It’s been five years since the Wilson Keyring was initially released by General Manufacturing Concern, a design partnership between Hunter Craighill and Dylan Fareed.
While visiting the Brooklyn workshop of long-time collaborator and fabricator, Chuck McAlexander, they noticed a bent bar stock loop Chuck had been using to store trumpet components. Working with Chuck, they scaled the loop down to fit in your pocket, making a perfect little keyring.
Manufactured by cutting ⅛” brass wire to length and applying three bends on a hand-operated wire forming machine, the design is so simple that we often describe it as being undesigned. There’s kind of nothing to it, and, perhaps, therein lies the sustained interest. The enameled versions were introduced as a means to differentiate different sets of keys quickly, whether they’re for your home, office, airplane or boat.
The name Wilson comes from a town in Wyoming where Hunter and Dylan spent a lot of time growing up. It was a place (and time) marked by never having to lock the house when you left, and car keys were usually stashed above the visor.
In late-2016 we decided to introduce a matte black version of the Wilson Keyring. We had some experience with different metal black oxide finishes, but especially in case of a keyring where metal is rubbing on metal constantly, the finish would wear off quickly to expose the steel beneath. After sampling about 10 different black coatings, we landed on Melonite, a coating that’s achieved by submerging stainless steel parts in a salt bath heated to 1049° Fahrenheit. Very hot! After wear-testing these keyrings for a couple years now, we assure you the finish doesn’t wear off.
And so now, to celebrate five years of the Wilson Keyring, we’re taking the finishes to their natural conclusion. We’ve enameled the Carbon Black Wilson Keyring in a bunch of different colors, though we’ve only made 25 of each. It’s possible that we’ll continue making some of these colors moving forward, but no guarantees. We appreciate your sustained interest in this simple product — hopefully it makes your life a little better. Grab one for yourself here.