Linus Yale Jr. was an American mechanical engineer, manufacturer, and co-founder of the Yale Lock Manufacturing Company. He is best known for his inventions of locks, especially the cylinder lock. His basic lock design is still widely distributed today, and constitute a majority of personal locks and safes.
Linus Yale’s family are of Welsh descent, and his ancestors were of the same family as Elihu Yale, the benefactor to and namesake of the well known Yale University. Yale’s father, Linus Yale Sr., was a successful inventor who owned a Lock Shop in the village of Newport, New York, and specialized in expensive, handmade bank locks and mechanical engineering, and who held eight patents for locks and another half dozen for threshing machines, sawmill head blocks, and millstone dressers.
On a business trip to New York City in 1868, the same year that the Yale Manufacturing Company was founded, Yale died suddenly of a heart attack while negotiating to have his locks installed in a skyscraper. By that time, his locks were already selling profusely, and Yale Locks became the premier manufacturer of locks in the United States.
In 2006 Yale was induced into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
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