Linus Yale, Jr. (1821 - 1868) was an American mechanical engineer and manufacturer, best known for his inventions of locks, especially the cylinder lock.
Born in Salisbury, New York, Yale opened his first lock shop in the 1840s in Shelburne, Massachusetts, specializing in bank locks. He introduced some combination safe locks and key-operated cylinder locks around 1862. Then in 1868, he and Henry Robinson Towne founded the Yale Lock Manufacturing Company in Stamford, Connecticut, to produce cylinder locks. Yale died later that year.
Yale's cylinder lock, also called a pin-tumbler lock, was based on a principle similar to that of the first key-operated lock invented by the Egyptians around 2000 B.C.