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The History of Schlage

The Schlage Lock Company took root in San Francisco in 1909. A century later, it’s now one of the most recognized trademarks in the United States. The company is responsible for developing some of the most innovative locking solutions worldwide, and it continues to play a major role in the evolution of security products and hardware. Moreover, much of the company’s latest R&D effort is centered on style, convenience and sustainability. Not surprisingly, the Schlage Rekeying Kit with Tools is one of the most popular products here at CLK Supplies. Here’s a quick look into the history of this iconic brand.

1909-1920: The First Patent

Walter Schlage was a mechanical engineer by trade. He was born in Germany but immigrated to the United States during the early 1900s. He patented his first invention in 1909. Walter began experimenting with electrical switches during his free time, and he and eventually developed a two-button door lock that was able to control the lights in a room. One button turned the lights on, while the other button turned the lights off. In 1911, he was awarded a second patent for a push-button doorbell.

1920-1921: Incorporation

After leaving his job at Western Electric Company, Schlage opened up his own lock shop in San Francisco. The company was officially incorporated. The Schlage key and lock operation manufactured a locking door handle with a central push button. The team later added a push button to the cylindrical pin tumbler design. This mechanism operated between two doorknobs, with the lock engaging from the interior side.

1921-1940: Full-Scale Production

The company moved to a new location in 1923. By 1925, Schlage was manufacturing nearly 20,000 push-button locks per month. Walter Schlage was presented with the 1940 Modern Pioneer Award for his innovative work as an electrical and mechanical inventor.

1940-1960: Expansion

The Schlage Lock Company continued to grow after its founder’s death in 1946. The new CEO bought out several entities, including Peabody, California Lock Company and LCN Closers. These acquisitions expanded the company’s market with a whole new range of hardware products, including door wraps, hinges, strike plates and more.

 1960-1980: Going Global

Acquisition efforts continued through the 1970s. Schlage began offering mortise lock solutions after acquiring Michigan-based General Lock Company. In fact, most of our current Mortise cylinder replacements at CLK Supplies feature Schlage-based technology. The corporation also added industrial, construction and mining equipment to its product lineup when it purchased Ingersoll Rand in 1974. Not surprisingly, the operation went global the following year with a new production facility in New Zealand. The corporation also opened a brand new plant in Security, Colorado.


Schlage transferred its corporate operations to Colorado Springs in 1997. Technical services continued in San Francisco up until 2013 when the Schlage and Ingersoll brands officially joined North America’s number one provider of residential and commercial security products. Allegion is an industry giant made up of 27 global brands, including, LCN, CISA and Interflex. The Colorado production facility alone currently manufactures six standard locksets, as well as a unique lineup of custom door hardware. Allegion also provides safety products, systems integration and security consulting services.

Walter Schlage’s legacy certainly lives on today. Despite being run under a new umbrella, the brand shows no signs of slowing down. The name remains an industry frontrunner for research and development, and Schlage products can found in residential and commercial buildings all over the world. A lot of these products share the same core technology, which is why many professional locksmiths carry a Schlage pin kit and brand-specific rekeying tools. If you want to be a successful installer, it’s important to know the history behind the technology you work with.

Now you know the history. Next step is to become a Schlage Master by reading our Schlage Rekeying Guide.

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