Joseph Bramah and his lock


Joseph Bramah is a central figure in early Victorian lockmaking and manufacturing, having influenced almost every mechanical trade of the time. Like Henry Ford, his influence was probably greater for the manufacturing processes he developed, than the product itself.

Bramah locks and keys are of extremely simple and trouble free design, and have been manufactured since 1784.

Bramah cabinet lock

Bramah still manufacture a range of new locks from safe locks to padlocks and replacement cylinders for the typical UK rim lock. My lock is a cabinet lock. I've no immediate use for it, but as a hobbyist furniture maker, I plan to make a suitable piece for it.

For a sophisticated mechanism, the lock is tiny. The visible part of the escutcheon is slightly over 3/4" diameter.

Bramah cabinet lock - face view

The mechanism is best described as a 'lever' version of the common pin tumbler tubular lock. The 7 flat sliders are just visible in this image, each one fitting a groove in the end of the key, machined to varying depths. The sliders may have false notches added to make picking even harder, or multiple notches to permit masterkeying.

Bramah key

The key is extremely simple, although the lock's tolerances are so fine that it requires protection from dirt and is supplied with a cover.

Bramah company trademark

Joseph Bramah's signature is still the trademark of the Bramah company.

More Bramah information may be found at the Antique Locks site.

Bramah may be contacted at the following address.
(I have no connection with them, merely as a customer)

Bramah Security Equipment Ltd
31, Oldbury Place,

Telephone: +44 020 7486 1739