Many apartment supers and emergency locksmiths carry a single key that they can use to access every apartment.
Have you ever wondered how this works?
The key your apartment superintendent carries is a master key, named so because it can open two or more locks.
Locks come in all sorts of designs, and the more secure a lock, the more innovative and complex its design is.
Most locks, especially residential locks, have a cylinder design.
In a cylinder lock, the design comprises pins and tumblers, as well as components known as master wafers.
These are present in most cylinder locks and are imperative for the master key to work.
At Roy’s Locks & Keys, we know all kinds of change keys and master keys.
Reach out to us for your lock maintenance needs!
Anatomy Of A Cylinder (Pin-And-Tumbler) Lock
To understand how a master key work, you first need to understand a typical pins-and-tumbler lock.
The lock comprises skinny cylinders called pins, which are of different lengths and divided into pairs.
The pins are housed within a shaft running around the central cylinder plug and kept in place with springs that line the top of this shaft.
The second component of the lock is the shear line, which is the straight line running through the middle of the lock.
Push back the pins into place with the correct key then the shear line will allow the key to open the lock.
A lock that is compatible with a master key is a lock that consists of two shear lines.
And the second one is accessible because of the master wafers.
A wafer is another name for the third pin for each pair of pins placed within the lock’s shaft.
Master Key Functioning
If you’ve seen a home locksmith’s key, the one they can use to open any lock, you’ll realize it is slightly different from an ordinary key.
All keys have notches that are cut according to the pins in a lock—check out this Guide to Key Cutting Services.
Therefore, when you insert a key into a lock, the notches push the pins up.
And the pins line up in a certain way (the accurate way) and clear the shear line.
If you insert the incorrect key, the pins will not be pushed in completely, and the shear line will remain blocked.
Since the pins within a lock are in pairs, the pins are lined at different levels—and the right key lines both pins equally.
The third pin (the master wafer) mentioned above creates another way for the pins to line up—forming another shear line (as shown in the animation in this video).
This means that two keys can open the door; one is the change key (the regular key) which clears one shear line, and the other is the master key, which clears another shear line.
Not every lock has the same master wafer configuration, but a master key works on all of them.
Think of cylinder locks as puzzles and the master key is the shortcut owned by home and car locksmiths and other people of authority to solve all those puzzles.
Benefits Of A Master Lock
Why carry many different keys when you can carry one to unlock em’ all?
A master key is convenient for people like landlords who may need to access different apartments or motel/hotel owners and service staff.
Furthermore, emergency car and home locksmiths also carry master keys.
Locksmiths can therefore conduct lock repairs.
Furthermore, they assist you in accessing your locked homes and cars and making replacement keys.
A master key is also a great way to minimize the time and effort it takes to track every key given to an employee.
For example, when a maintenance worker quits their job.
Management asks him to return the master key instantly.
Moreover, in emergency cases, such as a gas leak or fire, a master key helps.
It eradicates the issue of fumbling with keys and enables getting through a door quickly.
Looking For A Master Key Or Master Key Solutions?
Roy’s Locks & Keys is your way to leveraging the advantages a master key has to offer.
Contact us, if you need to make a master key for locks in your building or your hospitality service.
Or, if you need an expert locksmith with the control of a master key to help you with lock repair and maintenance or key replacement needs.
We can help!
As a locksmith company in Markham, we have experience providing residential and commercial locksmith services.
Apart from this, we are also car locksmiths.
You can call us if you are locked out of your car or lost your car keys.
Lastly, if you want to know more about how does a master key work? Give us a call today!