Our History

Yale History Padlock


Yale has its roots in colonial America. The Yale family decided to emigrate to the New World from North Wales. A few generations later, about 1840, Linus Yale Sr., began designing and manufacturing a series of innovative, high security locks at his Yale Lock Shop in Newport, New York. He specialized in expensive, handmade bank locks.

Pioneer innovation

Linus Yale Sr.'s son joined his father in the business in 1850 and perfected and patented his father's pin tumbler cylinder lock and became the considered locking expert of his time. In 1862, Yale Jr. introduced the Monitor Bank Lock, marking the transition in bank locks from key locks to dial or combination locks. The principles, embodied in his Monitor Lock, are now standard in combination locks throughout the USA.

Yale Jr.

Yale Jr. was also experimenting with a lock based on a mechanism first employed by the ancient Egyptians over 4,000 years ago. Granted patents in 1861 and 1865, Yale finally succeeded in creating his most important invention – the Yale cylinder lock. Linus Yale Jr. transformed the locking industry forever with his many breakthrough inventions.

Worldwide expansion

Relying on Yale patents, Yale’s sterling name and sheer ingenuity, Yale Jr. and his colleague Henry Towne established the Yale & Towne company in 1868, at the time employing 35 people.

The company grew and broadened its scope with manually operated chain hoists, battery powered platform trucks and in 1879 a line of padlocks was introduced. Yale & Towne purchased Norton door closer company and H. and T. Vaughan Ltd.

In the early 20th century, the company expanded worldwide and employed more than 12,000 people. Throughout the 20th century, purchases, acquisitions and joint ventures have made Yale locks well-known worldwide.

In August 2000 Yale was purchased by ASSA ABLOY, and has since then been an important part of the global leader in door opening solutions.

Supporting victims of crime

Since 2010, Yale has been a proud partner of independent charity Victim Support. The 40 year old charity supports victims and witnesses of crime across England & Wales.

Yale has raised thousands to support the hard work of this charity through such activities as climbing Mount Snowdon in Wales, raffling off two England World Cup Squad Shirts signed by the entire national team, and donating a percentage of its online profits made during European Victims Week to Victim Support.

Patents by Linus Yale, Sr, from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

20 Oct 1843 Pat. #3,312 combination lock - Springfield, MA (with C. Wilson)
13 June 1844 Pat. #3,630 pin tumbler safe lock - Springfield, MA
13 Feb 1849 Pat. #6,111 safe - Newport, NY
18 Oct 1853 Pat. #10,144 a bank lock - Newport, NY
28 Feb 1854 Pat. #10,584 a bank lock - Newport, NY
22 May 1855 Pat. #12,932 a bank lock - Newport, NY
5 Aug 1856 Pat. #15,500 vault and safe door bolt - Newport, NY
8 Sept 1857 Pat. #18,169 padlock - Newport, NY