Key Project

2500 Terminals and 1 Very Amazing Shopping Cart

There are all kinds of definitions for the word TERMINAL (courtesy English language learner’s definition):
• a building where buses or trains regularly stop so that passengers can get on and off
• a building at an airport where people get on and off airplanes
• a part on a piece of electrical equipment where you make an electrical connection
• causing death eventually “She was diagnosed with terminal cancer.”
• very bad or severe “I was suffering from terminal boredom.”
• a computer/keyboard/monitor connected to a system & used for data entry/display
• at the end : forming or coming at the end of something
o branches that end in a terminal bud
o We’re on the terminal [=final] leg of our trip.
o The terminal [=last] stop for this line is Boston.

A terminal can also be a finial (those things on the ends of curtain rods). Or in the case of the Canadian Army a terminal is a stainless steel piece used to tie off metal cables. It looks like this:

terminal
terminal

According to the guy at my local auction house the army uses metal cable for anything that non-military types would use a rope for. There are two sizes that I’m aware of: large and small.

small terminal
small terminal

I use the terminals to make keys. And if you’ve been following this you know I’m going to be making 5000 keys in total. That’s a lot of terminals! Earlier this week I went in and bought pretty much all of the terminals the auction house had. Believe me, they were happy to see me because they want to clear out their stock (and perhaps retire? I don’t know – just a guess).

The terminals are packaged 144 (or one gross) per box. Initially I bought 11 boxes of the smaller terminals.

large terminal
large terminal

There were no boxes of the large terminals so I bought everything that was in the bin (which worked out to three buckets).

And, of course, since I was stocking up and the good folks at the auction were happy to provide a bulk discount I picked up a few other things.

Bits and pieces that I’ll use for the ends of the keys.

Here’s what it all looked like when I got it in the house:

Auction house purchases
Auction house purchases

Even though the boxes are small it was a bit of a back breaker to unload them. Slowly they are getting moved into my basement studio. And yes, that is one of those hairdressing stands from the 70’s – you know, the kind where you can put supplies in various compartments? I thought I could use the stand for a sculpture I’m working on and use the tray for supplies.

So far it’s working out well; here’s a picture:

Supply stand
Supply stand

The boxes were stored upstairs at the auction house. I waited what started to seem like a very long time for the dad of the operation to get the boxes ready for me. He didn’t appear to be bringing any down the stairs…eventually I wandered further into the store – to the back part where the consignment stuff is. Then I noticed a large hole in the ceiling. It was at this point that my order was ready. A go button was pressed on a cable and – I kid you not – a shopping cart filled with 11 gross of terminals – was lowered on a cable from the ceiling. It was the most amazing thing I think I’ve ever seen. I am sorry that I didn’t get a picture. I still can’t believe it actually happened. Not what I expected. At. All. Once the shopping cart reached the ground the canvas strap holding it onto the cable was removed and the cart – and my boxes – were wheeled out to my car.

While all this was going on two more boxes of terminals were found. I didn’t get a picture of the shopping cart the second time it came down either. Sorry. I’ve been burning that mental snapshot into my brain so I can go back to it. So fascinating.

In the end I bought some 2500 terminals.

Terminals, all about coming and going and endings and finishings.

I use them to make keys. They look like this:

key #57 made with large terminal
key #57 made with large terminal
key made with small terminal
key made with small terminal

4 thoughts on “2500 Terminals and 1 Very Amazing Shopping Cart

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