For rekeying locks, how can one tell what brand the locks are?

As far as I can tell there are no indications on the outside of the locks and I haven't taken them apart yet to check inside. Any tricks to this? The locks I'm interested in look pretty generic and are likely fairly old (though still working well) so it may be a lost cause and I'd need to pull them out and replace them or bring to a locksmith.

Here's one lock I'm interested in. Exterior, side, and interior view: Door 1 exterior Door 1 side Door 1 interior

And another, also exterior-side-interior views: Door 2 exterior Door 2 side Door 2 interior

  • 1
    The key shape is a good indicator. Regardless, your locksmith will likely know on sight. – isherwood Oct 5 '17 at 21:20
  • i would highly recommend replacing the lock in #2/3 with one that is keyed on both sides, since it's easy to break the glass and reach the knob. you can leave the interior key in when home for faster fire egress. a spare key under the inside doormat is a good idea, again in case of a fire and a missing key... – dandavis Oct 7 '17 at 11:06
  • @dandavis -- using a breakage-resistant glass in the door is probably a better bet. – ThreePhaseEel Oct 8 '17 at 3:32

Take that last photo to a locksmith to be sure, but my money's on a Kwikset-compatible keyway

The last photo you provide (head-on shot of the outside, with the keyway clearly visible) tells me that whoever actually made the lock is probably irrelevant -- the keyway strongly resembles one of the de facto standard Kwikset keyways that are used on low-end door locks across the USA. (It can't be a Schlage due to the "squared" shape of the upper warding piece, and it can't be a Yale either because of the lack of a "tail" at the top of the keyway. The warding is also not nearly paracentric (across the middle of the keyway) enough to be found on a higher-end lock -- even Schlages are a fair bit this way, never mind an Abus or some other European make.)

Of course, IANAL (I am not a locksmith), so if you want to be sure, take that last photo and your keys to your friendly local locksmith and they'll be able to tell you far more confidently than I can what you've got. They almost certainly will be able to rekey a Kwikset-compatible lock as well, as they're compatible with most "generic" lock pins out there.

  • Thanks. It sounds like keys are very useful in IDing a lock for rekeying? I thought I'd need to either bring the entire lock to a locksmith, or an entire locksmith to the lock to get it done! Much easier to tap into a locksmith's expertise if a key could be enough to start. – cr0 Oct 5 '17 at 23:42
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    @cr0 -- the key and keyway (shape of the key-shaped hole in the lock :) are the most important factors re: IDing what can be done with a lock, AIUI – ThreePhaseEel Oct 5 '17 at 23:53
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    most kwikset keys/dupes are pentagon shaped on the handle; like a "school house". yale is rounded, medeco is square, and schlage are stepped diamonds. exceptions apply aplenty. – dandavis Oct 7 '17 at 10:55

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