We have endeavored to make our product descriptions as comprehensive and clear as possible, using language that is easily understood. In some cases, however, we cannot avoid using terminology which is specific to the world of architectural ironmongery and locks.
We have compiled a brief explanation of some of the industry’s terms and jargon for you in this concise glossary, which we hope, will increase your understanding and make product selection easier, but if you have any further questions after reading the glossary please do not hesitate to get in-touch with our Sales Office for expert advice – we are here to help.
A strong, robust but light material used for producing door handles and other door furniture, a favoured material in the Sixties and Seventies domestically, but now not as popular except in commercial areas. Silver in appearance, aluminum is usually anodized in a satin or a polished finish.
Anodisation is a process in which the thickness and density of the natural oxide layer covering the surface of an aluminum object is increased. In essence, through anodisation the surface of an aluminium door furniture is made more resistant to corrosion and can be given a colourful, decorative and reflective coating.
Antiquing is the process by which an object – a piece of door furniture, for example – is treated to give it an impression of age. The object is often darkened or tarnished in one way or another; there are innumerable effective techniques to achieve an antiqued effect on brass, steel or pewter.
Means a “hole” or an “opening”. In ironmongery terms, it is used to distinguish between the external dimensions of a letterplate, and the dimensions of the opening or aperture.
A stamped or forged plate onto which levers and knobs are attached to create the door handle. On a door handle, the back plate is the metal plate, often rectangular, on which a set of lever lock or lever latch door handle is mounted for fixing to the door surface. It is this plate which is screwed to the door during installation. Many external and internal door handle designs offer the choice of handles on a backplate or on a rose.
A measurement for lock or latch used to describe the distance of the centre of the Follower (Spindle Hole), and therefore of your handle / knob, from the edge of the door. The measurement is taken from the edge of the faceplate to the centre point of the spindle hole.
A push/pull fastener which is ideal for applications like cupboard doors.
A bathroom deadbolt is often tubular and operated by a separate turn and release. It can be confused with a tubular latch. Most bathroom deadbolts have a 5mm follower, but are available with an 8mm follower as well.
A bathroom lock is full height lock which incorporates a deadbolt operated by a 5mm square spindle. It is a complete lockcase which is designed to be morticed into the door and normally has two operational elements. A sprung latch bolt, operated by handles to open/close the door from either side. Plus a deadbolt operated by a knob or thumbturn from the inside to lock the door. The top 8mm Follower (spindle hole) allows a handle to operate the latch and a separate 5mm Follower allows a Thumb turn to operate the bolt. Some budget levers, described as ‘Privacy’ only require a tubular mortice latch.
The term ‘bolt’ is the generic term for a simple locking mechanism on a door. Examples are surface bolts, flush bolts, barrel bolts, monkey tail bolts, mortice bolts and bathroom bolts to name a few. The nominal diameter of the thread used on Bolts used for various fixings. An M4 Bolt has a nominal diameter of 4mm, M5 = 5mm, M6 = 6mm etc. All cupboard furniture is supplied with an M4 Bolt with pre-tapped holes to suit.
A Bolt and Sleeve fixing used to secure one Handle / Knob through the door and onto the matching Handle/ Knob on the other side of the door. Often supplied instead of woodscrews, they provide an excellent fix as when the handle is pulled the force is against the handle on the other side rather than against the screws in the door.
Small holes in a lock or latch case to either side of the Follower (Spindle Hole) which allow fixing bolts to be passed through the case for securing handles / knobs.
A Zinc and Copper alloy, used particularly for door handles. It is also used more specifically in latches and locks, due to its low friction ability.
The Kite Mark is the stamp given to products which have been certified by BSI British Standards, a division of the BSI (British Standards Institution) Group, providing assurance that rigorous quality standards have been applied to a product. The logo itself incorporates the ‘B’ and the ‘S’ from that group, and indicates that the product has been tested and passed by it. There are no grades; either a product passes the test or it fails. An example of the standard in use is BS 3621:2007, which dictates the requirements for theft proof locks often specified by Household Insurance providers.
