Cast Iron Antique Locks, Latches & Keys

Cast Iron Antique Locks Keys

Cast iron is a sturdy and easily molded metal, so it was frequently used in ancient times to make household goods such as cast iron skillets, beds, and keys. Even after the wood surrounding the locks have decayed with time, the durable iron hardware still remains. The unique shapes and intricate design of vintage keys and locks makes them an excellent object for crafts, antique collections, or lock enthusiasts.

What is a skeleton key?

Many of the cast iron keys that are sold are actually skeleton keys. This is a special item also called a "master key." It can be used to open more than one door, but keep in mind that it will not open every antique lock you find. This type of key typically works for a set of keyholes designed to be opened by the same skeleton key, so they are frequently found in collections of locks from the same home. They get their name from the hollow shape at the top of the item.

How do you clean a cast iron key?

Cast iron can rust or corrode just like any other type of iron, so you may want to clean your items. To handle the cast iron properly and remove debris without damaging the keys, follow these tips.

  • Create a cleaning paste: Blend together the juice of a few lemons with enough baking soda to make a thick paste.
  • Soak keys in mixture: Put the antique cast iron items into the mixture and let them soak for 5 to 20 minutes.
  • Scrub off debris: Use a stiff brush to scrub away rust or other debris.
  • Rinse and dry thoroughly: Rinse all remaining baking soda off with hot water and dry with a towel.
  • Apply polish or oil: If desired, rub a little oil into the cast iron to make it shine and prevent further rusting.
How do you install a vintage lock set?

If you want to use antique hardware in your home, you can install an antique set on a door, desk, or cabinet. To do this, you can get help from a contractor or install it yourself. The following instructions may help you understand the process:

  • Make sure the items still work: Try out the set you have to make sure the parts are in good working order before you begin.
  • Trace the outline: Situate the set on the door you want to install them into and trace around the mortise.
  • Cut out the hole: Use a jigsaw or other tool to create a hole in the door where the mortise can fit.
  • Set the lock in the door: Gently fit the antique mortise into the pocket you created.
  • Attach the lock: Depending on the style you have, you may need to secure it with screws or other hardware.