The History of Locks

The History of Locks

Ever since a human has become a productive being who can provide food and other necessities for oneself, there has been a need to preserve these possessions from the others in order to survive. Over the time, the ways of keeping one’s things safe has developed and went from a hidden hole in a cave to different types of storage objects which are secured by a lock. Of course, the lock as a mechanism now serves not only to keep our stuff safe, but also to keep ourselves safe in today’s world of unpredictable occurrences.

The first solutions for keeping the certain objects secure were different kinds of knots and they actually represent the first instances of what we call a lock today. It is cannot be said with certainty where exactly the first lock was made, but it is considered that they were first made in Egypt, as well as in Roman and Greek civilizations. What is known for sure is that locks and keys made of wood were first built and used in Egypt four thousand years ago.

The type of the first lock and key was a pin lock and this is how it was built. A rope was put to hang out of a hole in the door and that rope the lock was strung. The key was a wooden cylinder that had a hole made through the axis of the key. The important issue was the length of that cylinder. Once a key would be inserted into the hole, it would push the bolt to a certain distance. This was the way to unlock the lock. But, if you wanted to lock it, what you would have to do is not use the key, but pull the rope so that the cylinder is extracted and at the same time the bolt would be closed. Although it might sound unbelievable, this kind of lock is even today used in some areas.

The so-called warded lock was also developed long ago, in the antique times. Sometimes, when high level of security is not required, this lock is still used and it is also a very inexpensive solution. This kind of design has become the most notorious one in the countries of the West.

As concerning the first improvements of old mechanisms, pin locks first developed a mechanism that consisted of a larger number of pins which resulted in higher security. Further on, the orientation of pins was changed as well so that the key could open ad not a rope and this is the principle on which pin tumbler locks are based today.

In summary, the history of locks is not a short one and it dates back even to the times of Roman, Greek and Egyptian empires. Over the course of time it has been perfected from a wooden mechanism with a rope to complex electronic mechanisms and today we have many different types of modern locks that provide different levels of security depending on our own needs.