Breathing New Life into Old Door Hardware

June 1, 2021
A restored Schlage E Series entryset gets a new lease on life.

Los Alamos, New Mexico, was built as “The Secret City” and is most famous for the building of the first atomic bomb.

In the 1960s, properties in town became available for sale to individual residents, and along with the properties came the so-called Old Government Hardware, as the locals refer to the older Schlage E Series entrysets still in use today. Los Alamos is full of Schlage E Series entrysets, and Los Alamos Lock and Key is one of the only locksmiths left in the country that still services and sells the lock.

As a result, we’ve developed a reputation as the “E Series King” because of our ability to help locksmiths and individuals nationally and and even internationally with our array of E Series parts.

Schlage E Series entrysets were built between the 1940s and the late 1990s. Although the overall function of the lock remained the same throughout the manufacturing period, there are slight differences in the design of the lock cylinder as well as the interior lock body.

The Restoration

The lock shown was restored for a customer in Ohio who emailed us stating that the E Series he had on his front door no longer worked properly. The lock was shipped to us for a complete restoration and repairs.

Upon initial review of the E Series, we noticed that the exterior handle was missing what Schlage referred to as the Thumbpiece Shoe (part number E5216). The Thumbpiece Shoe connects the exterior handle thumb depression into the middle of the lock body, so when the thumb depression is engaged, the latch will retract. (Image 1)

The handle had been modified at some point in its life, and the required Thumbpiece Shoe was replaced by a modified key blank, which was riveted onto the thumb depression. We replaced the exterior handle entirely with another exterior handle of the same Waverly design. The new handle contained all of the necessary original-equipment (OEM) parts and allowed us to move forward with the project. (Image 2)

Next, the deadlatch was found to be failing and was replaced with a brand-new one. The E Series deadlatch is one of the only parts Schlage still manufactures, and it uses part number 12-100 for a 2-3/8-inch backset. (Image 3)

We now turned our attention to the interior lock body, which was found to be a newer style body that has the spring-loaded retainer at the bottom and a solid inner rosette. The older style body has the interior rosette screwed onto the lock body itself. (Images 4 & 5)

Other than the lock body being packed full of old stale grease, which had turned into an ear wax-like consistency, and overlubrication, the body’s mechanical components were found to be in good shape. After the lock body was cleaned thoroughly, we moved on to the lock cylinder. (Image 6)

The keys provided by the customer were aftermarket keys that had been miscut, and the pins inside the lock cylinder were found to be worn, as expected, because of the age of the lock. Two Schlage OEM keys, new pins and a light application of lithium grease made the cylinder work like brand new. (Image 7)

The remaining work to the E Series was strictly cosmetic. The entire lock was cleaned, buffed and polished, returning it to the look of its glory days. The lock was now ready for shipment back to the customer.

From start to finish the project took eight hours of labor, but the result was a lock that’s built to last even longer. (Images 8–10)

Herman Manzanares III, RL, is co-owner of Los Alamos Lock & Key in Los Alamos, New Mexico. He has 25 years of locksmith experience. He can be reached via the web at

About the Author

Herman Manzanares III, RL

Herman Manzanares III, RL, is co-owner of Los Alamos Lock & Key in Los Alamos, New Mexico. He has more than 25 years of locksmith experience. He can be reached via the web at