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From *Hobbit* <AWalker@RED.RUTGERS.EDU>
Date: 10 Dec 87 08:09:25 EST
Subject: Abloy

Abloys are "high security" locks, on a par with Medeco as far as the commercial
market is concerned.  I cannot believe that Manhattan locksmiths can't deal
with it; there are Abloys in use all *over* NYC.

The reason there's so much slop is that the key doesn't push pins up, it
turns little disks around inside to a certain amount, allowing a sidebar
type of thing to drop into slots when they line up.  It works much like a
dial-type combination lock, except that the disks all turn together as you
rotate the key through the first 90 degrees.  The clearance between the
key and the holes in the disks is not too critical; the angle to which the
disk is turned is what is.

I would heartily recommend that you hang on to your Abloy, try to find
someone who can dupe a key for it.  If you're feeling enterprising you can
take the thing apart and see how it works, and make yourself a duplicate key
with a little creative metalwork.


From Fred Blonder <>
Subject: Re: Lock Query
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 87 22:52:36 -0500
Status: R

	I inherited an "Abloy" lock on my front door.  Was wondering
	if the lock theory experts on this list have had any
	experience or comments about this sort of lock.

Here's what I recall from an article about the Abloy lock in Popular
Science (yeah, I used to read it) when it first came on the market.

Instead of having pins, the Abloy has a series of disks, stacked
in a row along the lock's horizontal axis (Figure 1). Each disk
has a cutout in the shape of an Archimedes Spiral: the
distance-from-the-center-axis varies linearly with the angle.
Initially, all the disks are lined up so that the maximum spiral-size
lines up with the keyway, to make room for the maximally-large key,
that is one with no cuts. When the key is inserted - unlike in a
pin-tumbler lock - nothing moves to 'feel' the key's shape (Figure 2).
The unlocking action does not occur as soon as the key is fully

As the key is rotated in the lock, it eventually comes up against
the spiral edges of the cuts in the disks. Since the surface is
spiraled, the exact point in the key's rotation where this occurs
depends on the height that the key has been cut to at the point
where it passes through that particular disk. Once the key is
touching the disk, further rotation of the key drags the disk along
with it for the remainder of the key rotation. At the end of
rotation, the disks will be in a scrambled state, at least as
determined by the inner spiral cut, but one which conveniently
happens to line up the notches in the outer edges of the disks,
which allows a bar which spans the disks, to drop into the groove
formed by the lined-up notches.  (Sort of like in a combination
lock.) Further rotation of the key, disks, and bar, finally slide
the bolt or whatever it is that the lock is controlling. When
rotating the key back the other way, it presses against the
non-spiraled edge of the disks' inner cutouts, and drags them all
back to the starting configuration. A consequence of all this is
that the wrong key will rotate in the lock, but not open it.

I think the difficulty in picking it arises mainly by virtue of
the fact that it is so bizarre.  You'd need to manipulate the little
disk-thingys while attempting to get the bar to drop. Sort of the
worst of picking a pin-tumbler lock combined with picking a
combination lock.

	Disks +-+-+
	  v v v v v

	  | | | | |    ___
	  | |_| | | _|/   \
	/-|/| |\|_|/ |     | <- This key is fictitious. Any resemblance
	\_|_|_|_|_|__|     |    to the bitting on anyone's actual key
	  | | | | |  |\___/     is purely coincidental.
	  | | | | |

	Figure 1. (Side view)

	The notch (Actual position may vary.)
	     _ _____
	   _- U__   -_
	  -   - ^|    -
	 /   /  H|     \     (The thing consisting of the letters H and U
	/   |   H|      \     and the caret, is a cross-section of the key,
	|    \_ H|      |     in case you can't guess.)
	\      \U|      /
	 \      -      /
	  -_         _-

	Figure 2. (Front view)

					Fred Blonder (301) 454-7690

From macleod@drivax.UUCP (MacLeod)
Subject: Abloy locks
Date: 13 Dec 87 09:33:27 GMT
Status: R

My father was an eccentric sort of character who liked challenges.  Through
friends, he was contacted by some organized crime types who wanted a pick for
Abloy locks.  From what I understood, at the time the casinos in Nevada had
just changed over to these locks on their slot machines.  

The keys to these locks were cylindrical and had cuts made at (I think)
multiples of 15 degrees.  My father built a peculiar looking device that
took a lot of complex machining, with a half dozen or so (one for each cut)
fingers that lifted into place and then were stopped down with a friction
collar.  The pick was inserted and manipulated until the fingers "read" the
bevels in the lock, locked down, and withdrawn.  The user then went off and
made a key to those specs. 

