The history of the Yale door lock

Yale lock history has a very British flavour, although its origins are much over the pond in America. The Yale family invented the Yale Lock, a pin tumbler lock. Henry R. Towne, along with Linus Yale, Jr., invented the pin tumbler lock in 1868. They had already invented the cylinder lock in 1848.

The original Lock Company invented the Yale lock. It was based in Connecticut, America. The company name was later changed to Yale & Towne. They registered eight patents for their pin tumbler safe lock. They patented the safe lock, bank lock, vault, and safe door bolt, and padlock.

Yale & Towne operated out of Connecticut. It expanded globally and made a big acquisition in the early 20th century. The company purchased H&T Vaughan, a renowned British lock manufacturer based in Willenhall, a historic hub of the British lock industry.

During this global expansion, the term pin tumbler lock” became Yale Locks. In the first half of 20th-century Britain, the Yale Lock was very important. It had great prominence in the British motor industry. In the mid-1900s, cheaper “leaf tumbler” technology became available. This caused the Yale lock to fall in popularity in the motor industry. But a resurgence occurred in the 1960s. The M69 window lock became famous as a security device, especially in vans.

Today, Yale locks are a symbol of security. They are used in homes and businesses. They are the world’s most popular lock. In Britain, the surface-mounted front door lock with a cylinder is often linked with Yale. It has become a standard feature in many homes and businesses across the country.

The earlier versions that still exist are not good as a main source of door security. But, they are fine as a backup to a mortice lock. The latest BS versions are equally as good as Mortice looks.

history of the Yale lock Rotherham

If you would like to learn more about the Yale lock’s history, please ring Stephen directly on 01709 630027 if you are in the Rotherham area.

Security advice from your Rotherham locksmith

Stay up to date with the latest tips and security advice from Rotherham’s leading professional locksmith and to keep your home and business safe and secure.

About S Fretwell & Sons of Rotherham


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 Rotherham.


Our customer reviews speak for themselves, we are often chosen by South Yorkshire Police, local schools and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council to secure their properties.


We were trained by Benny Wells at Safe Ventures, we never stop improving our skills and work with Rotherham home owners and businesses, helping to secure their properties.