Master Lock's founder figured that if battleships and bank vaults were made of laminated steel, why not locks? The world's largest padlock manufacturer invented and patented the laminated steel padlock in 1924. Today, it continues to manufacture and market padlocks, as well as steering wheel locks, cable locks and U-locks, window and door locks and alarms, and other products for the home and security applications in the automotive, consumer goods, commercial, education, and government markets. Master Lock is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fortune Brands Storage & Security, itself a subsidiary of Fortune Brands Home & Security.
Fortune Brands Home & Security was spun off from Fortune Brands, now Beam, in 2011 so that Beam could focus on growing its spirits business.
Master Lock was founded in 1921 by locksmith and inventor Harry Soref, and during prohibition it operated out of the abandoned Pabst Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The company's colorful history includes providing padlocks for many of the establishments that served outlawed booze during prohibition, as well as for New York City federal agents to lock down many of those same establishments. Additionally, Soref had advised Harry Houdini about keys that could be used to help the magician escape from handcuffs in his stage acts.
In more recent times, Master Lock has been attempting to keep its brand name familiar to consumers by launching new products. In 2010 it began offering the latest ProSeries resettable combination padlocks and a free Web-based storage site for passwords and PIN numbers called Master Lock Vault. It also expanded its line of TSA-accepted travel locks with a combination model that allows users to set their own passwords with letters instead of numbers. – less