Try Opening Antique Locks Before Calling a Locksmith in Fairfax, VAMarch 24, 2019 5:50 pm Leave your thoughts
We all know someone with an old vintage steamer trunk in their house that’s locked up tight just because the keys have disappeared—maybe that person is you! Luckily, depending on the type of lock on your antique trunk, you might be able to open it yourself. Read on for an overview of the two most common types of vintage trunk locks from a locksmith in Fairfax, VA.
Take a look at the history of padlock security and you will come across the warded lock design. This is the kind of antique lock you can picture a stereotypical old key unlocking, but the warded lock keyway and key are often confused for components of a lever lock. It was often much easier to make warded locks for steamer trunks, so it’s highly unlikely you’ll see a lever lock design on an antique trunk.
Warded locks may look complicated, but they’re not. This type of lock’s locking mechanism is not very complex—you might try unlocking it yourself before calling a professional for help. Here are some tips:
- Identify a warded lock: Keys for warded locks have very defined rectangular grooves and a rounded shaft, and are usually flat. The keyways (keyholes) on warded locks have a lot of open space inside. Take a look inside the keyhole and you will not see wafers, pins or any mechanisms.
- Open a warded lock: Special warded lock picks are designed to pick open the locking mechanism on your antique steamer trunk’s warded lock (note that warded padlocks will need a skeleton key). The good news is that the notches on warded keys only exist to keep the key from slipping past the interior wards, so there’s room to maneuver inside the keyway. All it should take are a few twists here and there to pop open the lock.
Pin tumbler locks
The majority of antique trunks will not have a pin tumbler design, but that’s not to say yours doesn’t. There are a couple reasons why your trunk might have this type of lock. First, you might actually own a more modern steamer trunk that’s simply meant to resemble an antique trunk. Another possibility is that the chest itself is old, but the original hardware has been replaced. Even though the pin tumbler lock design is going to be more difficult to open than a warded lock, the unlocking process is not too complicated for a professional locksmith:
- Identify a pin tumbler lock: This type of trunk lock is most likely a padlock. Keys for pin tumbler locks have dips and grooves down the blade all the way to the shoulder of the key. This design keeps the key from being inserted too far inside the keyhole. If you want to see the pins inside, shine a light directly into the keyway and take a look.
- Open a pin tumbler lock: Unless you know the basics of lock picking, opening this lock may be impossible. Your best chance at unlocking an antique trunk with a pin tumbler lock and not causing damage is to hire a locksmith in Fairfax, VA to do the job.
Have you run into trouble with your antique lock? No lock is too much for Artie’s Lock and Key. Call us today for the help you need!
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