Master Lock

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Master Lock

Master Lock
Name Master Lock
Headquarters Milwaukee, WI (USA)
Founded 1921
Founder(s) Harry Soref, P.E. Yolles, Sam Stahl
Padlocks, Combination locks

Master Lock is an American lock manufacturer that produces low security padlocks, chain locks, gun locks, and various other lock related equipment. Master Lock is currently the world's largest importer of padlocks and related security products. They are best known for their laminated steel layer padlocks that use warded and pin-tumbler designs. Their combination padlocks are also widely used on lockers in schools throughout the United States.


Master Lock was founded in 1921 by Harry Soref, P.E. Yolles, and Sam Stahl. Soref invented and patented a padlock in 1924 that used laminated layers of steel for extra protection. Padlocks of the time were all hollow and suspectible to various forced entry techniques, particularly impact with a hammer. Soref's inspiration for the design was from bank vault doors and battleships of the time.[1]

Soref's design went on to be wildly successful, with federal agents placing large orders. Many of these padlocks were used to lock down establishments that disobeyed prohibition laws.

In 1939 Master Lock moved to their current facility at 2600 North 32nd Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Harry Soref died in 1957. He was succeeded as president of Master Lock by co-founder and long time friend Sam Stahl.

American Brands acquired Master Lock in 1970. [2] American Brands was renamed to Fortune Brands in 1997. In 2014, Master Lock acquired SentrySafe. [3] Fortune Brands Innovations owns Master Lock along with American Lock and SentrySafe.

"Tough Under Fire" campaign

In 1973, Master Lock ran a famous Super Bowl ad where one of their locks survived being shot by a sharpshooter, thereby proving its durability, thus the slogan "Tough Under Fire". Master Lock would continue running similar ads during future Super Bowls, spending almost their entire annual marketing budget on the single commercial. [4]

In the episode "Mega Movie Myths" of the Discovery Channel's show MythBusters, this famous ad was tested by shooting a Master Lock padlock by a rifle. Master Lock padlocks passed the test when shot with a 9mm and .357 handguns, but were defeated by shotguns and Garand rifles.[5] The official Mythbusters verdict was not "busted," but rather "plausible." They argued that using such strong firearms at close range may cause ricochet and spalling which would be extremely dangerous to a real-life attacker.[6]

Lock Listing

Keyed padlocks

Combination padlocks



External links

See also