The Jehning Family Lock Museum in Mountain View is a safe bet

Ever wonder what 75,000 keys look like? Take a peek at the display case in the Jehning Family Lock Museum.Located on Castro Street in Mountain View, the museum isnot surprisinglynext door to Mountain View Lock & Key. And thats just what the museum is filled with: locks, safes, and the keys to open them with.The museum is clearly a labor of love. Al and Audrey Jehning, former owners of the store, bought the historic 1903 Ames building in 1996, restored it, and opened the museum in 2005.The keys to the museumFirst off is their collection of keys. At the time of my visit, the Jehnings had a little over 75,000 - Garage Door Repair Las Vegas - keys, visible through the glass front of a converted safe. Al Jehning said theyre going for the Guiness Book of World Records. The problem is, every year as they collect more keys, so do the current record holders. You might want to drop by and donate some of your own, and help the Jehnings beat that record.But they have more than just modern American keys. Theyve collected over 5,000 keys from all around the world. And thats one of the first things Al will point out to you; keys and locks reveal their own time period and national identity. His Scandinavian locks are smooth and functionalthe sort of - Garage Door Repair Las Vegas - thing youd buy at IKEA. Meanwhile the Indian locks are just the opposite. Embossed and bent into elaborate animal shapes, they look like brass temple deities.Early LoJack and trackingInside one glass case are shackles used to hold prisoners. Next to the shackles is an early form of LoJack. A large, studded iron lock went across the tire and through the spokes of the wheel. If a thief managed to drive off with the car going thump-thump-thump as the lock rolled round, there was a built-in tracking device that was lovely and low-tech. Each time the wheel lock contacted the road, the studs on the lock dug deep ruts into the asphalt. All the police had to do was follow the ruts and arrest the guy at the end of the trail. Hopefully the thief would also pay for miles and miles of road repair.Its safe in thereLining the walls is a series of safes, literally tons of them. I had thought of safes as strictly utilitarian devices, but I was wrong. They have a beauty of their own.A safe patented in 1891 by the Diebold Safe & Lock Company of Canton, Ohio looks sturdily Victorian from the outside. Al showed me how a vault door like the one on this safe can weigh well over 1000 pounds, yet swing open more easily than a garage door.Once you open it, the inside of this door is a steampunk fans dream. Brass screws hold down steel plates, while floral and machine engraving make the rods, bolts, and fittings look as if youre peering inside an enormous pocket watch.The only people who ever saw this side of the door were the guy who took the cash in and out and the occasional bank inspector. Yet the makers cared enough to show off the quality of their work even in a door that would only be seen by two guys.I guess every manmade object has a story to tell. And pride is the key to this one.If you goThe Jehning Family Lock Museum175 Castro Street, Mountain View(650) 968-2285Open Wednesday 12 pm to 5 pmThursday 6 pm to 8 pmSunday 10 am to 3 pmClosed most major holidaysLocation mapMuseum website