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Northrop, E. B.; Chittenden, H. A., Jr. (ed.) / The Wisconsin lumberman, devoted to the lumbering interests of the northwest
(July, 1874)

Yale Lock Manufacturing Company. Progress of the manufacture of locks and of bronze ornamental hardware--description of one of New England's leading manufactures,   pp. 377-386 PDF (3.1 MB)

Page 377

The Wiscoon Lunberman.
Progress of the Manufacture of Locks and
of Bronze Ornamental Hardware-Descrip-
ton of one of New England's Leading lann-
There is much that is curious and in-
teresting in the history of lock making,
which dates back to a far more remote
period of history than is generally sup-
posed. The labors of the antiquary
disclose the fact that some of our most
modern improvements in the construc-
tion of locks are merely the accidental
reproduction of inventions that origi-
nated many centuries ago. The ancient
Egyptians, those silent custodians of
more Lhan one of the "lost art," un-
doubtedly manufactured locks with
tumblers which held the bolt until they
were moved by the key, a device usually
considered to be of modern origin.
Amid the ruins of Thebes and in other
localities iron keys have been found
evidently designed for locks of this des-
That the Romans also made locks of
intricate construction is evident from the
numerous discoveries in Herculaneum
and Pompeii, and in England there have
been found keys which were doubtless
contemporary with the Roman occupa-
tion of Great Britain. Ages ago the
Chinese made wooden locks which
operated upon precisely the same princi-
ple as the famous Bramah lock, which
was invented in England in 1784, and
was regarded as the first great improve-
ment in locs making.
In the Bramah lock, so named from its
inventor, the use of wards was dispensed
with, and other peculiarities of construc-
tion gave it the reputation of being a
lock which could not possibly be picked.
For many years a lock of this kind was
displayed in the window of the office in
London, with a reward of two hundred
pounds to any one who could pick it.
This feat was accomplished in 1851 by
Mr. Hobbs, whose first attempt occupied
nineteen hours, owing to the breaking of
one of his instruments, but he subse-
quently repeated the operation three
times within an hour.
The next lock of any prominence was
Chubbs', invented in England in 1818.
This was also easily picked by Mr. Hobbs.
At the London exposition of 1851 Mr.
Hobbs presented for the attention of
mechanical experts a lock made by Mr.
Pyes, which defied the ingenuity of the
best English locksmith, but was finally
picked by the late Mr. Linus Yale, Jr.,
who was for many years the president of
the Yale Lock Manufacturing Company,
of Stamford, Conn. This triumph of
American skill was frankly recognized
by Mr. E. B. Denison, the celebrated
lock maker of Londan, who says that
American locks "are vastly superior to
any we have ever seen made in England;
and on the whole, the United States are
evidently ahead of us in themanufacture
of both good and cheap locks."
Within a few years past the hard-
ware business, in all its innumerable de-
partments, has become an interest of im-
mense importance in this country, and
among the countless articles embraced
under the generic term hardware, locks
may be regarded as one of the most
prominent. There are of coarse numer-
ous claimants for distinction in this
branch of production, but for ingenuity
of design, excellence of material, finish-
ed workmanship, and above all, absolute
security, none sustain a higher reputa-
tion than the celebrated Yale locks above
alluded to.
As first manufactured nearly thirty
years ago by their inventor, the late Mr.
Linus Yale, Senior, these locks were a
decided improvement over their prede-
cessors, but their range of application
was limited, and their costliness prevent-
ed very general adoption. Some years
subsequently Mr. Linus Yale, Jr., in-
vented alock of different and superior

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