The Egyptians made the first lock – The oldest lock in history is over than 4,000 years old. It was found by archaeologists in the Khorsabad ruins near Niniveh. This ancient lock worked by using a large wooden bolt to secure the door which had several holes or slots. To secure it, the holes are filled with wooden pegs.
Key oldest based locks – The first key of its kind was made in 704 BC. Another key point to that fact, it was found in the ruins of Emperor Sargon II palace during the Assyrian Empire. It resembles the pin tumbler principle which can be found in a lot of modern locks today.
Metal locks appeared in the 9th century BC, and are thought to have originated in Britain. These locks consisted of iron bolts and keyholes fitted “wards” that helped to prevent the lock from being tampered with. Wards are obstructions that block the rotation of a key other than the one specifically matched to that lock. This kind of locks used extensively by the Romans. Surprisingly, warded locks remained in use for over a thousand years.
The first real attempt to improve the security of the tumbler lock was made in 1778, when British inventor Robert Barron patented a double-acting tumbler lock. These locks, which are still in use today, require the lever in the mechanism to be lifted to a precise height. Either too high, or too low would not open the device.
The earliest attempts at securing items, before the now-common tumbler locks, were various knots in rope. Knots like the thief knot or the gordian knot allowed sailors and others to secure their belongings and detect if they had been tampered with.
Historical Locksmith Facts
The lock expert and internationally famous locksmith, Charles Courtney, worked as a diver with a unique mission. He ventured into the depths of the ocean to look for sunken ships and open their safes! He had an incredible talent for picking locks and recovered millions for various companies deep in the ocean’s belly.
An American named James Sargent was the inventor of the first combination lock which could have its key combination changed after manufacturing. His invention, first developed in 1857, still underpins the technology of many time-lock mechanisms in modern bank vaults.
In several cultures, the status and power of the head of a household depended on the number of keys he carried. For instance, in Egypt, often the large number of keys had to be carried by slaves on their shoulders. Because keys on that time were large wooden or metal creations. No need to mention that it was very heavy for the household head to carry!
In mythology, keys and locks have always had a certain mystique. As a result to hat, holding keys represents power, authority and security. The gods themselves, along with goddesses and saints, are believed to hold the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.