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What is a Rim Lock or Rim Latch?

March 15, 2011

Iron and Brass Rim Lock
written by Vicki Bale
Iron and Brass Rim Lock

Iron Rim Lock with Specially Cast keys


When shopping for door furniture you need to consider the lock or latching mechanism. Below we explain about Rim Locks and Rim Latches. For information about mortise locks and latches please go to our posting What is a Mortise Lock or Mortise Latch?

All pairs of door knobs or door handles which you want to open and close doors require a mechanism. This can be set into the edge of a door (mortise lock or latch) or can be set within a box which is mounted on the face of the door (rim lock or latch). The lock or latch part then catches into a keeper which is mounted on the door frame. Rim locks or rim latches are often used where doors are insufficiently thick to take an internal mechanism or for decorative effect.

Rim Lock – Surface mounted box which contains a latch and a lock within the one box casing. Locks may have a keyhole and key, other may have a push across snib type lock, ideal for bathrooms.

Rim Latch – Surface mounted box which only has a latch which secures in the keeper on the door frame. Does not allow locking.

We have a wide range of Antique Rim Locks and latches which have been copied from originals, in Iron, Brass and Nickel. These are not to be confused with some of the cheap modern products on the market.

Rim Locks and Latches require special door knobs, normally with loose backplates. On a rim lock or latch normally the backplate on the lock side is discarded. All our door knobs are clearly marked if they are suitable for use with a rim lock. Our most popular rim door knobs are the Cottage knobs, Richmond Beehive, Georgian Bloxwich and the full range of wooden door knobs.

Rim Locks are not Insurance approved for use on an external door. This is because they are screwed on and therefore can be forced off by an intruder. They should be used in conjunction with another Insurance approved lock.

Please see the photos below showing from left a Rim Lock Large with keys Rim Lock Cromwell with snib lock, Rim latch Albert.


Brass Rim Lock DavenportBrass Rim Lock CromwellBrass Rim Latch

Leave a comment


    thomas Fairchild says:

    When did rim latch hardware first appear? 1800’s?

    Vicki Bale says:

    I’m afraid I don’t know, but I think before that.

    Ellie says:

    We want to put a brass knob on one side and a white or chrome one on the other side of a rim lock – is this possible?

    Vicki Bale says:

    Hello Ellie
    No this is not possible. You cannot mix rim knobs and mortise knobs.

    Mrs R Linney says:

    We need 2 “quirky” rim locks (one for front door and one for rear door) in Iron or Bronze to suit an Elizabethan property. Difficult to find!
    Can you help ?

    Vicki Bale says:

    Sorry I have only just picked up the comment.The best thing would be to call me on 01746712450.

    Sally says:

    I am interested in buying door furniture for a Barn conversion.
    How do I buy from your website as there are no prices?

    Kind regards


    Vicki Bale says:

    I hope you got my e-mail. You are looking at items on our blog. You need to go to our live site which can be done by clicking shop now (top right) on any article or click on any links in the article you are reading.