelers met to discuss topics of common interest. Wistar was the Chair of the Department of Anatomy at the University of Pennsylvania, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Philosophical Society.
The lock is composed of decorative brass strapwork, a brass heart-shaped escutcheon and a brass shield-shaped door handle. The image of the reverse shows the attachments for the period locking mechanism. In 1790 his brother Richard ( 1756–1821) built a large store in Philadelphia where he conducted an iron and hardware business and it is likely that his brother's store was the source for this set.
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