From the Locksmith Dictionary;

a lockset, the case of which is designed to fit in a mortise in the edge of a door or drawer

A mortise is basically a one ended hole that isnít round. Current day mortise locks have a design that goes back to the 1878 patent for the pin tumbler mortise cylinder.  Mortise locks are expensive and expensive to install because they require special equipment and more time.

Mortise locks are typically better quality than other types of lock that fall into the Bored Lock category and most would carry a Grade 1 rating.

They have an additional ability to be fit to doors of widely varying thickness simply by obtaining a different length cylinder.  Some manufacturers offer cylinders of any length as a special order item and a 2Ē length is not unusual to find in a catalog.

Mortise locks were also popular in the US with mechanisms other than a pin tumbler cylinder in them.  The mortise lock on your own door may have a lever mechanism or it is also possible that it is a simple warded lock.

The internal construction of a mortise lock is typically complex and does not lend itself to ease of service for the DIY person.   We suggest you call a competent locksmith for service instead of ending up having to take him a bag of parts to be reassembled.   Note also that some mortise locks have extremely strong springs in them that can actually fly across a room if not removed properly.

Locksmiths have an understanding that most lock parts seem to be designed to blend into whatever surface they land upon.   When it comes to mortise locks, fabrication of a missing part that is essential to its operation can be very costly.

 

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