Page 101, from the limited edition book, "Early Locks and Lockmakers of America," by Thomas F. Hennessy.

Page 101, from the limited edition book, “Early Locks and Lockmakers of America,” by Thomas F. Hennessy.

 

Walter Reinhold Schlage was a German-born inventor and founder of the global lock company that bears his name.

Walter Schlage’s best-known invention, patented in 1926, was a lock, enclosed in a cylindrical case, interlocked with a cylindrical latch unit, featuring a push-button mechanism that gave the world a new concept of lock construction. His button-in-the-knob principle, which permitted the outside knob of a door lock to be locked in a positive and convenient way, yet readily unlocked by the natural movement of turning the inside knob, was new and revolutionary to the lock industry.

It is interesting to note that before Walter Schlage opened his own company in San Francisco, he was employed by Western Electric Company. Schlage would work at his job, and then return home where he experimented with lock mechanisms. His first patent was in 1909 for a door lock that turned lights on and off.

He left Western Electric in 1920. In 1921, he opened the first Schlage lock shop, where he designed and tooled the parts for the first lock with the push-button centered in the doorknob. His company was expanded to manufacture bored cylindrical locks, but he constantly added attractive new designs and earned acclaim for high standards of quality.

Walter Schlage died in 1946, but Schlage Lock continued to prosper, both through the introduction of new security products and the acquisition of other door hardware companies. It became a subsidiary of Ingersoll Rand in 1974. On December 1, 2013, Schlage Lock, and 22 other commercial and residential security businesses separated from IR and formed a new company, called Allegion. Allegion owns Schlage to this very day.

I find it intriguing that one of Schlage’s new business partners, Nexia™, makes a home automation security system, that can “trigger the lights to turn on when a door is unlocked so you never have to walk into a dark home.” Walter Schlage’s 1909 patented concept, powered with new technology! If you have any additional information or questions about Schlage, please reach out to us online.

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The photo above is from a small book in Gene Anderson’s private collection called, “Early Locks and Lockmakers of America,” by Thomas F. Hennessy, published in 1976 by Nickerson & Collins Publishing Co., Locksmith Ledger Division, Des Plaines, IL. [Click photo to enlarge.)