Don't forget your keys.



  • So this weekend I was visiting a relative. Although there were a lot of strange things about the odd little house they had, one of them took the cake.

    At one point I needed to run outside to get something from our car. I went to the front door, and tried to open it, but it was locked. I looked for the latch on the handle, and there was none. I looked for the latch on the deadbolt, and there was none... just a keyhole. Luckily the owner of the house wasn't out running errands, as there was only one key around.

    I know these kinds of locks exist for a reason (small children, front window proximity), but geez... imagine being trapped in your house if something were to happen. It certainly seems like a potential deathtrap.



  • My grandparents had a lock like this in their rowhome downtown. They usually kept a key permanently fixed in the lock, and would just lock/unlock it as necessary. Not that I'm endorsing this behavior, but the lock was in close enough proximity to a window that I suppose they were hoping that someone wouldn't just break the (smallish) window and reach around to unlock the door.

    Why they've installed locks like this in their newer house, which doesn't have a main entrance window within 50 feet of the door, however, is beyond me.
     



  • I've just moved to Europe, and have noticed the same thing here.  It scares me just a bit.  Another thing I've noticed here - all the locks (including those on internal doors, eg toilet) have 3 positions: unlocked, locked and really locked.  That seems odd to me...



  • The double barrel deadlocks are more secure.



  • @Mel said:

    I've just moved to Europe, and have noticed the same thing here.  It scares me just a bit.  Another thing I've noticed here - all the locks (including those on internal doors, eg toilet) have 3 positions: unlocked, locked and really locked.  That seems odd to me...

    Dude.

    "Europe" is not a country.

    I don't know of any indoor locks that have a semi-locked state. Front doors usually do have that double-turn lock where you have to rotate the key twice to "really" lock it. I don't really get that. Toilets in the Netherlands have the usual 90 degree turn lock.



  • I recently bought and then renovated a cheap house.  New door lock purchased came with 4 keys, one of which was already in the deadbolt lock.  Upon installing I discovered I could no longer remove the key from the inside, but it still worked, etc.  My initial inclination was WTF - stupid key!  Then I thought about where the docket was, removing the damn lock, etc, etc...  But I quickly came to see it as a feature for the exact WTF you described :)



  • why not just go for russian nuclear sub technique... where both have to mutally turn the key at the same time....

     

     Like from Seinfeld...

    "Turn your key Laura! Turn your key!!" 



  • @dhromed said:

    @Mel said:

    I've just moved to Europe, and have noticed the same thing here.  It scares me just a bit.  Another thing I've noticed here - all the locks (including those on internal doors, eg toilet) have 3 positions: unlocked, locked and really locked.  That seems odd to me...

    Dude.

    "Europe" is not a country.

    I don't know of any indoor locks that have a semi-locked state. Front doors usually do have that double-turn lock where you have to rotate the key twice to "really" lock it. I don't really get that. Toilets in the Netherlands have the usual 90 degree turn lock.

    Dude.

    I know "Europe" isn't a country.  It's just easier to type than "Czech Republic".  And I've seen similar locks in Germany.  The indoor locks I mean are ones (in houses, not public toilets) that use a key - where I'm living now there's one in most of the doors (bedrooms, toilet, cellar, attic etc).
     



  • Our house is just like the OP described, but I never thought it was weird. We always have atleast 2 sets of spare keys in a drawer near the door anyway.



  • @MrYates said:

    I recently bought and then renovated a cheap house.  New door lock purchased came with 4 keys, one of which was already in the deadbolt lock.  Upon installing I discovered I could no longer remove the key from the inside, but it still worked, etc.  My initial inclination was WTF - stupid key!  Then I thought about where the docket was, removing the damn lock, etc, etc...  But I quickly came to see it as a feature for the exact WTF you described :)

    We have something slightly different for preventing the house from becoming a death-trap, it's called a "panic lock", still no latch on the outside, but if you push on the inside latch, the deadbolt will disengage as if you unlocked the door. 



  • Interesting... I recently moved to the USA from Israel and was astounded by the fact that front door locks are openable from the inside without any key, and use the simple rotating handle lock that's easily pickable.

    In Israel we use steel doors with sturdy locks for homes, which require a key from the inside. In high crime areas there is usually an additional latch. We usually keep a key inside the lock from the inside to allow for opening the door from the inside.



  • @Mel said:

    I've just moved to Europe, and have noticed the same thing here.  It scares me just a bit.  Another thing I've noticed here - all the locks (including those on internal doors, eg toilet) have 3 positions: unlocked, locked and really locked.  That seems odd to me...

