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I’ve Lost My Skeleton Key, Now What?

Historic homes and vintage furniture are full of the undeniable charm from a bygone era. It boils down to the smallest of details that make each home or piece unique – even the antique locksets used on the doors of each room or cabinet. While the lock hardware may not be too exciting, the skeleton keys that provide access to them typically are.

What is a Skeleton Key?

The intricate metal pieces that open antique locks – on old doors, vintage hutches or curio cabinets, and even jewelry boxes – often go by the name of a skeleton key, but they also may be called a bit and barrel key, master key, or passkey. They come in all sizes and shapes, and typically provide access to more than just one lock. Unlike today’s keys, skeleton keys are smoother than notched, as they were most often associated with warded locks.

Even if you’ve never used one, you’ve probably seen them used in jewelry or decor as they were typically ornate in design, matching the ornamental design of the lock hardware they associated with through different architectural and stylistic eras. Historians and antique collectors appreciate their historical significance, while others simply enjoy their decorative aesthetic.

Can You Replace a Lost Skeleton Key?

Losing keys is a part of life, but skeleton keys typically open multiple locks and aren’t easily duplicated at the hardware store like today’s keys, so it can seem like you will have to replace every lock in your home when a skeleton key gets misplaced or broken. However, fear not, as working with the right locksmith can help replace or repair these metal relics.

Many may not realize skeleton keys can be replaced or even replicated so it’s understandable to assume you need to replace your antique lockset when the key goes missing. But there is a process to keep these key and locksets in your home – brazing and soldering services can be used to re-create or fix your skeleton keys to keep your access antique. The brazing and soldering process can be so useful that if, in the off chance, your lock will not work with a replicated key, the entire set can be replaced while replicating the original look and ultimately preserve the charm of your historic home or antiques.

Where Can You Find Antique Lock & Key Services in the Twin Cities?

The locksmith experts at Minneapolis Lock & Key have been fixing locks in the Twin Cities since 1915. We have seen lock systems evolve throughout the years and understand the history and appeal of even the oldest of operational door hardware. Just because a lockset is old does not mean it can’t continue to remain functional.

So if you lose or break your skeleton key, call the lock experts at Minneapolis Lock & Key before rushing to change every historic lock in your home or furniture. We even accept skeleton key replacement and restoration requests from out of state, simply by sending applicable hardware by mail. If you have additional questions or want to discuss your options for antique lock replacements, feel free to contact us or stop by our showroom at 4448 Nicollet Ave in Minneapolis, MN.