Article dedicated to old trunk locks, Louis Vuitton. We try to reference the main ones.
There are dozens of different models we present to you the most common.
There are 3 types of safety technology for trunks:
Definition - lock:
Strictly speaking, a lock is not used to "close" a trunk or a suitcase, which is the role of "clasps".
The purpose of a lock is to give the owner of the object a security on its contents by a more or less sophisticated connection.
General description :
A lock is made up of two distinct parts fixed, one on the cover and called a " hasp ", the other on the shaft and comprising the " palâtre " on the outside and the " mechanism box " on the inside .
Hasp : Upper part of a lock, usually attached to the front of the lid of a trunk, suitcase, box, etc. And the articulated part of which is folded back on the palâtre is provided with an inn which receives the bolt.
Hasp buckle : Movable metal part of flat or semicircular shape, joins the hasp to the lock plunger.
Auberon (or Aubron): Small metal part in the form of a trigger guard fixed to the underside of the hasp loop, which passes through the palâtre and in which the lock bolt engages, it is a form of keeper.
Palâtre : Lower part of a lock. Metal plate usually attached to the barrel of a trunk. At the back of it is fixed the lock mechanism. It can be fitted with a tenon.
Tenon : Metal accessory attached to the lock's pallet, intended to guide and maintain the interlocking of the hasp to the lock.
Lock box : Metal part of the lock fixed to the palâtre and containing the lock mechanism.
Groove : Metal parts mounted on a pivot, raised to a certain height by the rotation of the key bit of the key.
Key : Metal part used to open or close a lock.
Key shank : Which can be solid or drilled to be threaded on the axis of the lock.
Panneton : End of the key of various shapes which penetrates into the lock and activates the bolt of the lock. Its pattern, cut to match the keyhole and the fittings, or grooves of the lock.
The lock is available in several finishes depending on the period:
Definition - keyed lock:
The lock with fittings was developed around -750 BC (ancient Rome), then improved around 500 AD (Middle Ages).
The lock works thanks to fixed metal parts (the fittings), the arrangement of which must correspond to the pattern of the key bit so that it can turn.
The keylock is inexpensive and sturdy, but it can be easily picked. A master key makes it easy to open the locks operating on this principle. In practice, they only resist a few seconds to a trained and equipped criminal.
Padlock circa 1901 for steamer bag :
Definition - variable lock:
It is an improvement of the lock with fittings, in which the entry axis is profiled so as to accept only the keys provided with a bit of the corresponding profile. This variant is also called a number lock, because the profile of the keyhole (the variure) sometimes suggests a number, although there are many other shapes. The entry profile does not interfere with the use of a hook, and a thief opens this type of lock just as easily as a conventional lock.
On the first Louis Vuitton trunks around 1860, which was domed and covered with Trianon canvas, the locks were in black lacquered white tin.
Later, on high-end flat trunks, the locks will be made of brass. Most first generation brass locks were polished brushed vertically. The design will evolve.
The auberon is most often cold riveted steel.
The first will not be signed or patented.
The end of the rod is drilled in its center.
While the first models of trunk were protected by two locks , reinforced by a strong leather strap.
In 1886, Louis and Georges perfected the trunk closure system and made important modifications to all the Maison's products by adopting a single central lock with two clasps on either side.
Definition: throat lock
A groove lock is a lock fitted with metal parts mounted on a pivot, raised to a certain height by the rotation of the key bit.
This is the first real improvement to the keyhole lock. Indeed, it is necessary that all the grooves are simultaneously lifted to release the bolt. The level of security of such a lock is measured by the number of its grooves: from 2 for the most basic, from 3 to 6 for the most elaborate.
Appeared in the years 1888 , the anti-return lock is aesthetic, flat, with a system of 2 grooves , it is reserved for the brand's high-end models. For the first time, the hasp is engraved with the addresses of the shops.
Unfortunately, it has one drawback: you don't need the key to close it, but once it's in, you can't open it. Like an apartment door slamming, leaving us blocked outside. Hence the name " anti-return lock ".
For this reason, 90% of the trunks with this lock have been forced open.
Engraving the locks :
Moraillon: 1 rue du scribe Paris
289 Oxford Street London
or 454, Strand London (depending on year of production)
Palâtre: Lock number
Travelers take essential items, important papers, banknotes and jewelry in their trunks.
So many personal effects entrusted to unknown hands throughout their journey make their owners anxious not to be sure of always remaining master of the sesame, opening and closing access to their secrets and their treasures.
To reassure its wealthy travelers, Louis Vuitton wanted to offer them the greatest security, making their trunks a sanctuary, a veritable safe.
It was not until September 10, 1889, for Georges Vuitton to develop, with the help of two craftsmen, Mr. Foucher and Mr. Delachanal, a 3-groove lock mechanism that he would patent.
Each brass clockwork groove is numbered and randomly assembled to form a tamper-evident lock mechanism.
This new closing process is a revolution for the time for a trunk. It still forms the basis of the multigorge locks used today for rigid luggage.
It represents a second advantage. Whereas before, each lock number was unique, Louis Vuitton imagines an individualized serial number inscribed on each lock and equivalent on all the locks of the same buyer.
The latter has exclusive ownership of a unique key capable of opening all his Louis Vuitton luggage. And this for his present and future luggage.
The true privilege of the cosmopolitan traveler.
Georges filed the patent for this revolutionary "hook-on" system, as indicated on the locks themselves.
There are then 2 sizes of locks using the same mechanism.
Large lock engraving :
Hasp: SGDG PATENT patent
1 rue du scribe Paris
454, Strand London
Palâtre: Made in France
Small engraving :
Hasp: SGDG PATENT patent
454, Strand London
Palâtre: Made in France
1 rue du scribe Paris
454, Strand London
During the year 1890, less than a year after its creation, the registered throat lock evolves and they add a throat.