There are 2 different types of Bronze door furniture, and it is important to appreciate the difference. “Real Bronze” is an alloy of Copper and (usually) Tin which can be rolled and drawn. The attractive dark reddish/brown colour comes from the high ratio of copper to tin. “Imitation Bronze Metal Antique” is a less expensive way of achieving a similar look. IBMA products are usually brass-based with an applied finish to achieve the bronze appearance.
The most popular type of hinge for domestic and commercial use consisting of 2 equal leaves connected by a knuckle and a pin. One leaf is morticed into the door frame, and the other into the door. When measuring hinges (e.g a 4″x3″ or 100mm x 75mm hinge) the first measurement is the height of the hinge, where as the second measurement is the breadth of the 2 leaves in the open position.
Uses a hook on a small backplate and an eye to hold a door open. The hook should be fitted to the wall, and the eye to the door at the appropriate height. The “silent pattern” variety has a close knuckle swivel joint which prevents any rattling or potential damage to the wall surface when the hook is not engaged.
A handle used to secure casement style (side hinged) window. The fastener is shaped like a handle, and has a tongue which fits into a locking plate on the window frame. The locking plate required will vary depending on the style of window. The casement stay partners the fastener (window handle) in wooden casement windows. The stay is used to hold the window in the open position at different degrees of opening.
A casement window is a hinged window (single or pair) which opens outwards and is normally opened and closed by a casement fastener (or window handle), and a casement stay which can hold the window open at different angles. Normally opening out it will require a window fastener and a stay. A sash window slides up and down vertically in a frame.
A simple lever or bar used with fixed pins to position open a casement style (side hinged) window.
Chrome plating is a decorative plating technique whereby an object is bathed in a hexavalent chromium bath, whose main ingredient is chromic anhydride. The result is a bright mirrored effect finish.
The measurement between the centres of two points. Such as between the fixing points for a cupboard handle / letterplate, or between a Follower (Spindle Hole) and Key Hole on a lock, etc.
A lock which is designed to be morticed into the door and worked by a Spindle and Thumbturn instead of a key. It is usually made from brass or hardened steel.
A deadlock is a specific kind of lock that is designed to be morticed into the door and operated by a key from either side which throws a square-ended deadbolt into a keep or strike plate on the door frame in order to secure the door. It offers additional security to any door. A simple deadbolt is used to secure the door in the locked position. Deadlocks are available in both mortice and rim variants. In some models the deadlock bolt is operated by a key from the outside, and a thumbturn on the inside.
A “catch-all” term to cover the additional items required to operate a lock or latch e.g. door handles, door knobs, hinges etc. An upright mortice lock or latch would normally be matched with a pair of lever door handles. If you prefer door knobs then choose a horizontal mortice lock to avoid rapping your knuckles on the door frame.
Generally used to decorate wooden doors, door studs are cast from iron and screwed into the door. They are usually black and provide a little character to more mundane doors.
Refers to the quality of the spring used in a Latch or Lock mechanism indicating a superior quality. These are particularly required when using Un-sprung furniture.
A term referring to cylinder lock shape which is widely used throughout the UK. The Euro profile is an over sized large key hole shape of cylinder.
Simply put it is a keyhole cover. Escutcheons are fitted over/around the keyhole to match the rest of the door furniture and are often available in different profiles – Standard, Euro and Oval. Both open (i.e. no cover) and covered escutcheons are widely available. A covered escutcheon would normally be used on an external door for draughts proofing (heat loss prevention). They date back to the Middle Ages and prevent damage to the wood of the door and can be highly decorative.
Note: these are supplied in singles.
A window or door fastening which has a bolt which has a bolt running vertically the full height of the door/window, operated by a centrally positioned handle. Also known as a multi-point lock because the bolts shoot vertically and horizontally into the door or window frame when operated.
The face plate of any lock or latch, which is visible once it is morticed into the door, through which the latch or bolt protrudes. These are often an integral part of the latch or lock.
The fleur-de-lys has been popular in design since antiquity. A common feature of European coats of arms and territorial flags, the fleur-de-lys is particularly associated with the French royal houses. It translates into English as “flower of lily”, and is usually taken to be an abstraction of an Iris pseudacorus. There is however wide ranging debate over the fleur-de-lys’ exact origins.