    I haven't seen those on internal doors, but it works on external ones this way usually:

    unlocked -> unlocked
    locked -> you can unlock it from both sides
    "really locked" (double turn) -> you can unlock it from inside, but not from outside - dunno why - probably if you don't want someone who has proper door key, to see you in some strange situation ;)

    I'm not sure if you're talking about this kind of locks though...



  • @viraptor said:

    @Mel said:
    I've just moved to Europe, and have noticed the same thing here.  It scares me just a bit.  Another thing I've noticed here - all the locks (including those on internal doors, eg toilet) have 3 positions: unlocked, locked and really locked.  That seems odd to me...

    I haven't seen those on internal doors, but it works on external ones this way usually:

    unlocked -> unlocked
    locked -> you can unlock it from both sides
    "really locked" (double turn) -> you can unlock it from inside, but not from outside - dunno why - probably if you don't want someone who has proper door key, to see you in some strange situation ;)

    I'm not sure if you're talking about this kind of locks though...

    could it be extra security.  Perhaps it makes the lock a lot harder to pick. 



  • @epsalon said:

    Interesting... I recently moved to the USA from Israel and was astounded by the fact that front door locks are openable from the inside without any key, and use the simple rotating handle lock that's easily pickable.

    In Israel we use steel doors with sturdy locks for homes, which require a key from the inside. In high crime areas there is usually an additional latch. We usually keep a key inside the lock from the inside to allow for opening the door from the inside.

    Did you happen to move from a high-crime area in Israel to a low-crime area of the United States? The type of locks you are referring to are common in white suburbia but less common in urban areas, even LESS common in high-crime urban areas.

     My wife grew up in Israel on a kibbutz and they didn't have ANY locks, period.
     



  • I live in a farmhouse in Europe and our outermost front door(to a unheated veranda/workshop/dogs bedroom when its wet outside) lacks a lock of any kind so the dog can open it any time. The inner door has  a lock but no latch on either side and that is quite common in these areas. However to the full extent to my knowledge(~20 years) it has never been locked and even the keys are long lost by now. Someone is always home during the day and at night having a serious guard dog sleeping in front of it usually voids the point of locking it. It would just hinder who ever is going out to save the intruder from the dog...



  • @tster said:

    @viraptor said:
    @Mel said:
    I've just moved to Europe, and have noticed the same thing here.  It scares me just a bit.  Another thing I've noticed here - all the locks (including those on internal doors, eg toilet) have 3 positions: unlocked, locked and really locked.  That seems odd to me...

    I haven't seen those on internal doors, but it works on external ones this way usually:

    unlocked -> unlocked
    locked -> you can unlock it from both sides
    "really locked" (double turn) -> you can unlock it from inside, but not from outside - dunno why - probably if you don't want someone who has proper door key, to see you in some strange situation ;)

    I'm not sure if you're talking about this kind of locks though...

    could it be extra security.  Perhaps it makes the lock a lot harder to pick. 

    Doubtful. There aren't any known lock designs significantly better than the common Chubb lever lock - an expert needs 10-20 minutes to pick it (compared to 10-20 seconds for your average pin tumbler lock). If you can't pick it in ten seconds, people will just smash the door in rather than waste time on it.



  • I have never considered the three position locks odd, because they are so common. But now, that I think about it, the only justification is can think of is having a longer bolt thats just too long to comfortably be fully extended with just one turn.

     

    However, having a lock that you cannot pick in 30 seconds on a wooden door in a wooden frame, I agree, is pointless. I that case if the burglar is serious, its rather simple to force the door open.



  • @death said:

    I have never considered the three position locks odd, because they are so common. But now, that I think about it, the only justification is can think of is having a longer bolt thats just too long to comfortably be fully extended with just one turn.

     

    However, having a lock that you cannot pick in 30 seconds on a wooden door in a wooden frame, I agree, is pointless. I that case if the burglar is serious, its rather simple to force the door open.

    I think the double-turning thing is a mechanical thing.

    Many cylinder locks feature a removable barrel - keyholes at both ends and a rotating lever in the middle. Good for situations where lock changes are often needed, eg rental properties. There will be a limit to how far this can move the bolt. Making the lock body so the bolt can be 'thrown' twice resolves this, increasing security.

