Locks and Mechanisms

Turner Patent Lock

The Turner Patent lock, initially patented in 1798, can be disassembled into the following parts: READ MORE

Secret Compartments and Mechanisms

For centuries, secret compartments have been built into boxes and cabinets to hide their owner’s most valuable possessions, gold coins or private documentation. It wasn’t until the start of the 19th century that the inclusion of these secret, concealed compartments and mechanisms became more of an art form and a true symbol of a box maker’s ability and ingenuity. READ MORE

Chubb Detector Lock

After counterfeit keys were used to commit a burglary at Portsmouth Dockyard in 1817, the British government issued a competition to create a lock that could only be opened using its own key. In response, Jeremiah Chubb designed the Chubb Detector lock, the principle of which was first patented in 1818. READ MORE

Leuchars Patent Bramah Lock

The Leuchars Patent Bramah lock was inspired by the same thought processes that created the Asprey Patent Bramah lock; to have a lock that could counteract the forgetfulness of its owner by not only automatically locking itself, but also allowing the box to be opened even if the key has been misplaced. READ MORE

Bramah Locks

The complete Bramah lock can be disassembled into the following parts: READ MORE

George Davis Patent Lock

Based in Windsor, Berkshire, the lock maker, George Davis patented his ‘Double Chambered’ lock in 1799. READ MORE

Betjemann Patent Mechanisms

From 1859, based at 36, 38 & 40 Pentonville Road, London, George Betjemann and his two sons, George William Betjemann and John Betjemann, started to take the art of cabinet and box making to new creative heights. Under the business name of George Betjemann & Sons, they began to patent their innovative designs and mechanisms, and specific to boxes, there were two particularly impressive types of patented design. READ MORE

Antique Locks

With some antique boxes not only holding their own expensive original fittings, but also other valuables and articles or documents of privacy, it was fundamentally necessary for locks to be fitted. These locks could be simple single lever locks all the way to complex multi-levered varieties or Bramah cylinder locks. READ MORE

Spring-Loaded Mechanisms

The spring-loaded action is where an object or mechanism is held tightly against a spring, but is initially ‘locked’ into position. Once ‘unlocked’, the object or mechanism is propelled out by the natural action of the spring. READ MORE

Asprey Patent Bramah Lock

Asprey Patent locks were essentially Bramah locks that had been customised using Asprey’s own patented design. A normal box lock would simply be left in the unlocked position unless it was manually locked with a key. This meant that a forgetful, or over-trusting owner could easily leave the box unprotected and vulnerable. To try and combat this issue, some Bramah locks were modified by using a spring-loaded self-locking mechanism that automatically locks the box when the lid is closed.  READ MORE