The laminated padlock, affordable yet tough

Today we celebrate the birthday of Harry E. Soref (2 Mar 1887 – 1 Mar 1957) an American locksmith and inventor who’s claim to fame is the inventor of the laminated steel padlock.  He also founded the Master Lock Company in 1921.

More than 50 years after Harry Soref's death, Master Lock still produces a wide range of laminated locks.(© All Rights Reserved)
More than 50 years after Harry Soref’s death, Master Lock still produces a wide range of laminated locks.
(© All Rights Reserved)

As a locksmith, Soref knew that standard padlocks didn’t provide sufficient security, as they could easily be broken. To remedy the situation, he came up with the idea of building a lock by laminating layer upon layer of stainless steel together under great pressure. This layered construction, coated with cadmium to rustproof the outer surface, proved to have superior strength compared to other locks of similar manufacturing cost.

Soref tried to sell his idea, but when no-one showed interest, he decided to just make and sell them himself, through his Master Lock company, gaining his first patent for the laminated lock in 1924. The padlock proved to be a great success, and Master Lock grew to be a major lock manufacturer. Today, many lock manufacturers still copy the very efficient and successful design of Soref’s original laminated padlock.