Locksmith Terms

Alarm system ~ n. a system of electrical and/or electronic components which detect and report dangers, such as fire or intrusion

Automatic closing ~adj. pertaining to a door which is equipped with a door closer, or other device to close it without manual intervention. Frequently found in Life Safety and fire code requirements.

Automatic deadbolt~ n. a deadbolt designed to extend itself fully when the door is closed

Back plate~ n. a thin piece of metal, usually with a concave portion, used with machine screws to fasten certain types of cylinders to a door

Backset~ n. the distance between the center of a cross-bore and the bolt edge of a door or drawer

Barrel key~ n. a type of bit key with a hole drilled into the shank from the tip

Bevel~ n. (of a door) the pitch on the leading edge of a door which allows clearance for closing

Bicycle padlock~ n. a padlock with sufficient shackle clearance to secure a bicycle

Blade~ n. the portion of a key which may contain the cuts and/or millings

Blank~ adj. uncut, see also “key blank”

bump key~ n. a lock picking key with uniform steeples between cuts that is forced further into the lock via impact

burglar alarm~ n. a system designed to detect and report conditions, which may indicate intrusion or attempted intrusion

Burglar resistant~ adj. of or pertaining to a security container designed to resist forcible entry for a specified period of time determined by the

Bypass key~ n. the key which operates a key override cylinder

Cam lock~ n. a complete locking assembly in the form of a cylinder whose cam is the actual locking bolt

Chain lock~ n. a device used to secure property with interlocking links and secured on both ends by a slide plate or a key locking device

Change key~ n. 1. a key which operates only one cylinder or one group of keyed alike cylinders in a keying system, 2. any device that is used to mechanically or electronically allow resetting of certain key or combination locks, see also “reset key” #1

Code key~ n. a key cut to a specific code rather than duplicated from a pattern key. it may or may not conform to the lock manufacturer’s specifications

Combination lock~ n. a lock which is operated by local input of a specific series or sequence of numbers or letters

Control key~ n. 1. a key whose only purpose is to remove and/or install an interchangeable or removable core 2. a bypass key used to operate and/or reset some combination type locks 3. a key which allows disassembly of some removable cylinder locks

Core~ n. a complete unit, often with a “figure eight” shape, which usually consists of the plug, shell, tumblers, springs, plug retainer and spring cover(s). It is primarily used in removable and interchangeable core cylinders and locks.

Cylinder~ n. a complete operating unit which usually consists of the plug shell, tumblers, springs, plug retainer, a cam/tailpiece or other actuating device, and all other necessary operating parts

Cylinder guard~ n. a protective cylinder mounting device

Cylinder lock~ n. any lock that is operated by a cylinder key

Deadbolt~ n. a bolt, which requires a deliberate action to extend, and which resists end pressure in the unlocking direction when fully extended

Deadlock~ n. a lock which incorporates a deadbolt

Decode~ v. to determine a key combination by physical measurement of a key and/or cylinder parts

Dial~ 1. n. the typically rotatable member of a combination lock that may be used to differentiate locations on the combination wheels and cause operation of the lock, 2. v. the act of turning or rotating a dial

Digital dial~ n. a rotatable dial that causes a separate readable index, (typically digital), to change

Double cylinder deadlock~ n. a deadbolt lock whose bolt may be operated by a key from either side

Drill point~ n. the exact measurement of the location used to drill a locked up container to effect an opening

Drive-in~ adj. pertaining to a latch or bolt with a round face

Duplicate key~ n. any key reproduced from a pattern key

Electric strike~ n. an electro-mechanical strike, which secures or releases the latch via applied current

Exit alarm~ n. an annunciator that signals the opening of an exit door

Exit device~ n. a door lock/latch mechanism which releases in the direction of exit travel via a bar or panel extending across the major width of the door

Exit door~ n. 1. a door which has no provision for ingress, 2. a door which fills some or all the code requirement for safe egress of the occupant load from a building or portion of a building

Face cap~ n. a finished cover, that may retain a dust cover or serve as a plug retainer, affixed to the face of some lock cylinders

Face plate~ n. the finished, removable plate which covers the front of some locks

File cabinet lock~ n. 1. any lock used on a file cabinet 2. a plunger lock cylinder for a gang lock normally used in a file cabinet

Gang lock~ n. a locking mechanism with multiple bolts which locks different openings simultaneously by a single action

Garage door lock~ n. a rim lock mechanism designed for use on an overhead door, which mechanism has a spring loaded bolt which automatically locks the door’s bolt mechanism

Gate~ n. a notch cut into the edge of a tumbler to accept a fence or sidebar

Handed~ adj. pertaining to hardware which is manufactured only for application on doors with a specific orientation

Handleset~ n. a complete lock or latch assembly which incorporates a pitcher handle

Hasp~ n. a hinged metal strap designed to be passed over a staple and secured in place

