What You'll Learn
Modern lock technology has been around for a while: since 1861, in fact, when Linus Yale Jr. patented the now-familiar flat key with a serrated edge that is cut to conform to a set of pins in a cylinder. But like everything else around the home, that basic lock has given rise to a dizzying array of choices. Today's manufacturers use powder coating and physical vapor deposition, or PVD, to create dozens of permanent finishes, from satin and antique nickel to hand-rubbed bronze. Traditional brass has been joined by zinc and space-age metals like titanium to make components that are light yet strong. Maximum-security features and high-tech electronics once seen only on commercial locks are now available to homeowners. And all those options come in a nearly limitless range of styles. Here we provide the rundown of lock types and features.