The History of the Lock
Posted on: April 2, 2018, by : Chase Pearson
A Bunch of Keys Surrounding a Padlock

Peifer Safe & Lock is dedicated to helping individuals and families protect what they love with the best security locks, tools, and accessories on the market today. But did you know the lock itself is an ancient piece of security technology dating as far back as the ancient Egyptians? Since the dawn of modern civilization, locks have been an integral part of personal ownership, initially made from rope or other materials and eventually made out of iron and steel. Here is a short history of the lock and how it has been an invaluable part of civilization.

The Mechanical Lock

Historians aren’t sure which civilization created the mechanical lock first, though many believe that the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Romans developed them independently from each other. In Egypt, their first mechanical lock was a simple but effective pin tumbler lock made entirely out of wood. It consisted of a wooden post fixed to the door with a horizontal bolt that slid into the post. In the bolt were sets of openings filled with pins, and specially designed heavy wooden keys with pegs that corresponded to the holes and pins would be inserted and lifted to open the bolt. In the 1st millennia BC, locks were improved upon by Roman inventors, introducing metal as the lock’s primary material. With iron locks, Romans could ensure that brute-force attacks wouldn’t work and that keys could be small enough to fit in pockets, on pendants, and even on rings.

After the fall of the Roman Empire in the 1st century AD, lock innovation dwindled. All-metal locks were created, but most improvements to security involved trying to confuse lockpickers. There are many old lock systems that include multiple key mechanisms, complicated key designs, and even obscured or fake keyholes.

The Modern Lock

The 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries saw massive improvements to locks of all kinds, including double-acting tumbler locks by Robert Barronin in 1778, detector locks by Jeremiah Chubb in 1818, first combination lock by Samuel Segal in 1916, and the first padlock by Harry Soref in 1924. These designs are still used today with more advanced steels. Electromechanical locks and smart locks now revolutionize the industry by making security as easy as pressing a button on a smartphone!

When you need to make your residence or business safe and secure, you can rely on the professional staff of Peifer Safe & Lock. We are expert security technicians that offer a complete suite of security technology options to help you protect the things and people you love. Contact us today.

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