We didn’t invent the lock. We perfected it.
Read on to find out about the history of home security, as well as Schlage's important role in it.
2000 BC—Locks appear in ancient Egypt
Records show locks in use some 4,000 years ago in Egypt. Fastened vertically on the door post, the wooden lock contained moveable pins, or “pin tumblers”, that dropped by gravity into openings in the cross piece, or “bolt”, and locked the door. It was operated by a wooden key with pegs or prongs that raised the number of tumblers sufficiently to clear the bolt so that it could be pulled back. This method of locking was the forerunner of modern pin tumbler locks.
722-705 BC—First wooden lock discovered
The first wooden lock was discovered in Persia in a security gate in the palace of Sargon II, dating back to 722 to 705 B.C. In appearance and operation, it was very similar to the wooden cane-tumbler locks. The pegs at the bit end of the key correspond to the bars, or the tumblers, in the bolt. When inserted, the pegs lifted the tumblers so the bolt could be retracted and the door or gate could be opened.
445 BC—Locks in the Old Testament
In the book of Nehemiah, Chapter 3, it is stated that when repairing the old gates of the City of Jerusalem – probably in 445 B.C. – they “set up the doors thereof, and the locks thereof, and the bars thereof.” At this time locks were made of wood.
870-890—All-metal locks appear
The first all-metal locks appeared between the years 870 and 900, and are attributed to the English craftsmen. They were simple bolts, made of iron with wards (obstructions) fitted around the keyholes to prevent tampering.
1784—New concepts developed in lock-making
New concepts for locking devices were developed in Europe in the 17th century. Early Bramah locks utilized a series of sliders in a circular pattern to provide exceptional security. Bramah is the oldest lock company in the world and continues to manufacture its famous mechanism over 200 years later.
1774-1920—Lock-making takes off
Between 1774 and 1920, American locksmiths patented some 3,000 varieties of lock devices.
1909—Schlage’s first patent
Walter Schlage’s first invention, patented in 1909, was a door lock that turned lights on and off.
1920—The first Schlage shop
In about 1920, Mr. Schlage left his employment at Western Electric and opened a shop at 229 Mirma Street. He soon moved to loft quarters at 461 Bush Street (now the heart of the San Francisco Financial District). It was here tools for manufacturing the first lock with a push-button locking device centered in the door knob were designed and produced.
Early 1920’s—Schlage advances cylindrical pin-tumbler locks
In the early 1920’s, Walter Schlage advanced the concept of a cylindrical pin-tumbler lock by placing a push-button locking mechanism between the two knobs.
1923—Schlage goes into full-scale production
In 1923, Mr. Schlage moved his fledgling company to new quarters at 49 Shotwell Street, where he went into full-scale production of the push-button lock, which was destined to revolutionize the door lock industry.
1926—Bayshore Blvd. Plant is open for business
Confident of success, Mr. Schlage purchased a tract of two and half acres in the southeast section of San Francisco, known as Visitacion Valley. There, on Friday, June 25, 1926, the first unit of the San Francisco plant on Bayshore Boulevard was formally dedicated and declared open for business.
1940—Schlage named a “Modern Pioneer”
Six years before his death, Walter Schlage was honored and received the Modern Pioneer Award given to outstanding American inventors.
1946—Walter Schlage dies
1950’s—Schlage expands through acquisitions
The company began a period of expansion in the early 1950’s. It acquired California Lock Company to add a low-cost lock to the product line, Peabody Company from custom door hardware, and the LCN Closers to round out a more complete range of door hardware offerings.
1965—Von Duprin is acquired
In 1965, the Von Duprin factory was acquired, adding panic door-opener devices to the Schlage offering.
1970’s—General Lock Company is purchased
In the 1970’s, under the presidency of Marron Kendrick, Schlage purchased a mortise lock manufacturing company, General Lock Company of Pontiac, Michigan.
1974—Ingersoll Rand acquires Schlage
Schlage was acquired by Ingersoll Rand, a Fortune 150 manufacturer of industrial, mining and construction equipment, in 1974. As a result of the acquisition, Schlage Lock became part of the Ingersoll Rand Door Hardware Group.
1975—Schlage goes global
Expansion continued under Ingersoll Rand and, in 1975, Schlage acquired lock manufacturing facilities in New Zealand.
1976—Schlage moves into Security, Colorado
The Security, Colorado plant was opened in 1976 and now produces six standard series locksets as well as handcrafted door hardware products.
1997—Schlage moves to Colorado Springs, Colorado
In 1997 Schlage relocated its administrative offices to Colorado Springs, Colorado, while Technical Services and Customer Services remain in San Francisco, California.