    Also, not all burglars will want to do damage. Someone might enter an occupied house at night, and want to be stealthy to avoid being caught. It's also possible for a burglar to loot a house and take out a suitcase, or even load up the victim's car, in broad daylight and not get caught, if the area's 'un-neighbourly' - but rather harder if there was a loud bang earlier and visible doorframe damage now. Plus even a wooden doorframe can be quite strong, especially if the door has multiple locks to spread the load. I've tried kicking in doors; I failed and made a racket in the process.



  • @death said:

    However, having a lock that you cannot pick in 30 seconds on a wooden door in a wooden frame, I agree, is pointless. I that case if the burglar is serious, its rather simple to force the door open.

    Making it easier to force the door open than to pick the lock may be important for evidence purposes (insurance, etc)



  • @m0ffx said:

    I think the double-turning thing is a mechanical thing.

    Many cylinder locks feature a removable barrel - keyholes at both ends and a rotating lever in the middle. Good for situations where lock changes are often needed, eg rental properties. There will be a limit to how far this can move the bolt. Making the lock body so the bolt can be 'thrown' twice resolves this, increasing security.

    You can always just extend the length of the lever. 


    Also, not all burglars will want to do damage. Someone might enter an occupied house at night, and want to be stealthy to avoid being caught. It's also possible for a burglar to loot a house and take out a suitcase, or even load up the victim's car, in broad daylight and not get caught, if the area's 'un-neighbourly' - but rather harder if there was a loud bang earlier and visible doorframe damage now. Plus even a wooden doorframe can be quite strong, especially if the door has multiple locks to spread the load. I've tried kicking in doors; I failed and made a racket in the process.

    Yes, but the point is more subtle than this. Any lock which takes at least a few minutes to pick is equally adequate for this purpose. This means that there is no point at all in having a lock any more secure than the common Chubb, even if we can build one.

    Safes work the same way - their locks can be picked, but nobody cares, because the standard, faster way to open a safe is to drill it out. Safes are sold based on their "security", which is actually just a measurement of the time it takes to drill it out (which does make it quite easy to compare their security). 



  • @asuffield said:

    @tster said:
    @viraptor said:
    @Mel said:
    I've just moved to Europe, and have noticed the same thing here.  It scares me just a bit.  Another thing I've noticed here - all the locks (including those on internal doors, eg toilet) have 3 positions: unlocked, locked and really locked.  That seems odd to me...

    I haven't seen those on internal doors, but it works on external ones this way usually:

    unlocked -> unlocked
    locked -> you can unlock it from both sides
    "really locked" (double turn) -> you can unlock it from inside, but not from outside - dunno why - probably if you don't want someone who has proper door key, to see you in some strange situation ;)

    I'm not sure if you're talking about this kind of locks though...

    could it be extra security.  Perhaps it makes the lock a lot harder to pick. 

    Doubtful. There aren't any known lock designs significantly better than the common Chubb lever lock - an expert needs 10-20 minutes to pick it (compared to 10-20 seconds for your average pin tumbler lock). If you can't pick it in ten seconds, people will just smash the door in rather than waste time on it.

     

    no lock can match my double barrel shotgun!

    i'm gonna get medieval on your lockees!

     



  • @asuffield said:

    @m0ffx said:

    I think the double-turning thing is a mechanical thing.

    Many cylinder locks feature a removable barrel - keyholes at both ends and a rotating lever in the middle. Good for situations where lock changes are often needed, eg rental properties. There will be a limit to how far this can move the bolt. Making the lock body so the bolt can be 'thrown' twice resolves this, increasing security.

    You can always just extend the length of the lever. 

    No you cant, the lever is moved with the force you are using to turn the key, and logic says the lever would be impossibly heavy to turn with a key if it was longer. The lever must be not too much larger than the part of the key you are using to turn the lock or you will find yourself unable to lock the door. Example, take a rock, put a lever under it and put the support in the middle your half of the lever. Try to lift the rock.



  • @death said:

    @asuffield said:
    @m0ffx said:

    I think the double-turning thing is a mechanical thing.

    Many cylinder locks feature a removable barrel - keyholes at both ends and a rotating lever in the middle. Good for situations where lock changes are often needed, eg rental properties. There will be a limit to how far this can move the bolt. Making the lock body so the bolt can be 'thrown' twice resolves this, increasing security.

    You can always just extend the length of the lever. 

    No you cant, the lever is moved with the force you are using to turn the key, and logic says the lever would be impossibly heavy to turn with a key if it was longer.

    I have never seen an unrusted lock which was so stiff that doubling the weight of the action would make it appreciably difficult to turn. The amount of force needed to turn the key in a typical lever lock is very small.


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