Common door locks are relatively simple mechanisms with few moving parts that perform the basic function of securing doors and protecting property and information. Almost 75 per cent of robberies in the United States are forced entries, and most forced entries can be prevented by the correct lock components. A strong deadbolt, complex cylinder and properly reinforced strike will deter both professional and amateur burglars.
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The bolt of a door lock is the component that actually locks the door, by fastening it to a wall. A bolt is a metal or, in the days of yore, wooden shaft that slides into or behind a wall. There are various types of bolts, such as the deadbolt, which is a thick shaft of metal that slides into the strike--for more information on a strike, see below--and does not retract with pressure. A latch bolt is a softer locking mechanism, a sloped shaft which locks by sliding into a strike, though will retract upon pressure.
The cylinder is, simply put, the component of a door lock that ensures the operation of the lock. The cylinder interacts with the correct key for any given lock to drive the bolt into the strike. When a key is inserted into what in lock parlance is known as the keyway, and turned, that key turns the cylinder plug, which in turns interacts with the cylinder’s tumbler. The cylinder’s tumbler is the mechanism, or component, of the lock that ultimately moves the bolt, causing the door to lock.
Strike and strike protectors
The strike is the part of a door lock that is in the wall or frame to which the door is connected. Technically, the strike is nothing more than the hole into which the bolt is driven, though all of the strike components, including the strike plate or protector, are often referred to collectively as the strike. Strike plates are metal plates and hollows that fill in and surround the strike as reinforcement. The metal hollows that fill in the strike reinforces the wood of the door to strengthen locks, while the strike plates serve to both reinforce the metal hollows and protect the wood of the door from weakening upon repeated hits from the bolt.
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