We offer sympathetic restoration and repair service for antique, rare and prized patent locks and keys (safe locks and property locks) for national heritage and private customers
*Examples include locks from the 19-20th centuries: Parautoptic (6, 7, 9 and 12 slide), Strutts Patent C & H Windle, W. Longfield, Parsons Balanced Lever, Tucker and Reeves, Barrons, Chubb Detector, Tann Guarded Lever, Milners, Chatwood Invincible, Cotterill, Mappins, Bramah, Aubin, Ratner, Hobbs Anti-Violence/Bullion Protector and many more. Combination lock examples from the same era include: Henry Covert's, Sargent & Greenleaf, Diebold, Yale, Joseph Hall and many more. Our experience and knowledge base is extensive. Please see photos of the work involved in some of these locks illustrating the before and after stages.
What D.R. Lock Restoration and Repair can do for you:
1) Restoration and repair of antique, rare and prized locks. *1
2) Traditional manufacture of missing components. *2
3) Repairs expertly carried out with many years experience.
4) Box of wards keys made traditionally from scratch to the highest standards.
5) Ornamental metalwork specialist.
6) Embellishment specialist.
7) Special one-off key blanks made. *3
8) Brazing, soldering and welding repairs to drilled and damaged locks and more.
9) Polishing, grinding, burnishing, painting, fret design and much more.
10) Lathe work such as combination lock dial spindles, ornate key stems and much more.
11) Bespoke metalwork designed and made to customers specification.
12) Display locks and keys made and sold.
13) Presentation keys designed and made for birthdays and special occasions. *4
14) Special tools designed and made.
15) Keys fitted and made to locks and duplicates cut.
16) The highest standards of craftsmanship guaranteed.
17) Reasonably Priced.
*We are specialists in the heritage, repair and restoration of Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian and property door and safe locks.
*1 Restoration, repair and display preparation of locks with historical significance for collectors, museums and properties. Parts that are missing, broken or damaged can be expertly repaired or re-manufactured by hand (traditionally) and will conform to the age, function and aesthetic of the item.
*2 Missing components include detectors, levers/tumblers, screws, drill pins, leaf springs, bushes, curtains, anti-pick devices etc. Commonly lost, broken or damaged in old and rare items.
*3 For antique and rare locks that require replacement keys, it is common for us to have to manufacture the key blanks from scratch, especially if the 'bit' is of a unique shape and dimension. Special 'one-off' blanks can be difficult if not impossible to obtain for the job, and require bespoke manufacture. We are specialists in bespoke manufacture of 'one-off' keys.
*4 Whether you require a 21st birthday key or another type of presentation key for a special occasion, we can manufacture them in a traditional way to your own design and specification or if you prefer, just leave it to us. We will work closely with you to ensure your order is perfect in every way.
Specialist keys made from scratch
*The above example illustrate the necessity for constructing special key blanks for certain old locks as "off the shelf" examples of the correct dimension and appearance simply cannot be obtained in most cases. Chromed key blanks are very common these days and they are not appropriate for use with antique locks from a heritage point of view. Cast larger key blanks tend to be of very poor quality full of pores and very brittle as a result. Our specially made blanks are constructed from the finest quality mild steels and either brazed or silver soldered together for an exceptional quality product.
The 15 slide challange Day & Newell Parautoptic resides in the Science Museum in London, England. It took around 9 months for my grandfather to skillfully complete all the work on the lock.
The images above illustrate some of the craftsmanship and type of work that we carry out. The first images highlight the making of an ornate box of wards key/box from scratch, with a traditional wrought iron style forged bow. You can see that the bow started life as a straight piece of square 5/16" thick stock bar about 9.5" in length, cut and filed to shape before skillfully forming the scrolls whilst red hot around special formers. The bow was then silver soldered together with a rectangular box collar and filed up precisely so that all the joints were hidden. This item takes pride of place amongst a private collection.
Photos illustrating a selection of our restoration projects that we carry out on a regluar basis for discerning collectors. You will see a compilation of prized rare patent locks such as the Strutt C & H Windle patent c.1816 lock with gravity drop false notched levers. This particular example had a terrible perspex cover plate which was completely out of character. The customer requested a steel replacement with an appropriate design cut-away so all the mechanism could be seen working without falling out!
The art of the locksmith
Here we have a 18" Hobbs Violence lock in the "before" stage. As can be seen, it is in pretty rough condition with rust and dirt. The lock was siezed up with no key and the owner wanted it to be a display piece in his collection. Our job was to skillfully refurbish the lock, cut it away and embellish the components so every major part could be seen working.
We are specialists in traditional fine art metal work and embellishments. As can be seen in this Hobbs example we have applied the traditional pearling effect on the Brass work and a striped pattern down the case edge and bolt work. For older locks these embellishments can hide certain nasty imperfections in the nature of the metal, that spoil the appearance of the item. Obviously in some locks, certain characteristic markings are important to preserve, as they tell a story of how the item was manufactured. They not only look aesthetically pleasing but serve the purpose of improving the quality of the item and highlighting certain key features.
The rear view profile illustrates the securing of the lock onto its bespoke oak veneer mount via two bolts and polished dome nuts. We design and manufacture our own mounts. Notice how the mount is rather modest in size and construction in comparison to the size and sheer weight of the lock. Underneath there is 3 wood screws in ample length of 2.5". It was important to not detract from the visual impact of the lock.
The Fichet triple control clicker safe lock below demonstrates our skill with hand fret design. These are tricky locks to work with but lend themselves very well to being made into cut-away display pieces for the collector and educational purposes.
The transformation of a Brass 8 lever Chubb 6K18 mk1 safe lock into a display piece. As can be seen the lock was complete and undamaged before work started. Brass locks lend themselves well to being embellished. In this particular example you will see that the lock is cut-away by hand and the embellishments are all machined. The finished lock is a very handsome working display piece.
*Display locks appeal to not only collectors but also people who have an interest in engineering/mechanics in general. The very idea of being able to observe the mechanisms at work intrigues a lot of mechanically minded people.
To the right you will see an image depicting the surface preparation of the Chubb before embellishing. As this type of lock is cast it is important to remove as much of the rough surface imperfections as possible and smooth out all marks with graded abrasive cloths and papers to leave a shiny surface ready for machine embellishing. Due to the nature of the embellishing cutter, it is necessary to recess the middle portion of the case (key hole part) so that the cutter does not mark this section.
To the left you can see the manual process of cutting the design out by hand. This is a traditional fret process that requires fine file finishing and burnishing for exceptional results. The design has been precisely marked out onto the job, working around the mechanics of the lock to ensure nothing will fall out or be compromised in operation. On this particular lock there is always two holes in the cover plate which are not necessary for the correct working of the lock, so are removed with the design.
*Traditionally, it was common for good lock makers especially combination lock makers such as Sargent & Greenleaf, Halls, Yale, Diebolt etc to embellish their safe locks. Nowadays the art has been lost by many, but at D.R. lock restoration and repair we strieve to reproduce the traditional skill and quality of the old days in all of our display locks. Some of our techniques are unique to us, and have been passed down and develpoed over many years to create exceptional results.
*Our special embellishments can be applied to many metal surfaces. They are not just exclusive to our display locks. We can offer an embellishment service to customers who have suitable metal objects that they wish to be enhanced. Please use our contact page for any queries regarding embellishments of other metal objects.