"The phone is a remarkably complex, simple device,
and very rarely ever needs repairs, once you fix them." - Dan/Panther

Main Menu

Notes on Payphone Locks

Started by shortrackskater, May 21, 2016, 07:15:59 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

Stan S

Yes, they are universal for each manufacturer. They aren't unique like the vault keys.
The physical construction of all the upper housing locks regardless of the manufacturer is the same.
However, they are keyed differently.
Western Electric -10G and 10H
Northern Electric -21B
Automatic Electric -29S

The Western and Northern keys have a very deep cut. This cut isn't for a lever, it's called a ward (not sure of the spelling). It's a fixed spacer. I didn't bother explaining that.
Automatic Electric locks don't have this deep cut.

A suggestion.
The tips of the soft brass reproduction 10G and 21B keys being sold on Ebay (with the deep cut) are weak and bend and will eventually break off, usually in the lock. That's enough to ruin your day!

Since Automatic Electric keys have very shallow cuts they are much stronger. Unless you are a purist you are better off putting 29S locks in all your payphones.
Stan S. 


I was thinking the same thing about the deep cut in the 10g key.  Even a 21b too? Is doesnt have quite as deep a cut as the 10g.

I actually was thinking of this and saying i might better luck with the 10s locks on my phones.


There is a rekeyed 21b on ebay now. I compared it to a NE 21B key and the one on ebay was rekeyed to eliminate that deep cut.

I already broke a repro 10g key in a dummy lock, but thats because it was jammed, but i sure dont want to do that in a real lock. I like the advice about using the 29s locks.