I don't know if he ever perfected the scheme, but it was complex enough to

Date:	Wed, 5 Jul 89 23:49:00 EDT
Subject: Re: Consensus on locks?

>A sort of related question is:  I have seen locks with automatic "dead bolts"
> - meaning, locks in which opening the door with a key from the outside
>(not in the handle) pulls back a full-sized spring loaded bolt, which closes
>when the door is closed.

I'm not sure I understood this right, but in Finland we have
ABLOY locks with a keyhole on the outside and a small flat knob
(not the round American type) on the outside. Towards the frame
there is a small triangular piece that is pressed in by the frame
and a larger (1 x 3 x 1,5 cm) rectangular piece that locks the
door. You open the door from outside by twisting the key 180
degrees and pulling and lock it by pushing the door close. 

When the larger piece is out, you can pull it back in by twisting
the knob or the key, but not by pushing it. 

There are some variations of the theme, but basically you can not
open a lock of this type in the traditional "movie style", with a
credit card or something like that.

In Finland ABLOY has a major share of the lock market, and they
are considered to be most secure. They are not completely secure,
apparently somebody has found a way to open one. There was
something about it in the papers some time ago.

In the door of my apartment I have two locks.  For normal use I
have an ABLOY so that I can just push the door shut when I leave.
When I am away for a longer time I use a German Zeiss Icon
security lock that has to be shut with a key.  This is a rather
common practice in Finland.

One thing that I always have wonderer in the states is the
practice of having _round_ knobs on doors. If the lock is tight,
they are really awful to turn. In Finlad we have usually decent
handles, that you can turn. Much more easier.

Timo  Kiravuo
Helsinki University of Technology, Computing Center   kiravuo@fingate.bitnet   sorvi::kiravuo
work: 90-451 4328   home: 90-676 076

Date:	Sun, 30 Jul 89 08:46:00 EDT
Subject: Re: consensus on locks

About Abloy locks not wearing down well:
As is known, Abloys (originally) come from Finland.  Here they are the most
common type of locks.  I just recently had to have my apartment lock replaced
because it was so worn-out it was hard to get it to stay unlocked !  It had
been originally installed when the house was built, in 1962.  The lock still
opened the door very nicely, though.
Also, I personally changed the lock for my parent's front door - their house
was built circa 1955... the lock was still quite operational, but had the same
problem of not properly latching to the "unlocked" position.
How long do apartment locks (used several times daily) last, in general ?

Otto J. Makela, University of Jyvaskyla
BBS: +358 41 211 562 (V.22bis/V.22/V.21, 24h/d), Phone: +358 41 613 847
Mail: Kauppakatu 1 B 18, SF-40100 Jyvaskyla, Finland, EUROPE

Date:	Wed, 2 Aug 89 19:22:00 EDT
Subject: Re: consensus on locks

> ...  However, according to this one locksmith, Abloy locks
> don't wear well.  If they are not treated gently, they will begin to jam.

Several millions of Abloys are in use here in Finland, many of them decades
old. The weather conditions aren't exactly 'gentle' here.  The Abloy has a
very simple but efficient design with a minimal number of moving parts. The
manufacturer recommends lubrication with thin oil now and then (just a few
drops into the keyhole), and that should keep it working.

> Abloy keys cannot be duplicated at the shop as a standard Medeco can.  The
> "Platinum," or biaxial, Medecos are in the same boat as the Abloy.)

There are also several variants of Abloy, with different levels of availability
of key blanks and duplication service.

Disclaimer: I have nothing to do with Wartsila Oy (manufacturer of Abloy
locks), except that I have been using Abloys all my life. (well, almost)
	Markku Kolkka

Date:	Wed, 10 May 89 15:33:00 EDT
Message-ID: <>

>I have never seen any third party abloy clone
>keys, thereby making abloy your only source for key blanks.
 In Finland we have two different types of Abloy locks (or keys) one 
 'standard' and one with one or two security slots ("scores"). For the later
 one, duplicate keys are only obtainable from the factory with an authorized
 name signature (=signature of the person who bought the lock). The 'standard'
 key is obtainable from any locksmith. The Abloy locks here are absolutly
 most common locks a rought approx. is about 95 % of door locks

  Hans Sundstrom                     Internet: SUNDSTROM@ABOY2.ABO.FI
  Heat Eng. Lab. 
  Abo Akademi

[Moderator toss-in: Abloy originally started in Finland, I believe.  I just
recently had a longish talk with their Texas office...   _H*]

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