Lock Identification (continued)

Yesterday we considered how the locks on a typical, tradition, wooden door might be described.

A typical modern composite or PVC-U door, on the other hand, will be a little different. It is highly likely that it will have a multi-point locking system. When you look at the door edge, you will almost certainly see a “strip” of metal running all the way from the very top to the very bottom of the door. Indeed, if your locksmith looks at a troublesome door and executes a sharp intake of breath, this will likely be accompanied by the words, “I’m afraid you need a new strip.” And afraid is the operative word. A new strip will probably cost more that a traditional latch lock and deadlock combined. But I mustn’t get started on the stupidity of multi-point locking systems (they are covered elsewhere in the blog).

Now, how do you describe such a lock when you call the locksmith? You say that you have a multi-point locking system (MPL). And, you say what kind of cylinder you have. 95% of MPLs are cylinder operated. When you look closely at the thing your key enters you see that it goes right the way through the door; from one side to the other, and looks the same shape from both ends. This, like yesterday’s typical rim cylinder, is a discrete unit. 80% of these profile cylinders that operate an MPL will be the ones termed a euro. Looked at square on – as though you were an approaching key – a “Euro” has a profile resembling a head and neck, or some might see it as an upside-down exclamation mark, or maybe a pear shape. (Your cylinder may be operated by keys at both ends, which is typical for front doors with glass; it may be that it is operated by a key at one end and a turn on the inside, which is safer on solid doors in the case of a fire.)

Euro profile cylinder

A “euro” profile cylinder

Alternatively you might number amongst the 15% of MPLs that are operated by an ovalcylinders. It will be – uh – oval. It will be top-bottom symmetric as well as left-right symmetric.

An “oval” profile cylinder

So, maybe you are one of the rare 5% whose MPL key is a traditional key that disappears into a tradition keyhole-shaped keyhole you would describe your setup as a lever-operated multi-point locking system. Most likely is that it’s an ERA Vectis.

A lever-operated MPL

But a few more of you will say you have a multi-point locking system with an oval cylinder. The majority of you will say you have a multi-point locking system with a euro cylinder.

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2 comments on “Lock Identification (continued)
  1. Odilon says:

    I see the ERA Vectis coming up on your blog – what do you think of this lock. It seems good, being 5-point and MPL, and the company makes all sorts of nice-sounding claims, but I wonder what a working locksmith thinks of it.


    • The Locksmith says:

      A lot of locksmiths don’t fit ERA as a matter of policy. I use a few of their products, but agree that, of late, most are very poor quality. I use their cylinders when updating ERA locks for customers. As long as you’re careful with the fitting, their auto-deadlocking rim latch locks are good. They made some really useful door frame bars – which they discontinued!

      The Vectis is interesting. There are many, many faults with the “euro” profile cylinder used in most multi-point locking strips, so operating an MPL with a lever lock mechanism is, on the face of it, a very good option to have. However, the feedback from other locksmiths is, as usual, that the build quality is too poor.

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