Mortise lock "buttons" issue


  #1  
Old 05-22-21, 06:19 AM
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Mortise lock "buttons" issue

Hi all,

Just moved into a new house and the front door has an old Mortise lock (likely early 20th century). See photo below. I know that the two buttons along the side are typically for allowing the front handle to be in a permanently locked state (so you need the key from the outside no matter what) or an unlocked state. My issue is that even if I push the button to keep the handle unlocked, once I lock the deadbolt with the key, the inner mechanism inverts the buttons. I assumed when I then unlocked the deadbolt, the buttons would switch back, but this is not the case and it seems to be one way. This means if I close and lock the door from the inside, and then subsequently unlock it (and close) the door to go out for a moment, I have no way to get back in unless I have the key.

I hope that makes sense. What confused me about this lock is that my father has a similar Mortise lock that remembers your button "preference". So in his case, the door handle preference (i.e., always unlocked) stays that way regardless of whether the deadbolt is locked or not. In my case, even if I set the preference to have the door handle unlocked, once that deadbolt is locked, the button preference goes away and the handle is again locked. Very annoying!

Is there a setting somewhere in the inner mechanism of the lock to make this not happen?

Josh

 
  #2  
Old 05-22-21, 07:43 AM
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Been retired for a while plus the last 15-20 years I worked, it was only on electrified commercial hardware.
As I remember it, the stops (buttons) followed a rule-of-thumb: Top stop pressed, outside unlocked and Bottom stop pressed, outside locked. Nearly all the mortise locks I found online use a single toggle dev‪ice instead of individual stops like you have.

Locking the outside knob (thumb-lift in your case) when the deadbolt is extended was an "added security feature". There may have been some that "unlocked" the stops when the deadbolt was retracted.
As far as "preference", I doubt it. Too complicated in the limited space available.

Someone still active in the industry should be along to provide more info and a different view.
 
  #3  
Old 05-23-21, 03:35 PM
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Stopworks operation varied by manufacturer......I don't think you can modify it to do what you want, but you should be able to remove the linkage from the deadbolt to the stops so that you can operate the deadbolt without messing with the stopworks. The old girl could probably use a thorough disassembly, cleaning & re-lube anyway. I would say don't attempt if you're not mechanically inclined tho. If you do, 2 cautions: (1)Be very careful when opening the main lock case (body), as springs can jump out and get lost or fly up in your face, & (2), handle the case carefully, older locks of this type, esp. pre WW II, were made of cast iron, and if dropped on a hard surface could crack. Also, over-tightening the screws could do the same.

If you find an older locksmith (the person, not the company) in your area, they'd probably be happy to look at if you remove it from the door and take it to them, and likely for little $$.

Don't be surprised tho, if you discover that the linkage is integral to the thumb-turn, or other necessary operation of the lock.

 
  #4  
Old 05-23-21, 03:41 PM
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Hard to see the key cylinder in the photo, but the cylinder usually reveals the lock brand, unless it's been swapped out for a generic cylinder at some point.....an original key would be interesting also. Might have a chance at more info if we knew the brand.
 
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Old 05-29-21, 06:13 AM
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ThisOldMan & rstripe: thanks to both of you for the valuable information. I had the cylinder of this lock swapped when I moved in (for security) so not sure what the original brand was. For now I suppose I'll leave things as-is, rather than attempt any kind of disassembly to fix this issue. It's not ideal but certainly not worth busting the lock with my trying to remedy this -- or spending more money with a locksmith!
 
  #6  
Old 10-27-23, 10:27 AM
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Same issue

Hi I have the exact same mortise lock as you. I know it's a Sargent lock from the 1920's. I recently refinished my door and the contractor removed the lock and inadvertently put it in an area outside that got wet and became rusty. I had a locksmith open and clean it and when it was reinstalled the outside thumb button on the handle would relock after the bolt was locked and unlocked even though the button on the side was pushed in to unlock. He could not figure this out and I was hoping you had found someone or figured it out yourself so you can help me solve this issue? Thanks
 
  #7  
Old 10-28-23, 07:51 AM
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So, from what you're saying, the lock did not function this way before it was taken apart to clean. This would suggest that the internal parts can be configured either way, and your "smithy" simply reassembled it incorrectly. If you live in a large metropolitan area, I'd take the lock to an older smithy who's had experience servicing the older parts of town. I remember early in my career, being flummoxed by an old rare mortise lock, and taking it to a smithy downtown who'd been in business like 40 years.

Another possibility, is a broken or missing spring. Springs were the first things to usually break in older locks, and there may be one associated with the deadbolt-to-stopworks transfer link.
 
 

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