Locks and Keys : Then and Now

Locks and Keys. Keys are small devices that are used for opening or closing a lock. Typically, a key is composed of two individual parts: the blade, which is the part that slides into the opening of the lock and the bow, which is the part of the key that sticks out and gives you the leverage you need to turn the key in the lock. Each lock requires a different key to operate it. Keys are a security token of sorts that prevents just anyone from being able to make their way inside of your home or business. Only the individual with the correct key is going to be able to gain access to the lock and come inside of the structure.

Keys have been around for quite some time. In fact, they date as far back as sometime before 870 AD. The earliest type of device and lock was found among the ruins in Nineveh. These locks were later transformed into the Egyptian lock that consisted of a key, door fixture and a bolt. Whenever the key was inserted into the lock, the pins within the locking mechanism would lift out of their holes and allow the large bolt to move.

It wasn’t until sometime between 870 and 900 that the first all-metal lock made its presence known. The warded lock is the one that is the most recognizable of all locks in the Western world. Romans often kept all of their valuables safely stored in a secure box inside of their home and kept the key on their finger. This not only signaled that the individual was wealthy, but it also kept the key close by in the event they needed to access the box.

When the Industrial Revolution happened in the 18th century, keys and locks started becoming more sophisticated and complex. Robert Barron perfected the lever tumbler lock in 1778. You can often still find these locks being used around the area today. In 1818, Jeremiah Chubb started improving upon this lock design to the point where it contains an integral security feature preventing unauthorized access and indicating whether someone had tried to tamper with the lock or not.

American Linus Yale, Sr. invented the modern version of the pin tumbler lock that you see in use today back in 1848. These are the locks that you often see installed on homes everywhere today. When you slide the pin tumbler lock key into the mechanism, the grooves running along the blade of your key will either allow or deny you entry into the door, based on whether you have the right key or not.

Lever lock keys are larger and more inconvenient for you to carry around with you. However, they are a lot harder to pick as well, which can help with your insurance rates. These locks are often found around Scandinavia and the United Kingdom. Tubular keys are designed to open a type of tubular pin tumbler lock. These are often used on bike locks, vending machines and even laptop security cables. They aren’t near as common as other keys, so they are far more difficult to duplicate.

While locks and keys have continued to grow and change over the years, the main goal was to continue producing products that were even safer than their earlier counterpart. All of this was done in an effort to improve the way things are done and make sure people are safe at all times.

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