The Lock Museum of America
230 Main Street | Route 6
Terryville, Connecticut 06786
PO Box 104
Terryville, Connecticut 06786-0104
$5 for adults
$3 for Senior Citizens and Children 18 & under
The Museum is a great place for school groups and home schoolers to learn about STEM. A visit to the Museum includes a tour of the Terryville Water Wheel to learn how water powered the Eagle Lock factory in the 1800s. The Water Wheel is on the National Register of Historic Places It is only a 5-minute walk from the Museum.
We are closed for the winter. In 2023, we will be open on weekends by appointment
from May 1 through October 31.
Please call 860-480-4408 to schedule a visit.
The museum sits on the site of the second Plymouth Town Hall, which also had a jail. The cell door is on display, complete with a ball and chain.
Across the street from the museum is the original location of the Eagle Lock factory, founded in 1854. Some buildings still remain visible.
View the Visitor section of the Town Of Plymouth website for more information about the village of Terryville.
Located down the street from the museum sits the Eli Terry, Jr. Water Wheel, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Terryville is probably the only village in the United States with a Water Wheel on its Main Street!
The Water Wheel is 22’ in diameter and 7’ across. It is owned by the Plymouth Historical Society and was restored in 1991. The surrounding area was later renovated by the town’s Historic Properties Commission.
Eli Terry, Jr. began making clocks here in 1824. The Water Wheel converted the energy of the Pequabuck River to power the lathes, presses, and saws in the factory. In 1832, Terry partnered with lock maker Stephen Bucknall of Watertown, Connecticut, and began manufacturing locks here. For a while, both clocks and locks were produced. Terry died in 1841 at the age of 42. In 1851, the factory, then owned by the Lewis Lock Company, burned down, and was rebuilt, including the Water Wheel. It is believed that the iron hardware of the original wheel was reused.
In 1854, James Terry, son of Eli Terry, Jr., formed the Eagle Lock Company. The firm became the dominant manufacturer of cabinet locks, trunk locks, padlocks, and specialty locks in the world. Many of these locks are on display in the Lock Museum of America.
There is information on the back of the entry sign that explains how the Water Wheel worked. A path on the hill behind the benches leads to the remains of an earthen dam. You can see the stone tunnel that carried the water from the dam to the Wheel when the iron gate was opened. The gate is on the upstream side of the dam.