Helmet lock~ n. auxiliary lock on motorcycles used to secure a helmet

High security key~ n. a key for a high security cylinder

Ignition key release~ n. a button or other actuator which must be pushed before a vehicle’s ignition key may be turned to the withdrawal position

Ignition lock~ n. the lock assembly associated with a vehicle’s engine on-off switch and starter

Individual key~ n. an operating key for a lock or cylinder which is not part of a keying system, see also “change key” #1

Key~ n. a properly combinated device which is, or most closely resembles, the device specifically intended by the lock manufacturer to operate the corresponding lock

Key cabinet~ n. a cabinet with hooks, velcro, or other means designed to store keys systematically

Key lock~ adj. pertaining to a device operated by a mechanical key, as opposed to combination, electonics, etc.

Key locking dial~ n. a combination lock dial which can be disabled by a keyed lock cylinder

Keyed~ adj. 1. combinated 2. having provision for operation by key

Keyed alike~ adj. of or pertaining to two or more looks or cylinders which have or are to have the same combination. They may or may not be part of a keying system

Keyed different~ adj. of or pertaining to a group of locks or cylinders, each of which is or is to be combinated differently from the others. They may or may not be part of a keying system.

Keyhole~ n. the opening through which a non-cylinder key must pass to enter a lock

Keyway~ n. 1. the opening in a lock or cylinder which is shaped to accept key bit or blade of a proper configuration 2. the exact cross sectional configuration of a keyway as viewed from the front. It is not necessarily the same as the key section.

L-Handle~ n. an L-shaped handle assembly which may be lockable

L-Handle lock~ n. a cabinet lock with an L-shaped handle

Latch~ 1. n. a mechanical or magnetic door fastener which can automatically keep a door, gate, etc., closed, 2. v. engagement of a latch when a door, gate, etc. is pushed or pulled closed

Latch guard~ n. a plate or combination of interlocking pieces designed to block access to the edge of a latch when the door is shut

Left hand~ adj. (man door)pertaining to an inward swinging door with hinges on the left side, using the outside of the door as reference

Lock~ n. any device which prevents access or use by requiring special knowledge or equipment

Lock bumping~ n. a picking technique that utilizes a configured key forcefully impacted into the keyway

Lockdown bar~ n. an assembly which permits a laptop computer to be used, opened, closed, but not removed from a premises, often secured by a padlock

Locked open~ adj. of or pertaining to a condition wherein the bolt(s) are engaged and lock(s) are not restricting access

Lockout~ n. any situation in which the normal operation of a lock or cylinder is prevented

Lockset~ n. a locking device, complete with trim, mounting hardware and strike

Locksmith~ n. a person with the knowledge and ability to select, install, service and bypass all the components of an electrical or mechanical lock

Manual dogging~ n. 1. an exit device that requires a physical action to dog it, v. 2. using a wrench or a special key to dog an exit device

Master key system~ n. 1. any keying arrangement which has two or more levels of keying 2. a keying arrangement which has exactly two levels of keying

Metal desk lock~ n. a cabinet lock with a vertically sliding bolt located at the rear of the cylinder

Mortise~ v. to prepare by removing stock material from the edge of a door, drawer, frame or opening to create a recess which allows the flush fit or insetting of relevant lock or other hardware, 2. n. the cavity prepared by mortising, 3. adj. of or pertaining to a locking device designed to fit in a mortise preparation

Mortise cylinder~ n. a threaded cylinder typically used in mortise locks of American manufacture

Mortise exit device~ n. an exit device designed for mortise installation

Mortise lockset~ n. a lockset the case of which is designed to fit in a mortise in the edge of a door or drawer

Night latch~ n. a rim mounted auxiliary latch bolt

Open face dial~ n. a combination lock actuator designed to have all the numbers visible at once

Operating key~ n. any key which will properly operate a lock or cylinder to lock or unlock the lock mechanism and is not a control key or reset key, see also “change key”

Override code~ n. in an electronic lock, a factory-set or user-set combination that will always open the lock

Override combination~ n. in certain locks with a user changeable combination, a second combination which allows access at all times. It is usually factory set and may not be field changeable.

Padlock~ n. a detachable and portable lock with a shackle which locks into its case

Passage set~ n. a latchset

Peep hole~ n. a small lens or opening which allows a limited view through a door

Pocket door~ n. a door which opens by sliding into a hollow wall

Power locks~ n. electrically or electro-pneumatically operated locks

Pull bump key~ n. a lock picking key that must be pulled from the lock one space position between impacts

Pull handle~ n. trim for gripping to apply pulling force to a door

Push button lock~ n. a self contained lock with controls that must be pressed in a specific pattern or sequence to open the lock

Rekey~ v. to change the existing combination of a cylinder or lock

Removable core~ n. a key removable core which can only be installed in one type of cylinder housing; e.g., rim cylinder or mortise cylinder or key-in-knob lock

