Friday, April 15, 2011

Lock It Up

Wood Lock
I had no idea locks had been around for so long.  Records show locks were found in Egypt as far back as 4,000 years ago.  Mounted on the door post the lock was a long wooded bolt with a slot that had several holes.  These holes were filled with wooded pegs that dropped into place with gravity and thus “locked”.

The Romans introduced the use of fixed obstructions in a lock, or wards, to prevent entry. You know the term “to ward off” well this is how it came to be.  In 1784 Bramah  locks were created and the use of sliders in a circular pattern were found to provide excellent security.  Bramah is the oldest lock company in the world and continues to manufacture over 200 years later.

Of course with the invention of the lock came the ingenuity of the lock picker.  Locksmiths rose to the challenge and invented keys with changeable bits along with alarm bells that went off when the bolt was turned. 

In Colonial America the key hung outside of the door it was a simple length of string.  Doors were latched on the inside with a pivoted wooded bar or bolt, one end dropping into a slot in the jamb. Attached was a piece of string that was threaded through a small hole to the outside. Pulling on the string  raised the bolt and opened the door.

Yale Key & Cylinder

As America grew in prosperity so did a demand for sturdier locks.  This is where Mr. Linus Yale Sr. began his lock business in Newport, New York in 1840.  He designed and manufactured high security locks that banks used.  Mr. Yale’s son joined his father’s business 10 years later and patented his father’s pin tumbler cylinder lock. 

 Mr. Walter Schlage advanced the cylindrical pin-tumbler lock in the 1920’s by placing a push button locking mechanism between the two knobs.  He also focused on the design of the lock treating it as an intricate part of the look of the door, paying attention to the knob design and finish.

Many locks companies have come and gone since and the advancement of locks continues.  Now we have electronic cylinders, biometric locks, card readers and more.  Still I think it is amazing that the Bramah, Schlage and Yale lock companies are not only still in business but continue to grow and produce quality locks.


  1. Hey what a great post. I had no idea locks dated that far back.

  2. Thanks Bridget! I was surprised too:)

  3. Amazing!! The wooden locks looks cool and awesome. Nice topic shared. Its seems the story of locks are very old and this thing is coming from very past days. Now a days, locksmiths are there to provide the best security services. Locksmith Bay Ridge Brooklyn