What is a skeleton key?

And, does anyone know where I can get one? Also, can it work on any lock?

13 Answers

Relevance
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Back in the days when locks had keyholes you could look through and see into the room, keys were pretty primitive and a skeleton key could open most locks. These days the term skeleton key is often applied to any key for that type of lock. A master key is completely different. In an apartment building, for instance, every apartment has a different key, but the maintenance man may have a master key that can open any apartment in that particular building.

    You can open most modern locks by picking them. You need a pick to open the lock and a piece of bent metal called a tension wrench to turn it, just like you would turn a key. Picking locks takes time and sometimes you don't succeed. If you're picking a lock you look like you're picking a lock. Anyhow suppose you get a lock open. Now what? Sort of like the old thing about a dog chasing a car. If he caught one, what would he do with it?

  • 5 years ago

    A skeleton key is a key which has the minimum amount of material remaining (hence "skeleton") on it to open one type of lock, but enough material removed to ensure it misses the obstructions in the lock which would normally prevent the "wrong" key from turning. Locks do not work like this any more, as modern designs are much more sophisticated. A skeleton key would have been used say in a large country mansion, where it would be able to open any door (as the locks were deliberately similar), and we're talking a couple of hundred years ago. Some cheap modern locks may be designed poorly so that a skeleton key could be made to fit them. However a skeleton key would only work on the same family of locks (locks which were of the same construction). Therefore the answer to your question is: no, no skeleton key could open more than one type of lock, but should open all locks of that type.

  • 1 decade ago

    Skeleton keys were used years ago. Homes had door locks that used this key. Some of the keys were made a little different than others. You could use them on many door locks to open the door. This I never understood. Maybe people never tryed to enter others homes so much back then.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    A skeleton key is a key that opens most household door locks. They usually just open doors to like bedrooms and bathrooms, they DON'T open doors to get inside a house or stuff. You can probably find one at Home Depot. Be sure to tell the assistant what type of lock you have, so you can be sure to get the right one.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    refer to daniel K's answer above me, except for one thing. A skeleton key was NOT a master key. it was a generic key that came in many many types for these old fashioned locks rarely seen nowadays. I have a few and yessss you can still find some of these keys in local hardware stores. They had many mnany types as i said ...i mean think about it, if it were just one type everyone would open everyone eles house! even back then it wasnt a good idea!

  • 1 decade ago

    Skeleton key is the master key: it opens any door/lock in the building.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    A skeleton key is a pass key for old fashioned type locks. It is supposed to work on all locks of its type. We have Mom and Pop True Value Hardware store that had them once upon a time.

  • 1 decade ago

    A skeleton key is a key that they used to make for houses that would open any lock in the house.I dont think they make them anymore tho.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I believe Skeleton Keys are keys that open any lock...?

  • Polo
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    A key that can open many locks. Not sure about the gate on the local cemetery though!

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.