A Brief History of Locks
Humans have been using lock mechanisms to protect their property and possessions for centuries, from early wooden lock and key systems, to the sophisticated digital locks we see today. Whatever their form; locks are important to keep our homes and businesses safe from potential thieves, and they provide security and peace of mind when leaving valuables unattended. If you want to know more about the history of locks, from the jewellery keys of the Romans to the iron locks of the Industrial Revolution, see below for our brief history.
The earliest known example of a lock and key device was discovered amongst the ruins of Nineveh, the capital of ancient Assyria, and it’s estimated to be around 4,000 years old. It’s an earlier prototype of the ancient Egyptian pin locks, and uses a large wooden bolt across a door, which contained a slot with holes in the surface. These holes were then filled with wooden pegs, to prevent the bolt from being opened.
Affluent Romans would keep their valuables secured in a lockable box in their homes, and the keys would then be worn as jewellery on their fingers. This had a dual purpose of keeping the key safe and visible at all times, while signalling to others that the owner was wealthy enough to have items worth securing.
The first metal locks
The first all-metal locks are thought to have been made by English craftsmen, and they appeared sometime between 870 and 900 AD. However, materials were expensive, and many locksmiths during the dark and middle ages periods did not have the technology or funds to create sophisticated protection techniques. Instead, they’d attempt to confuse any potential thieves by creating fake key holes, multiple locks or complicated key designs.
The Industrial Revolution
For centuries, lock and key models were relatively unchanged, but progress finally arrived during the Industrial Revolution during the late 18th century. The sophistication and amount of locks being manufactured grew very quickly, and the different types included the lever tumbler lock (invented in 1778 by Robert Barron), which is still used today.
This period also saw the rise of Jeremiah and Charles Chubb (you may notice Chubb locks are still very popular today!), who made improvements and advances to the lever tumbler design, as well as patenting the first burglar-proof safe in 1835.
Nowadays, we have access to an impressive range of both manual key and digital locks, with a wide variety including pin tumbler locks, magnetic locks, time locks, combination, and child safety locks to name just a few. There are also a range of electronic locks for extra security, which use a range of access control systems such as key cards or a smart key radio transmitter.
If you’re looking for sophisticated security systems, car key services, safes, and more, get in touch with Campbell and McGovern Ltd. Our expert locksmiths are on hand to provide all the services you need, including 24/7 emergency locksmith services, installation of security systems, home safes and many more security services. For more information, give us a call today or learn more on our website.