Around 1900, George Vuitton changed his groove lock by adding an additional groove, i.e. 5 grooves instead of 4.
Its lock helped increase the reputation of the luxury house. Its design is recognizable by all.
The chest thickens with an additional groove.
New London store address: 149 New bond St London
At the beginning of 1910 , the trunk maker invented the double push-button lock.
Dedicated to hand boxes and small suitcases and offering a quick opening, enough to satisfy elegant travelers who, with a simple press on the two push buttons, open their luggage without damaging their nails. This system is operated by a spring and the hasp remains in the open position.
The right pusher is fixed and serves as a support. Only the left pusher translates.
The safe is derived from the 5-groove locks.
Hasp: Louis Vuitton
Palâtre: 149 New bond St. London - 70 Champs Elysées Paris - Made in France
From 1931, a new generation of Louis Vuitton locks fitted the luggage of the luxury house. There are now:
4 sizes of groove locks , including one with double push button.
The entry of the locks is replaced by a removable cylinder (barrel) on which is engraved the number of the lock.
The key will be smaller and made of brass.
Although the 5-groove technology remains the same, the grooved combination system is completely overhauled.
The hasp loop will be redesigned sharper to make it easier to grip and open.
Hasp: The LV logo made its appearance.
Palâtre: Louis Vuitton - Made in France
Around 1990, no aesthetic change just the addition of an additional groove.
The key bit does not change, so they will add an additional groove in the same length (corresponding to the trunk depth). The grooves will therefore be smaller, going from 1.2 mm to 1 mm.
The lock with fittings will not be completely abandoned; it will be kept for a few special cases, including the black lacquered steel lock , for 4th, 5th and 6th series trunks (low-end finish).
These locks will then be without registration or shop address on the hasp and on the palâtre. The trim mechanism is riveted to the palâtre and not screwed.
This lock will be abandoned in the 1915s.
The keyed lock will be used for a few special cases including letter and star locks , mainly used for automobile trunks. The numbering of the locks is a letter and not a number.
ABCDYZ being the most common.
Unlike the steel lock, the letter lock is made of brass with the patent inscriptions. Only the mechanism will change, the exterior being the same.
Automobile trunk: automobile trunk locks are equipped with a dust cover and do not contain the addresses of the shops. The engraving is then on the dust cover.
Single push locks do not have the Louis Vuitton patented throat system, which is exclusively for suitcases and car cases.
Miniature lock for flower trunk . Several versions exist.
Mini push lock for Louis Vuitton mini suitcase and box
Keyless push lock designed for Louis Vuitton bags and small boxes
Other lock models of different kinds and systems.
Luxury trunk restoration workshops
When our client brought us his Louis Vuitton trunk, he was in despair. Indeed he had locked it several months ago and had lost it ...
A classic !
Of course, it would be easy to remove the rivets to open the lock, but our mission: to open it without weapons or violence
A lock reputed to be unpickable:
Georges Vuitton, son and successor of Louis Vuitton, developed the tumbler lock, reputed to be unpickable.
Each lock has an individual number for each customer , which allows the customer to open all their luggage with the same key.
The lock number is unrelated to the serial number inside the baggage, specific to each baggage.
There are therefore as many different keys as there are locks.
Despite the promises of invulnerability of this mythical lock, we accept the challenge.
Thanks to the unique lock number we determine the shape of the key.
We therefore started with a brass plate to shape our temporary key.
Hand machining of teeth:
You just have to try the key.
It opens the lock effortlessly to the delight of its owner.
Challenge met with flying colors, all without a weapon or violence ...
It is always magical to hear the mechanism of a lock operate, from watchmaking to security.
The oldest keys are steel, then brass.
Often lost or broken, we are often asked to redo them.
Repair of an old Louis Vuitton key
The key is blank ready to be machined.
Like an old watch mechanism, the mechanism of the groove locks is invisible, hidden in the case.
Even if it is not visible, we pay great attention to its details which make the difference, and the quality of a job well done.
We overhaul the throat locks of old Vuitton trunks , guaranteeing perfect operation for years to come.
To open this trunk, the previous owner decided that the best solution was to cut the hasp ring like a bandit ... carnage!
We will take you behind the scenes of a restoration , step by step.
Our core business is the restoration of old trunks. In order to keep the authenticity of the part, we will keep 100% of the parts present and repair them.
This goldsmith's work, in the rules of the art, takes longer than replacing the original part with a "generic" part of modern manufacture. But we strive every day to bring old trunks back to life while preserving this authenticity.
The lock was already partially dismantled. We had to unlock the locking system in order to free the lower part.
These steps are intended to prepare the surface for welding.
It will heat the brass to a temperature of 920 ° so that it melts.
We will remove the excess solder, redrawing the contours and curves of the part. This is done by eye and by hand with different tools. The know-how of the goldsmith.
Polishing is a profession in its own right, requiring great precision.
The craftsman enhances the brass piece by restoring its original shine and fascinating glow.
All these steps are essential, none is superfluous.
Only the combination and the mastery of all these actions are the guarantee of an impeccable result.
Before - After restoration, keeping 100% of the original parts , it is the restoration work of great quality.
The hasp is the upper part of the lock , like this Louis Vuitton brass lock for example .
This part is one of the most damaged parts on trunks and suitcases, often forced when the key is lost, or the lock seized.
We repair them, it's the work of the goldsmith.
100% of original parts kept.
Conservation - Restoration of old trunk for or against?
It's a conversation that we have several times a week with novices or amateurs on the importance of restoring a trunk or not. Here are a few ways to become fully aware of a subject that is rarely discussed. This article will help you see it more clearly. Read more...
Serrure Louis Vuitton : French page