Removable cylinder~ n. a cylinder which can be removed from a locking device by a key and/or tool

Repin~ v. to replace pin tumblers, with or without changing the existing combination

Reset code~ n. in an electronic lock, a factory-set or user-set code or combination that will restore all factory default settings except the current reset code and the audit trail

Restricted~ adj. of or pertaining to a keyway and corresponding key blank whose sale and/or distribution is limited by the lock manufacturer in order to reduce unauthorized key proliferation

Safe~ n. a substantial, secure container with varying degrees of security and/or fire resistance, used to store valuables against fire or theft

Safe door~ n. that portion of a safe used to gain access to the contents of the safe in a normal day to day manner

Screen door lock~ n. a lock designed for the thin stiles typically found on screen and storm doors

Shackle~ n. 1. the part of a padlock, which passes through an opening in an object or fits around an object and is ultimately locked into the case 2. the portion of a restraint which fits around the wrist, ankle, neck, waist or thumb

Shoulder~ n. a projection from a key that can be any key stop other than a tip stop, see also “bow stop”. Some shoulders on keys serve no functional purpose.

Showcase lock~ n. normally a ratchet lock or plunger lock used on bypassing doors

Sidebar~ n. a cylinder locking member mounted longitudinally in a plug, which engages multiple tumblers

Simple latch~ n. a non-deadlocking latch

Single cylinder~ adj. pertaining to a lock with key operation from only one side

Skeleton key~ n. any non-cylinder key whose bit, blade, and/or post is cut away enough to allow it to enter and turn in locks with different ward arrangements

Slider~ n. a tumbler which is normally flat, has a gate and moves with a linear or lateral motion instead of pivoting like a lever tumbler

Spring latch~ n. a latch operated under spring pressure, having no deadlatching feature

Switch lock~ n. 1. a lock which incorporates an electrical switch as an integral part of its construction 2. a large padlock designed for use on railroad switches

T-handle~ n. a T-shaped handle assembly which may be lockable

Template~ n. a pattern used to mark cutout locations for hardware installation

Throw~ n. the distance a bolt or latch projects from the faceplate or case of a lock in the extended position

Thumb latch~ n. a lock with a thumbpiece to actuate the latch

Thumb turn~ n. a actuator which can be turned by thumb and forefinger

Thumbpiece~ n. a generally flat, projecting latch actuator found above a grip handle and depressed by the thumb

Tolerance~ n. the deviation allowed from a given dimension

Touch pad~ n. 1. an exit device actuator with a paddle shape 2. a remote door opener activator, typically electric or electronic, which facilitates handicap access

Transponder key~ n. a key with an electronic component which can convert a radio signal into an electrical current enabling the key to transmit a unique code back in return

Trim~ n. exposed components of a lockset or latchset, which allow operation, enhance appearance or provide protection

Trunk lock~ n. 1. a hinged strap with a staple or a lock at the end that mates with a receptacle in the trunk, 2. a lock designed to secure the trunk of an automobile

Tubular key~ n. a key with a tubular blade. The key cuts are made into the end of the blade, around its circumference.

UL fire resistive container classifications

Class 125~ n. a group of UL classifications for containers that maintain inside temperatures less than 125 degrees Fahrenheit when exposed to a fire of specific temperature and duration. The times and fire temperatures are:

½ hour 1700 degrees F.

1 hour 1700 degrees F.

2 hour 1850 degrees F.

3 hour 1925 degrees F.

4 hour 2000 degrees F.

Class 150~ n. a group of UL classifications for containers that maintain inside temperatures less than 150 degrees Fahrenheit when exposed to a fire of specific temperature and duration. The times and fire temperatures are:

½ hour 1700 degrees F.

1 hour 1700 degrees F.

2 hour 1850 degrees F.

3 hour 1925 degrees F.

4 hour 2000 degrees F.

Class 350~ n. a group of UL classifications for containers that maintain inside temperatures less than 350 degrees Fahrenheit when exposed to a fire of specific temperature and duration. The times and fire temperatures are:

½ hour 1700 degrees F.

1 hour 1700 degrees F.

2 hour 1850 degrees F.

3 hour 1925 degrees F.

4 hour 2000 degrees F.

UL listed~ adj. listed in a directory as having passed specific Underwriters Laboratories testing

Valet key~ n. an automotive key that operates all locks except storage compartments, on a vehicle where there is also a master key to operate all locks

VATS~ abb. Vehicle Anti-Theft System

VATS key~ n. a key for some General Motors vehicles which contains a resistor chip that must be qualified by the vehicle in order to run

Vault~ n. a secure room in which objects of value are stored

Vehicle Anti-Theft System~ n. an electronic system in some General Motors vehicles which uses a resistor pellet of varying value imbedded in a mechanical ignition key

Walk-in vault~ n. a vault with a man door and open floor space inside

Wall safe~ n. a safe installed in a wall so that only the door and a frame is visible