The history of the Yale lock

Although the History of the Yale Lock has a very British flavour, it’s origins are over the pond in America. It was the Yale family who invented the Yale Lock, which is essentially a pin tumbler lock. Having already invented the Cylinder lock in 1848,  it was Linus Yale, Jr. who invented the pin tumbler lock in 1868, along with Henry R Towne.

The original lock company which invented the Yale lock was called Yale Lock Manufacturing Co and was based in Connecticut in America. The company name was later changed to Yale & Towne, where they registered 8 patents for their pin tumbler safe lock, safe lock, bank lock, vault and safe door bolt and padlock.

The British connection came when, in the 20th century, Yale & Towne expanded its business worldwide and acquired a British lock company called H&T Vaughan. This British company, based in Willenhall was a long established lock manufacturer based in the historic centre of the British lock industry.

It was at this point that the generic term of pin tumbler lock was changed to Yale Locks, and in Britain the Yale Lock had great prominence in the British motor industry in the early years. This prominence diminished in the 1930’s when cheaper ‘leaf tumbler’ technology became available. A resurgence happened in the 1960’s when the M69 window lock became popular as a security device especially in vans.

In the modern era however, Yale locks are synonymous with domestic and commercial buildings and are seen as the worlds favourite lock. In Britain, the entrance door lock with cylinder came to be the traditional surface mounted front door lock for many homes and businesses nationwide. In our next blog we will look at the design and versatility of the Yale lock.

To find out more about the History of the Yale Lock, ring Stephen direct on 07930 841967 if you are in the Doncaster area.

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We are a family business established in 1980, Stephen is DBS checked and a member of the Association of Accredited Locksmiths. We are a local company based in Doncaster.


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