Master Lock Fights Key Bumping With NightWatch Deadbolt

Dec. 1, 2006
The rigid thumb turn idea is a good one and unquestionably stops key bumping with a system that the consumer can readily understand.

Key bumping has caused concern among many companies in the lock industry. Master Lock Company has done something about it. Their new NightWatch deadbolt is designed with an inside thumb turn which can be set to prevent the tailpiece from turning. When the thumb turn is in the rigid position, the outer cylinder may be turned slightly because of the lazy cam tailpiece, but not far enough to unlock the deadbolt.

NightWatch deadbolts are only available as single cylinder locks because the thumb turn is the primary operating feature. Outer lock cylinders use a standard five-pin Master/Dexter 70007 keyway. Key bumping may still be a possibility, but with the tailpiece in a rigid position, a thief is still prevented from entering the door.

The system cannot be used when leaving the house. Owners must also understand that once the thumb turn is set in a rigid position, persons with a proper key will not be able to unlock the door.

NightWatch deadbolts are designed to offer added protection for people while at home. A push button for controlling the thumb turn is located on the bottom of the inner trim plate. In order to operate the NightWatch feature, homeowners must first turn the thumb turn to a fully locked, horizontal position. The push button must then be depressed, allowing the turn knob to be pulled a short distance away from the trim plate to the rigid position.

Procedures for pressing the push button and pulling the turn knob are simple, but do require some amount of dexterity and strength. This deters a small child from readily playing with the locking system. A red indicator on the thumb turn shaft shows the owners that their lock is set in the NightWatch position.

Once the NightWatch thumb turn is set in a rigid condition, it can be returned back to the normal position by pressing the thumb turn inward. Very little inward pressure is required. In case of emergency, either an adult or child should have little trouble in pressing the thumb turn inward before unlocking the door.

NightWatch deadbolts are equipped with a removable face plate system. A face plate with square corners, face plate with rounded corners and a serrated drive-in insert are included. Each face plate can be quickly snapped onto the deadbolt as needed. The deadbolt unit can also be adjusted to fit either 2 3/8” or 2 3/4” backsets without using any tools.

Advertising on the packing box shows “lifetime finish and mechanical guarantee,” A SilvaBOND antimicrobial protected finish is included. The finish has reportedly proven to be effective in controlling bacteria, mold and mildew existing on hardware surfaces. Master Lock calls it the “Forever” finish.

Added features include a circular cover which surrounds the deadbolt unit to deter “icepick” attacks, a security strike having a secondary protective plate and three-inch-long retainer screws to hold into firm wood behind thin door jambs, plus a steel pin in the one inch long lock bolt to deter sawing.

Master Lock currently only sells NightWatch directly to consumers on the Internet and through chain stores such as Target. Time will tell whether Master Lock changes their policy and begins selling NightWatch locks through locksmith distributors, allowing locksmiths to sell this innovative new product.