Linus Yale, Jr.

Date Of Birth:
4 April 1821
Date Of Death:
25 December 1868
heart attack
Place Of Birth:
Salisbury, New York
Best Known As:
The inventor of the cylinder lock

Linus Yale, Jr. invented many different kinds of locks, but it's his cylinder lock that became a household standard. His father was an inventor and locksmith in New York, but Yale began his career as a painter of portraits and landscapes. By the time he was thirty, he'd changed careers and began making locks, surpassing his father's inventions and gaining notoriety for his ability to pick the best locks of the time. In 1851 Yale patented the time lock, and during the 1850s his best customers were banks. He took the ancient Egyptian idea of pin tumblers and invented the cylinder lock in 1861; its great advantage was that it didn't a need large, heavy key (Yale's locks also became the first mass-produced product where each item was unidentical). After working in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, Yale partnered with Henry R. Towne and set up the Yale Lock Manufacturing Company in Connecticut in 1868. The company opened in October of that year, and Yale died of a heart attack two months later, at the age of 47.

Extra Credit

Linus Yale, Jr.’s early locks had names such as “Infallible” and “Magic” and “Double Treasury.”… His daughter was Madeline Yale Wynne, author of the short story “The Little Room.”

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