The hole(s) in a latch or lock mechanism which the spindle fits through to operate the latch or lock. Latch Follower is 8mm and a Lock Follower is usually 5m. The part of the lock or latch which, when turned by a spindle, operates the bolt. The square hole is usually 8x8mm to suit a standard spindle which extends from the handle to the follower. On a bathroom lock there is oftem a second follower to accept a spindle from a thumbturn, which controls the deadbolt. The thumbturn may have a 5x5mm hole to accept a 5mm spindle.
The part of the mortice lock or latch through which the bolt(s) protrude, and by which the lock or latch is screwed to the door. See ‘Faceplate’.
Galvanisation is the process by which steel or iron is dipped in and coated with Zinc. This metallurgic process prevents rusting and other corrosive effects, since zinc is far more resistant to corrosion than iron or even steel. Primarily used to protect the base materials, galvanisation can also be employed for aesthetic purposes.
A fastening for a timber gate or door which uses a latch bar and is operated by thumb or by a ring handle.
A style of architecture and interior design inspired by the trends in those areas which were dominant in England during the reigns of George I, II and III. The style itself was originally influenced by the architecture of Andrea Palladino during the Italian Renaissance and was brought to Britain by such luminaries as Inigo Jones and Sir Christopher Wren.
‘Gothic’, amongst other things, is an architectural style developed predominantly in France and spreading through Europe between roughly the 12th century and the 16th. It is generally characterized by high, pointed arches, ribbed vaults, flying buttresses and slender vertical piers. The style is echoed today throughout interior design, and many door attachments are produced in the Gothic tradition.
A small threaded screw with no external head. It is inserted into location by means of an integral Hexagon / Allen socket for driving with a key. These are commonly used to help provide a secure fit for various Handles and Knobs. Eg. On the underside of a handle to help it fix onto a Spindle.
The handle is the part of the door opening assembly which is specifically designed to be operated by hand. A handle is distinguished from a knob by their respective shapes; a handle is long and designed to be pushed or lifted vertically whereas a knob is designed to be rotated. See ‘Knob’.
Handforged is the overarching term that describes any metal object which has been shaped and styled by hand, by a process of plastic deformation. It is distinguished from machining since the metal is shaped by hand using handheld tools, and distinguished from casting by the fact that the metal is not poured into a mould.
The hinge comprises the flexible plates of metal on which the door is mounted and which are fixed to the door frame (jamb). It allows one half of the hinge to remain stationary while the other half swings to open or close the door.
Defines whether a handle is right or left handed. Right Handed means you would use your right hand to operate the handle. Left Handed means you would use your left hand to operate the handle.
An ordinary door has2 vertical stiles. The door stile to which the hinges are fixed is the hinge stile, and the lock or latch operates on the other stile i.e. the lock stile.
Made form a variety of materials such as stainless steel, brass, porcelain, glass, wood etc., the knob is the round part of a door handle that is turned by hand to open a door. See ‘Handle’.
A term used to describe the joint of a hinge.
Alternative word for a staple or strike plate i.e. the part of the lock which receives the bolt and secures the door. A metal cover to suit a Rim Latch / Lock designed to hold the latch in place and thus secure the door.
Lacquer is the general term for a hard and durable coating, which can either be coloured or clear. More specifically, lacquer is made up of a resin which is dissipated in a quick-drying solvent, which in turn consists of naphtha, xylene, toluene and ketones including acetone. In the UK, to distinguish lacquer from varnish, the general rule is “if you spray it, its lacquer – if you brush it, it’s varnish”.
A latch is a bevelled, spring-loaded bolt commonly used on both external and internal doors to secure a door in the closed position i.e. “closed” but not necessarily “locked”. It is usually operated by a pair of door handles or doorknobs. These can be Tubular or Flat, referring to the shape of the case. Tubular is most popular being the easiest to fit.
Referring to the number of levers used in a lock mechanism. The more levers used the more secure the lock is.
