HISTORY OF LOCKS AND KEYS
The use of locks goes back to the beginning of recorded history. Men have
have always been concerned with protecting their property from others. Locks
are how people have have protected their property.
The oldest example of a mechanically lock was found among the ruins of the
palace of Khorasabad in Niveveh. This lock has come to be known as an Egyptian
door lock, because of it's widespread use in Egypt. This lock is
a forerunner of modern pin-tumblers. The lock consisted of a vertical wooden
housing containing several loose wood en pegs of different lengths. These
pegs fitted into holes bored in the top of a wooden bolt, preventing the
bolt from being moved and the door from being opened. An oblique slot in
the bolt provided access for a long wooden key with pegs of various lengths
located on one surface and corresponding to the pegs in the vertical housing.
When the key was inserted into the bolt and lifted, the pegs inside the
housing lined up evenly at the top of the bolt, and permitting the door
to be opened. Similar locks were found in Norway and the Faraoe Island and
are still in use in certain areas of India and Egypt.
The Greeks used a lock that worked by fastening the wooden bolt and staple
to the inside of the door. The key a sickle-shaped wooden or iron key manipulated
and lift the bolt. This lock,compare to the latter one provided little security.
The Romans fabricated the first metal lock ibased on Egyptian principles.
They designed pins of various shapes with keys and keyholes. Many of the
keys were elaborate designs, such as birds and flowers. They were also invented
the ward locks, which with modifications are still very much in use. Wards
are projections around the keyhole, which prevented the lock from being
turn without the proper key. The roman also fashion minature keys that could
be worn as rings. But ward lock were relatively easy to pick
The further development of the ward lock gave us padlocks. The Russians,
Chinese, Turkish and East Indian, used ornate metal padlocks which untilised
all kinds of intircate designs. The keyhole was often concealed.
Sometime around the late 1500's, a lever tumbler was added to the warded
locks to make them more effective. More elaborate warding was the only way
to make the locks more secure. Keyhole were concealed by shutters or other
devices. Nurenberg metalworkers become well known for their locks and keys.
Later on the French locksmiths produced beautiful work.
In 1778 , Robert Barron, invented the doubletumbler lock, a major refinement
of the ward lock. The tumbler, a lever that falls into a slot in the bolt,
preventing any movement, until picked up by the key to the height of the
slot. This had to be done for eack of the two tumblers at varying heights,
then the key would slide the bolt. This inovation is still the basis of
all lever locks.
In 1784, Joseph Bramah, displayed in his London store a lock with a sign
offering 200 guineas to anyone who could pick it. In 1851, An American locksmith
after 51 hours was the first to open it and win the prize. Other inventions
by Bramah include: In 1778 he designed major imrpovement to the WC. in 1795
he invented the hadaulic press, he also invented a check numbering machine
and quill cutting machine to make the point or nibs of quills or pens. he
also patented a wood planning machine.
In 1818 Jeremiah Chubb introduce an improved lever tumbler lock
For the past couple of centuries England had been the center of inovations
in lockmaking. Then came Linus Yale Jr., son of an inventor & locksmith.
Young Linus tried his hand at being a portrait painter . After his unsuccessfull
attempt at being an artist Linus settle into producing bank locks in a factory
in Newport New York. He deigned and patented the Yale infallible bank lock
1851. His factory in Shelburne Falls Massachussets became famous for it's
inovative bank locks. The yale magic bank lock and the yale double treasury
bank lock in 1861 introduce combination lock, His most importnt invention
was the cylinder lock based on ancient Egyptian design. In 1868 Linus and
Henry Robinson Towne founded the Yale Lock Manufacturing Company and set-up
a factory in Stamford Connecticut, to to produce cylinder locks.
In 1873, James Sargent of Rochester, New york patented a time lock mechanism
that became the prototype of those being used in conntemporary bank vaults.
The time mechanism was concealed, utilizing as many as three clocks to cover
a total of three days. The bolt was released, for the time the closcks were
set to, and the safe then opened to the correct combination.
Modern Day Locks
Most of the locks now in use are variations of the models produce in
the 1800's: warded locks, lever tumbler locks and pin tumbler locks.
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