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How To Pick An Antique Door Lock

Modern security systems can provide us with absolute security in our homes. The latest smart locks protect you and your home from break-ins, thefts and other troubles. However, what if your house has an old antique door and you don't want to replace it at all? We understand you. After all, these details help preserve the special charm and create an unusual atmosphere. The problem is that often the previous owners may not have left the keys to the old door, or you may end up being locked in or out of the room because the lock is old and out of order. In this case, it is worth knowing a few rules about how to open an antique door lock without a key and without damaging the door itself. Sure Lock & Key has collected useful tips for opening an old lock using handy items. Let’s start!

How Do You Unlock An Old Door Knob

As already mentioned above, in order to install a new lock for an antique door, first of all, you need to uninstall the old one. However, imagine the situation when you have moved to a new house and the door is locked and you can't find the keys. What to do in this case? Of course, there is no question of breaking the door unless you get locked and can't get out. How to open the door without damaging either the mechanism or the door? Below we have collected some tips on how to open an ancient door lock.
One of the easiest ways, of course, is to dismantle the door knob. That requires special tools and skills if you want to avoid damaging the antique door. It is advisable to contact a specialist to manage everything carefully. However, if you still intend to do it yourself, here are some tips:
  • Use a screwdriver. To safely remove the doorknob, take a screwdriver and remove the set screw located at the base of the handle. After that, easily turn the handle and remove it from the spindle. Next, you need to remove the spindle and release it from the hole by pulling the handle. Then remove the lock housing by removing the two screws on the front. This will allow you to get to the lock mechanism and dismantle it.
  • With a paperclip. In general, doors with door handles of this type are not too difficult to open. Therefore, an ordinary paper clip might help you solve the problem. Take a paperclip, and insert it into the hole inside the handle. Then try to find the reset button inside the mechanism and press it.
  • Use a credit card. To do this, take a flexible credit or discount card (please, don’t use anything important because your improvised tool might end up being bent), stand in front of the door and grab the handle. It is necessary to rotate the handle as if you want to open it in the usual way. Then slide the card between the door and the jamb. Next, using rocking movements, try to insert the card next to the latch and free it from the locking part. Continue until the door opens.
old door knob
  • Rekeying. If your door is equipped with an antique skeleton key door lock, then the easiest way to open it without damage is to simply replace the key. If you don't want to waste your time doing this, you can always call our locksmiths and get the problem resolved.

    Now, when the issue is fixed and you still want to save the lock since it has a great impact on your house interior, you may need to take some actions to make your antique lock new again. That would be an investment in its longevity and your calmness.

old door knob

What Is The Skeleton Key Lock

Although the vast majority of people now use skeleton key locks as interior items, there are ones who still use them to protect their property. However, there were no alternatives in the past, and these kinds of door locks were the main means of protecting homes. Since then, several types of locks have been invented. Here we listed the main of them:
  • Warded lock. This type of lock is one of the oldest. This antique door lock mechanism contains fixed obstacles in its mechanism. That lock type was popular at a certain time. Later, other locks were invented that provided a higher level of security.
  • Padlock. Invented at the beginning of the 18th century by Swedish engineer Christopher Polhem, this type of lock became the prototype of the modern lock. A padlock was made in the form of a metal lock with several rows of metal discs inside. The mechanism allowed the lock to be opened only when, with the help of a special key, all the discs were aligned in a certain position.
old door lock
  • Lever tumbler lock. This type of lock was invented by the English locksmith Robert Barron in 1778. The specialist designed a lock that used a double-acting toggle mechanism. Thus, the key’s corresponding slots raise the levers inside the lock to a certain height, which allows it to be opened. This mechanism is still used in the manufacture of modern door locks.
  • Pin tumbler lock. This type of lock was invented in the middle of the 19th century. Although some sources claim that such locks were used as far back as ancient Egypt, the modern pin lock was designed by Linus Yale and later improved by Linus Yale Jr. Pins of different lengths are placed inside the pin lock, so the mechanism can only be opened with a special key.
old door lock

When Did Skeleton Keys Stop Being Used

Skeleton keys, as well as old door locks, became less popular when Linus Yale invented the modern model of pin tumbler lock. It gave impetus to the creation of new and more advanced mechanisms for the protection of one's own home. Today, old door locks are more about design than security and safety. Thus, more and more often, people install antique locks inside the house and not at the entrance. So whether you want to keep an old door or install it to create an atmosphere, we at Sure Lock & Key are ready to assist you with your locks!

Summing up

Now people more and more often replace old skeleton locks by new and perfect smart locks. This is not surprising because devices like this provide a high level of security and protection of your property, which is so important nowadays. However, if you still appreciate the uniqueness and authenticity of antique doors and locks and want to keep them at home, then we are ready to help you! Our residential locksmiths have a lot of experience in servicing such doors and will perform any service you need. So if you have any problems with antique door locks, contact Sure Lock & Key and we will help you to solve them immediately!

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