A Handle On Backplate variation which defines a Backplate incorporating a Thumb-turn and Emergency Release. The Thumbturn and Release can be fitted to either side of the handle allowing for left or right hand fitting. Best fitted with a Bathroom Lock.
Door Handle On Backplate variation which defines a plain Backplate with no key hole.
Door Handle On Backplate variation which defines a Backplate with a key hole cut into the plate. To be used with a Sashlock. Available in different key hole Profiles such as Standard Profile, Euro Profile and Oval Profile and at different Centres.
A Handle on Backplate variation very similar to the Lever Bathroom variation complete with Thumb-turn and Emergency Release. However the Thumb-turn does not operate a lock mechanism, but operates a small disc in the handle backplate which prevents the handle lever from moving. This does not require a separate Bathroom Lock.
Standard cast iron is a brittle product unsuitable for making riveted, hammered and assembled products. However malleable iron, after casting, is subjected to a lengthy heat treatment which removers carbon, and results in a more flexible and hard-wearing product.
A non-glossy finish. It is often referred to as ‘satin’, since it has a very low level of reflectivity.
The mortice is the slot, groove, hole or cavity carved into the style of the door to receive the lock or latch. The lock or latch which slots into this cavity is called either a mortice lock or a mortice latch.
A complete latch and lock case which is designed to be fitted in a recess (morticed) into the leading edge of a timber or metal door frame. Once fitted the only visible part of the lock is the forend when the door is in the open position.
The 8mm Follower (spindle hole) allows a handle to operate the latch and a key is used to operate the lock. Available in different key hole Profiles and at different Centres. “Mortice” and “Rim” are common terms which describe how the lock is fitted to the door, but not how the lock is operated.
A lock comprising more than one locking point between the door leaf and the door frame, interlinked and centrally operated. These are usually found on uPVC doors.
A nightlatch is normally* rim-style (i.e. surface mounted) and has a bevelled spring-loaded latch bolt which secures the door closed. Usually operated by a key from the outside, and knob on the inside. There is often a snib which can hold back the latch. If being used on the external door of a property it is recommended that the night latch is used in conjunction with a mortice deadlock.
* Please note that there are also variants of mortice nightlatch on the market.
A term referring to cylinder lock shape which is widely used throughout the UK. The Oval profile is a large oval hole shape.
A parliament hinge is a wide scalloped butt hinge designed so that a door may swing through 180 degrees and have clearance over projecting architraves or skirting boards. Parliament hinges and projection hinges both provide this clearance benefit. Projection hinges have a greater load bearing capacity. Parliament hinges look better, but sacrifice some of the load bearing capacity because of the scalloped design and shortened knuckle. Please check the weight of the door before choosing.
Referring to the number of pins used in a Cylinder Lock Mechanism. The more Pins used the more secure the lock is.
Powder Coating provides an attractive and durable corrosion resistant finish. There are many general advantages to using the powder coating process over conventional paints. For instance it contains no solvents so is kinder to the environment, it doesn’t run and it provides a tougher coating. It is an excellent low maintenance finish for interior and exterior ironmongery applications.
A term usually applied to define the shape of a key hole – either Standard, Euro or Oval.
The projection on cupboard handles is usually measured to the UNDERSIDE of the handle, whereas on a door handle it is usually to the front of the handle. On a door knob or handrail the “projection” is the distance measured from the surface on which the item is mounted to the furthest point of the item from the surface.
Porcelain is a decorative ceramic material which is ideal for the decoration of more classical, traditional handles and knobs.
Polyvinyl Chloride is a very widely used thermoplastic polymer. More than 50% of the PVC produced worldwide goes into the construction industry. It’s cheap, durable and easy to work with.
The measurement from the centre of a circle or sphere to its outer edge.
An additional bracket to allow a Latch or Lock to be fitted onto a rebated door. Most common in double opening doors where the lead door has a rebated edge instead of a flat edge. Rebate kits are required when you wish to fit a mortice lock to a pair of doors which have rebated meeting stiles. Stepped forends enable the body of the lock to be correctly morticed into the centre of the stile.
A style of furniture design which consciously and deliberately takes its inspiration from past styles, fashions and trends; particularly those of the very recent past.
