The Evolution of Locks

The Evolution of Lock Technology. Ancient History and Modern Hi-Tech Solutions.

The need for locks and security is not a modern phenomenon. Locksmiths have been plying their trade for thousands of years….

The Evolution of Locks

Photo by Pixabay

Technological advances are driving change in virtually every industry. For locksmiths, there continues to be much change, and at a rate that is more rapid than any point in history. This is the tale of the evolution of locks.

We take a look at locks over the ages and how key developments in technology have shaped the modern products that are available today.  

First Known Locks….

Locks are thought to have been in use by humans for almost 6000 years. The oldest known lock and key apparatus was discovered in the ruins of Nineveh, the capital of the ancient Assyrian empire. The most populous city in the world for decades, Nineveh existed near the banks of the Tigris River, in the country known today as Iraq.

Thought to be at least 4,000 years old, the subject lock, discovered in the ruins of a palace, utilised a large wooden bolt to secure a door. The door bolt essentially had a slot with several holes in its upper surface.  Wooden pegs filled the holes, preventing the bolt from moving and the door being opened. 

This type of mechanism was the basis for the Egyptian wooden pin lock, which consisted of a bolt with a door fixture and key aperture. Upon insertion of the key, pins within the door fixture lifted from bored out holes within the bolt, allowing it to slide. Removal of the key saw the pins fall back into the bolt holes, preventing movement.

Iron and Steel.  

Whilst locks continued to change and evolve through the centuries, the next big development in lock technology occurred late in the ninth century AD when the first locks fabricated entirely from metal appeared. With the obvious advantages of strength, durability, and fire resistance, metal would replace wood entirely in the production of lock mechanisms into the future. These new metal locks had their origins in England and their design and construction spread throughout the world.  

At the very start of the 19th century, coinciding with the commencement of the Industrial Revolution, a number of technological enhancements were made to the evolution of locks and their mechanisms of the time. These developments were adopted broadly and improved the security of virtually all locking devices which were in use at the time. 

During this period both American and English engineers and locksmiths patented a number of designs incorporating pin and tumbler mechanisms.

The Digital Age.

The latest in lock technologies do not actually reflect changes to the way lock mechanisms operate, with physical pins and tumblers that secure bolts in place. Digital technology has instead changed the way that modern locks are engaged and released. Rather than keys being inserted into locks, a digital signal is transmitted to lock or unlock the hardware. 

Lock systems with keypads, swipecards, or Bluetooth functionality are being adopted rapidly in office and commercial settings. Also, there is currently considerable growth in the uptake of digital locks in new residential dwellings. 

Hashtag Locksmiths are your local supplier and installer of the latest lock hardware and products available. You can maximise your security whilst enjoying the most modern and convenient access system on the market. Call Hashtag Locksmiths today!