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Pin-Tumbler Locks
Pin-tumbler locks were invented in the mid 1800s by Linus Yale. By 1900, when the automobile began making serious inroads, pin-tumbler locks were being made by the major lock manufacturers, including Yale & Towne, Sargent, Corbin, Russwin, and Eagle. All of these companies were involved to some extent in supplying pin-tumbler locks to the automobile industry. However, only one company, Yale, maintained the commitment.

Pin-tumbler locks were relatively expensive to make, requiring a lot of machining. Perhaps it was this added cost which convinced the electric companies to supply their own locking devices for their switches.

Lever Locks
Because of their particular characteristics, lever locks seemed ill-suited for automobile use, although there were several instances of lever locks used in automobiles.

Warded Locks
Of all the different types of locks, warded locks have probably been around the longest. They are one of the simplest locks, requiring only some type of obstruction (ward) be placed inside the lock. A cut placed in the key of just a sufficient size to clear the ward, allows the key to turn to its completion, unlocking the lock. The simplicity of the lock makes it the least expensive. It is also the least secure.

The First Real Locks for Antique Cars

Beyond the Pseudo Locks of the Electric Companies