A traditional latch or lock mechanism which is concealed in it’s own case and is fixed onto the inside face of a door rather than morticed into the frame. They are operated by a Rim Door Knob and are available with or without a lock mechanism. “Mortice” and “Rim” are common terms which describe how the lock is fitted to the door, but not how the lock is operated.
A pair of door knobs designed specifically to fit onto a Rim Latch. The main difference is that only one of the knobs will have a Rose Plate, the other fits directly onto the Rim Latch.
A sprung roller bolt system used to hold a door shut. The spring is usually adjustable to allow a variation in the tension holding the door and therefore the level of force required to open it. Designed to be operated with a simple push-pull handle.
The rose is a small plate, usually circular but also available in other shapes such as squares or abstract shapes, to which the lever handle or knob is affixed and which, in turn, is affixed to the door. The rose is considered more modern than a standard back plate (see ‘Backplate’) the standard size is around 50mm diameter, but this varies drastically depending on style and shape. Some will be face fixed, others have concealed fixings under a separate rose cover.
The familiar term for iron oxide, or the result of the oxidization of iron, rust is the reddish-brown matter that indicates corrosion of metal, usually due to exposure to moisture and oxygen.
A style of an ironmongery product such as backplate, latch and handle or knob which is considered in some way ‘traditional’. Often constructed from iron, or materials reproducing an iron effect, they are usually highly textured, painted black and have a swirled flourish at the end of the handle.
A sashlock is a mortice lock which combines a latch (operated by a pair of handles or door knobs) to open/close the door, and a key-operated deadbolt which locks/unlocks the door. Also please see ‘Mortice Lock’.
A locking device to close and secure the top and bottom sash in a timber sash window. There are several different styles including “fitch” and “brighton”.
Traditional vertical operating windows.
A square metal bar that passes through the door connecting the handles or knobs together and operates the latch or lock mechanism.
A term used to indicate that a door handle or knob is fitted with a spring in the backplate or rose to return the lever / knob once released.
An alloy of carbon and iron with at least 10.5% chromium. Stainless steel is rust proof, corrode or stain as easily as conventional steel which, alongside its decorative qualities, makes it a popular choice in construction and design.
A term referring to a key hole shape which is most commonly used throughout the UK. The Standard profile is a small sized hole for a standard UK stem key to be inserted.
A flat plate that is fitted to the door frame and designed to accept and hold a latch or deadbolt of any latch or lock as the door closes. There is a shaped or bevelled lip on one side to guide the springbolt. A strike plate is always provided with a mortice lock or latch, and with rim locks on an outward opening door. These are supplied with the relevant lock or latch but are often also available as a spare part.
The T-hinge (or tee hinge) is a hinge that, as its name suggests, looks like a ‘T’ when it’s opened. They are more frequently used for external doors, heavy doors, or simply for decoration.
A small knob either incorporated into a backplate or separately on a rose which operates a Deadbolt or Bathroom Lock to operate the deadbolt instead of a key, in order to provide privacy. The bathroom door is locked from the inside by the knob/thumbturn. Usually supplied with a 5mm Spindle and a matching Emergency Coin Release device will unlock the door from the outside in case of an emergency.
A thumb latch is a piece of door furniture whose assembly is operated by the thumb to facilitate the opening of a door. It is a little simpler and a little more old-fashioned than modern door handles and knobs, so it’s a good choice if you’re trying to recreate a traditional or rustic ambience.
Another name for a vent with vertical slots.
A tubular mortice latch is the most common way of opening or closing any door. It is a compact and efficient latch, morticed into the door. Operated usually by a pair of handles or a knobs, the latch bolt is retracted to open the door and automatically returns on a spring to close the door. Ideal for internal doors which need to be closed, but are never locked.
A term used to indicate that a door handle or knob is NOT fitted with a spring in the backplate or rose. Therefore the handle or knob will be loose and spin freely. An Unsprung handle / knob will require a Heavy Sprung Latch or Lock.
Unplasticised Polyvinyl Chloride. A hard, durable plastic used throughout the construction industry. Healthier for humans than the plasticised PVC, since it’s the plasticizers that cause problems.