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What is a Mortise Lockset?

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A mortise lock (mortice lock in Europe), is a type of lock that is fitted into a pocket cavity or mortise inside the door or piece of furniture. Mortise locks have been around for more than a century. All over the world they can be found in old buildings that were designed and built before the invention of the cylindrical lock. More recently mortise locks have become popular in the USA in upscale residential construction. Mortise locks can be used on exterior and interior doors as well as wooden furniture. Mortise locks come in brass, aluminum, iron, steel and bronze to suit you taste.

A mortise lock has three main parts:

The lock’s body – this is the part of the lock that is installed inside the cut-out hole in the door.

The lock’s trim – this is the part that incorporates the levers and knobs and comes in a variety of designs.

The lock’s strike plate – this is the part into which the bolts slide when locked.

The lock’s keyed cylinder – this operated the locking mechanism.Mortise locks are not easy to install and you will generally need the assistance of a locksmith or someone will carpentry skills as special tools are required to cut out the hole for the lock, such as a mortising jig. This tool makes a very precise pocket hole for the lock to fit securely into.

Mortise locks are the most popularly used door locks today. They are heavy and durable which means that even though they fit into a door pocket, they do not decrease the integrity of your door and can take on a heavier payload in terms of door weight than some other locks.

Some of the best known manufacturers of mortise locks in the United States include Schlage, Baldwin, Corbin Russwin, Falcon and Arrow.

Vintage mortise locks designed before 1940 are becoming highly sought after. Some of them have very elaborate designs and they can still be used today although because the knobs and spindles were often made by different manufactures they may not all be interchangeable.

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