Antique Russell and Erwin rim lock with night latch and original skeleton key, salvaged from Victorian Farmhouse (WI)
A rim lock is a lock which can be used on both interior and exterior doors, and were in use prior to the development of the mortise lock. Rim locks are mounted on the surface of the interior of the door and commonly include a doorknob hub, through which a doorknob spindle is installed and doorknobs are mounted on each side and secured into place with pins or set screws; and a sometimes a keyhole which accommodates an old-fashioned bit or skeleton key which in turn throws the deadbolt to lock and unlock the door. Rim locks have specific dimensions including backset, the measurement from the edge of the lock to the center of the doorknob hub; and spacing, the measurement from the center of the doorknob hub to the center of the hub for the thumbturn. The dimensions were not standardized in the 18th and 19th centuries so it is important to note the dimensions of your door prior to purchasing a rim lock.
The Russell & Erwin Manufacturing Company originated in 1839 when H.E. Russell, Cornelius B. Erwin, and Frederick T. Stanley formed a partnership to produce locks and builders' hardware, under the name of Stanley, Russell & Company. When Mr. Stanley withdrew from the partnership in 1840, Smith Matteson and John H. Bowen were added, changing the name of the company to Matteson, Russell & Company. In 1846, with the death of Mr. Matteson and the expiration of the partnership terms, the company's name changed to Russell & Erwin. In 1851 the partnership was reorganized as a joint stock company and was from that time known as Russell & Erwin Manufacturing Company, until its merger with P.& F. Corbin in 1902. Cornelius Erwin served as president of the company from 1851 until his death in 1885. The company is best known as the pioneer of the wrought steel lock industry.