Fix or replace an antique lock?

corbin antique door locksOtis emails:

Our house was built in 1880 and has a Corbin lock on the front door. The cast iron box that fits inside the door has some broken sections so it's no longer functional. Our locksmith says that there were many different Corbin locks and it's almost impossible to find a match in a working lock... but the alternative is to get rid of all our antique hardware and replace it with a modern lockset. So naturally I want to try finding a replacement.

We weren't familiar with Corbin locks, so we did a little poking around on Flickr -- and some of the examples that turned up are beauties. We can understand the desire to either fix or replace it with something similar, especially on a Victorian-style or other older home.

So, have a suggestion for where Otis can find someone to either fix this lock -- or, more likely, a place that might sell a similar replacement? Maybe someplace that specializes in working on older homes? Please share.

image via Wikipedia


hmm..I'd be surprised if you couldn't track down some replacement parts or even the lock mechanism on ebay...?

This forum seemed to offer a good bit of advice:

Full disclosure: I work for Historic Albany Foundation's Architectural Parts Warehouse. That said, we do have mortise locks and some loose parts. It is however a very tedious task to find a match given the sheer number of lock manufacturers and models, your best bet would be to bring in the lock itself and spend an afternoon trying to find a match. If we don't have a specific lock set I often refer people to Wm J. Rigby Co. in Cooperstown

Dan, I was the guy who was in the shop buying the lock at about the time you were writing your post. I found my lock! Don't know whether it works or not, and I now realize I have to measure and come back and find a cylinder, but I've solved the one problem which was that the plate that holds the cylinder was broken, rendering it unusable.


I want to follow up with the happy ending: I did work with Bill Rigby in Cooperstown and ended up with a fully functional 1880s era lock set that used the Corbin lock I got from Dan and cylinder and other critical spare parts from Rigby. Bill was great and his prices were fair for the work and quality.... and considerably less than my local locksmith wanted to charge to rip out the old lock and replace with an ornate "Victorian" made in China. I am one happy Victorian camper!

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