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The Locks on My Front Door

I’ve lived in this apartment for almost two years, and yet I still haven’t developed the muscle memory for which way to turn the key to open the locks on my front door. No, I’m not a total dolt. I’m pretty mindful of it actually, and have attempted to come up with a mnemonic. I get embarrassed every time I approach the door with a friend as they watch me turn the key the wrong way.

So what’s the problem? I’ll tell you. I have two deadbolts on the door with two different keys that look exactly the same. The top lock unlocks counterclockwise (towards the door jam) and the bottom lock unlocks clockwise (away from the jam) — or is it the other way around? Instead of turning the key in the same direction to unlock both locks, I have to do a sort of figure eight. And then I have to do it in the opposite direction to lock them. It’s just too much for my brain to process! I end up turning the key the wrong way every time I leave the apartment and every time I come back.

But here’s the kicker: locking from inside…the turnpiece for both locks turns counterclockwise (away from the jam). They turn the same way on the inside and opposite ways on the outside! Ahhh. So that means the outside cylinder of one of the locks was installed upside down.

I feel like a loser asking the handyman in my building to fix it. But if I end up signing a new lease in April for another year, I’ll suck it up and ask. Living with this usability flaw in my own house is making me mad.

And anyway, don’t you agree that the locks should lock towards the jam and unlock away from the jam, to simulate the motion of the deadbolt?! Is this not the standard? Anyone know a good locksmith?

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  • http://periodicdesign.com/ Jason Wishard

    If you do some searching on the interwebs, you'll find some great information on the history or locks and keys. What's ood is how the industry still has so much non-standardization. Of course,, that's a good thing because it keeps people from being able to do this with every locking system on the planet:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwTVBWCijEQ&feat