World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Mortise lock

Article Id: WHEBN0000903532
Reproduction Date:

Title: Mortise lock  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Berlin key, Interchangeable core, Lever tumbler lock, Eli Whitney Blake, Coffin lock
Collection: Door Furniture, Locks (Security Device)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Mortise lock

The two main parts of a mortise lock. Left: the lock body, installed in the thickness of a door. This one has two bolts: a sprung latch at the top, and a locking bolt at the bottom. Right: the box keep, installed in the doorjamb.

A mortise lock (mortice lock in British English) is a lock that requires a pocket—the mortise—to be cut into the door or piece of furniture into which the lock is to be fitted. In most parts of the world, mortise locks are found on older buildings constructed before the advent of bored cylindrical locks, but they have recently become more common in commercial and upmarket residential construction in the United States. They are widely used in domestic properties of all ages in Europe.

The purpose of a mortise lock is to act as a combination of locks. It is dual-action, meaning that it acts as a door knob and a deadbolt.


  • Mechanism 1
  • Installation 2
  • Mortise lock standards 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Mortice locks may include a non-locking sprung latch operated by a door handle. Such a lock is termed a sash lock. A simpler form without a handle or latch is termed a 'dead lock'.[1] Dead locks are commonly used as a secure backup to a sprung non-deadlocking latch, usually a pin tumbler rim lock.[note 1]

Mortice locks have historically, and still commonly do, use lever locks as a mechanism. Older locks may have used warded locks. This has led to a popular confusion between the two; the term 'mortice lock' is widely known and used, but usually in reference to lever keys. In recent years the Euro cylinder lock has become common, using a pin tumbler lock in a mortice housing.

The parts included in the typical US mortise lock installation are the lock body (the part installed inside the mortise cut-out in the door); the lock trim (which may be selected from any number of designs of doorknobs, levers, handle sets and pulls); a strike plate, or a box keep, which lines the hole in the frame into which the bolt fits; and the keyed cylinder which operates the locking/unlocking function of the lock body. However, in the United Kingdom, and most other countries, mortise locks on dwellings do not use cylinders, but have lever mechanisms.


The installation of a mortise lock cannot generally be undertaken by the average homeowner since it is labor-intensive and requires a working knowledge of basic woodworking tools and methods. Many installation specialists use a mortising jig which makes precise cutting of the pocket a simple operation, but the subsequent installation of the external trim can still prove problematic if the installer is inexperienced.

Although the installation of a mortise lock actually weakens the structure of the typical timber door, it is stronger and more versatile than a bored cylindrical lock, both in external trim, and functionality. Whereas the latter mechanism lacks the architecture required for ornate and solid-cast knobs and levers, the mortise lock can accommodate a heavier return spring and a more solid internal mechanism, making its use possible. Furthermore, a mortise lock typically accepts a wide range of other manufacturers' cylinders and accessories, allowing architectural conformity with lock hardware already on site.

Some of the most common manufacturers of mortise locks in the United States are Accurate, Arrow, Baldwin, Best, Corbin Russwin, Emtek, Falcon, Penn, Schlage, Sargent and Yale Town & Lock. Also, many European manufacturers whose products had been restricted to "designer" installations have recently gained wider acceptance and use.

Mortise lock standards

There are several different standards for mortice locks in use. The most common are:

British Standard (small)
Faceplate length: 152.5mm (6 inches)
Backset:44.5mm (1¾ inches)
C/C(lever lock): 57mm (2¼ inches).
C/C(bathroom mortise lock): 57mm(2¼ inches).
Used in internal doors.
British standard (large), BS3621[2]
Faceplate length: 176mm (7 inches).
Backset: 57mm (2¼ inches).
C/C(lever lock): 57mm (2¼ inches).
C/C(cylinder lock): 45mm (≈ 1¾ inches).
Used in entrance doors.
Note: Many insurance policies require homes to install a BS3621 lock because its 5 lever deadbolt is believed to provide increased security.[3]
American standard, ANSI A156.13, ML9000-series
Faceplate length: 203mm (8 inches).
Backset: 70mm (2¾ inches) .
Used in entrance doors.
Scandinavian standard (small), SS 817382, 20-series
Faceplate length: 150mm.
Backset: 45mm.
C/C(lever lock): 72mm.
C/C(bathroom mortise lock): 72mm.
C/C(cylinder lock): 68mm.
Used in internal doors.
Scandinavian standard (large), SS 817383, Modular Lock
Faceplate length: 225mm.
Backset: 50mm.
C/C(cylinder lock): 103.5mm/105mm.
C/C(lever lock): 104mm
Used in entrance doors.
German standard, DIN 18 251
Faceplate length: 235mm.
Backset: 55mm.
C/C(lever lock): 72mm.
C/C(cylinder lock): 72mm.
C/C(bathroom mortise lock): 78mm.
Used in entrance doors and internal doors.
Italian standard
Faceplate length: 240mm.
Backset: 35mm/40mm/50mm/55mm.
C/C(lever lock): 92mm.
C/C(cylinder lock): 85mm
C/C(bathroom mortise lock): 92mm.
Used in entrance doors and internal doors.
Older standards
These standards are no longer in use in new doors, but replacement locks are still being made.
Norwegian standard (large)
Faceplate length: 210mm.
Backset: 60mm(lever lock)/55mm(cylinder lock).
C/C(lever lock): 72mm.
C/C(cylinder lock): 95.5mm.
C/C(bathroom mortise lock): 72mm.
Norwegian standard (small), 22-series
Faceplate length: 157mm.
Backset: 55mm.
C/C(lever lock): 72mm.
C/C(bathroom mortise lock): 72mm.
C/C(cylinder lock): 68mm.
Swedish standard (small)
Faceplate length: 215mm(earlier)/205mm(later).
Backset: 45mm.
C/C(lever lock): 72mm.
Danish standard
Faceplate length: 230mm.
Backset: 57mm(lever lock)/60mm(cylinder lock).
C/C(lever lock): 72mm.
C/C(cylinder lock): 72mm.


  1. ^ The type commonly called a 'Yale' lock.


  1. ^ How to choose the right lock type
  2. ^ What is BS3621, BS8621, BS10621?
  3. ^ An overview of mechanical lock and security related standards and why they’re important to the Insurance Industry
  • Peter Brett. Carpentry and Joinery Nelson Thornes, 2004.

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.