the ‘Nato lever lock’

When Paul Crouwel showed us his (by now famous) ‘russian lock’ people
wondered what other high security locks are out there. Well … here
is one from NATO.

nato lock

The source this time is German safe technician Oliver Diederichsen.
Besides being a gifted safe opener Oliver (Oli) also is a picktool
maker and lock collector. And soon he can add writer to that too. He
is almost done writing on a book on impressioning that I am looking
forward to for a long time. His collection of special safe locks is
still growing, and he drew my attention to one of his latest
purchases. It is a lock made for NATO and was used to secure
containers. Looking at the dimensions of this thing it reminds me a
little of the Chubb Manifoil combination lock Mike van der Stelt
showed us in Sneek.

nato lock

Hopefully Oli will mail some more info about this NATO lock, but for
now you can look at some high-resolution images of this remarkable
high security lock yourself. And while you are at it visit his open
of of safe lock images. It is worth your time….

24 Responses to “the ‘Nato lever lock’”

  1. mikeymike says:

    The mersey keylock is related to the Chatwood Milner Manifoil.
    Since there from the same manufacturer and both are used by
    the SSG(the group wich secures the MOD(Ministry Of Defence) of the UK).
    The mersey keylock and the manifoil mark IV are used in combination on
    MOD safes and/or strongrooms etc. If iam correct the lock is also protected against X-ray’s just like the manifoil mark IV. When you look at the lock closely you will notice that the fixing/atachment plate is the same as with the manifoil. Sometimes these locks are combined with Bramah deadbolt locks.

  2. Barry says:

    Mike: Thanks 😉

  3. Oli says:

    Many thanks for the true story of this lock.

  4. UWSDWF says:

    interesting lock… If anyone knows a military quartermaster in a NATO military force they can check the NATO db against the number, this could return availablility, cost, specific clearence needed to order. Tha is of course only if the number hasn’t been made obsolete

  5. P says:

    I’ll see if I can look up the number when I get back into work in the new year. Chances are it’ll be obsolete and outrageously priced, as are most things in the MoD.

  6. P says:

    It would appear the section/ref number is still valid and the lock isn\’t obsolete yet. The current price is listed as £125.94.

  7. Barry says:

    P: wow, thanks for looking it up for us! Funny that I had the lock in my hands today. It is a real nice lock with loads and loads of levers and well build….

  8. rick d. says:

    i have a lever padlock, I’ve had for a good 30 years. looking for info on it. if you may find time. much appreaciated, thanks. .
    chubb london brass padlock. makers to her majesty. patent #1212264.

  9. Nik says:

    I’m in the uk and i deal with these locks often. I have a few in stock , second hand. one key and no keys and lots of MKIV ‘s on safes and components. Let me know of any interest! Nik

  10. Duncan says:

    Nik, I’ve got an old MOD file cabinet, minus the MkIV lock. I retrofitted a 7 lever lock onto it, but I have been looking for a cheap replacement of the original. Can you give me some idea of your prices, Thanks

  11. Nik says:

    Sorry Duncan, it’s been so long for a reply. I’ve had 2 x computer crashes(major style) have lost a lot of contacts and websites. if your still interested in a MKIV let me know. Tell me what you need and i’ll try and sort something out for you.. Regards , Nik

  12. ALAN says:

    Can anyone tell me where I can find Mersey Locks?

    Cheers, Alan

  13. Martin says:

    I have a couple of Mersey locks and a dismantled Manifoil nice piece of engineering

  14. Peter says:

    Does anyboby know where we can obtain key blanks or cut keys to code for Mersey NATO/MOD lever locks ?

  15. Peter says:

    I also have a Mk IV Manifoil, complete with dial and bezel, all, I think, new and unused……anyone interested ?

  16. Avi says:

    A Mk IV Manifoil – wow! It’s a few years since I saw one of those. I must have stripped and reassembled them a thousand times. In my time, that was the one with the lead-shroud. Does yours have that?

  17. tim bluck says:

    Hello All.
    Are key klanks for the N.A.T.O. mersey keylock generally
    available? I have one fitted to a strongbox here that I’d
    like to make a couple of keys for.

    Many Thanks.
    Tim Bluck.
    (Kent / London. U.K.)

  18. Peter Brian says:

    Does anyone know if I can I get replacement keys cut from serial numbers alone?

  19. Eddie says:

    I have three of these locks for sale. One with two keys, the other two with one key each.

  20. John says:

    Hi All,

    Tim – there were 3 different types of key for the Mersey. Firstly they made the key from steel, with a square section at the end of the stem that would accept individual bits that were stamped out and slotted onto the end, then a cap was press fitted over the tip. This didn’t work very well, as over time users tended to leave most of the bits in the lock when they pulled the key out.. Then they made the key out of a die cast stem with a plastic injection moulded bit. This lasted for about 6 months (five and a half months longer than it should have…) and then the Brass key came back into style.
    Mikeymike – the Mersey wasn’t protected specifically against X ray attack as was the Manifoil with a moulded circular lead plate that had concentric depressions in it. They were very infrequently used in combination with the manifoil comb. lock, and were primarily used on security cabinets and some ‘Oxford’ and Cambridge’ class book room doors – the U.K. G1A high security government safe had a 150mm door, so they stuck with the Comb. lock spindle for that length.
    By the way, the Manifoil didn’t (foil manipulation). It used two ‘clickers’ to simulate false contact points on the secondary drive cam, but if you knew the fourth number (preset to 0 – 25 – 50 or 75), then you could happily ignore the false indications. And a note of credit to the long since passed away Albert Alsina from S&G who (I believe) was the first person to do this in the U.K.
    Sorry you had to sit on your suitcase in the van when I picked you up Albert

  21. Stuart Allenby says:

    Hi I bought one of these locks at a car boot for £1.00 complete with key. The key is steel. The lock is marked DOE 20 42 175 NATO 5340 99 135 7882. It is dated 1976 & has the Military Crows Foot on it & another symbol W_Z. The Z is like an elongated N. The key is marked M66961 & this number is stamped on the lock. I normally only collect padlocks & I have around 1000 but this lock intrigued me as the plastic case is not very secure. There is also a round plastic cap that fits over the keyhole. The mechanism is very smooth & you can only remove the key when it is locked. It is very heavy for it’s size & is in really good nick. I’m going to mount it on a piece of perspex & display it next to a couple of safe locks I have.

    Regards Stuart

    P.S there are two brass tags attached to the key marked 9.

  22. Nigel says:

    Stuart, that’s a bargain, the brass is worth more than that!

    The plastic case is to stop people taking photos of the insides easily, or fiddling, and to keep dust out. Normally it is on the inside of a secure container, so you can’t reach the plastic, nor the bits inside.