As Yale celebrates its 175th birthday, we’re taking a look back at the history which created the globally recognised brand we know today.
After emigrating from North Wales, UK to Newport in New York during the 19th century, the Yale family began designing and manufacturing a range of high security locks. It was here in 1843 that the first lock patent was taken out by Linus Yale Sr. for a Combination Lock.
However, it was only when their son, Linus Yale Jr. joined the company in 1850 that progress really began to made on developing the famous pin tumbler cylinder lock. The pin tumbler mechanism was first employed by the ancient Egyptians over 4,000 years prior and is still used extensively throughout the security industry today. The mechanism uses pins of varying lengths to prevent the lock from opening without the correct key. In 1857, Yale Jr. patented his design - a move which marked the start of the Yale we know today and put the company on the map.
In 1868, Yale partnered with colleague Henry Towne to create Yale & Towne which at the time employed 35 people. The company grew and broadened its scope even introducing a line of padlocks in 1879. Following acquisitions, purchases and joint ventures, by the 20th century the organisation had rebranded back to Yale and expanded worldwide, employing over 12,000 people.
Today, Yale products are stocked in over 125 countries and are fondly known as ‘the world’s favourite lock’. Yale has also become a ‘generic trademark’ meaning that the product has become so synonymous with the brand that the name is interchangeable. For example, nightlatches and cylinder locks are often referred to generically as ‘Yale locks’ even if they are manufactured by another brand.
The company has continued to grow from strength to strength and in August 2000, Yale was purchased by lock conglomerate ASSA ABLOY, the global leader in door opening solutions.
Kate Clark, Managing Director for Yale EMEA, said: “Yale has an extensive heritage in developing a range of locking solutions for both commercial and residential settings. I have worked at Yale for 10 years and I’m proud to be a part of a company that recognises its roots while continuing to adapt and evolve to remain innovative in the changing home security landscape.”
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