View Full Version : Wednesday Trivia: Locks

Star lover
October 10th, 2018, 07:20 AM
The oldest known locks are roughly 4,000 years old. These were made by Egyptians, and were large wooden bolts to secure doors.


The oldest key-based lock dates back to 704 BC and was found in the ruins of the palace of Sargon of Akkad.

In Egyptian society, keys were a symbol of wealth, since few people could afford safes or locking doors.


Padlocks date back to ancient Egypt and Babylon.

During the Renaissance, the designs of locks were heavily influenced by Gothic architecture, which pleased the noblemen for whom they were crafted.

Robert Barron invented the double-acting tumbler lock in 1778. A stump on the tumbler passes through the bolt, opening the lock.


James Sargent invented the first combination lock in 1857.


In early America, locks were used more to safekeep particular possessions than to lock up houses and other buildings. Most locks in early America were imported from China or other countries. America didnít have the manufacturing capacity to meet the demand.

Harry Houdini was a locksmith before coming a magician.

In the U.S., mass production of locks began around 1840.

The Eureka, was a combination lock used for a bank vault used in the U.S. Treasury Department in the 19th century. Its dial had a combination of letters and numbers with 1,073,741,824 possible combinations.

Movie depictions of picking locks with bobby pins are grossly inaccurate.

A parrot in England picked a lock in November of 2014. The parrot was named Magic, and escaped from his cage and then the car in which he was being transported.

In the 16th century, Russian Tsar Ivan Vasilyevich, locked his wife in her room when he went to war.

King Louis XVI was an avid forger of locks and keys. He had a forge in his Versailles apartments and was mentored by professional locksmith Francois Gamain who later betrayed him during the French Revolution.

The Lock Wizard of Thuringia: Walter Schlage was given this strange name for his magic-like lock skills. The German-born inventor developed a door lock that turned lights on and off in 1909, which was about a century before this technology was widely available in the consumer market. Schlage started his own company, the popular lock manufacturer, in 1920 with a starting capital of $30, with an invented the cylindrical pin-tumbler lock.

Approximately 2,000 years after the Egyptian lock and key, ancient Romans advanced locking technology. Using steel, Romans created pin tumbler locks with steel springs. Capable of opening doors only from one side, Roman locks were far more intricate than their Egyptian predecessors. Roman locks and keys were also fashioned from iron and bronze. Historians theorize that one motivation for advancing lock technology was to keep women confined, as women of the day were often kept under lock and key.


Yale & Towne Manufacturing Company, launched in 1868, was the first known American locksmith company. Co-founder Linus Yale is known for inventing the tumbler lock. The company grew to export locks to various countries around the world before it closed in 2001.

Arguably the most secure building on the U.S. mainland, Fort Knox and its various security measures are shrouded in mystery. What is known about the building is that the front door is only accessed by Depository staff at random schedules. The staff must each enter a different combination code to unlock the door and the code changes daily. Because the facility secures an estimated $270 billion in gold and treasures, traditional lock and keys are not utilized as far as the public is aware.

The HYT chain lock is rumored to be unpickable because no one is known to have breached its defenses. The lock gets its name from its key, which is actually a chain. The chain has to be pressed into the lock with precision to ensure all pieces match before it will open. Even advanced locksmiths and skilled lock-picks are unable to open it. Most locksmiths and lock enthusiasts consider the HYT chain lock a collectorís item.


Serving as Czarina of Russia in the late 18th century, Catherine the Great had one of the most elaborate collections of locks known in her time. She was fond of the intricate designs featured on many locks and often had them created to give as gifts. It is said that Catherine the Great once pardoned a locksmith who fashioned a necklace for her.

Once married, Viking women were given the great responsibility of being the key holders for the family. A womanís status when married was highly respected in Viking culture and women often wore their husbandís keys on their dress as a sign of their power and privilege. Archaeologists have found pieces of keys in the graves of Viking women, which is a testament to how much keys were treasured in the Viking Era.

What actually happens when a key is inserted into a lock to open a door......

Bonus video: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-NENp0IxmppE/VE5VYykcJVI/AAAAAAACJxQ/NrSFlX7Bxf0/s1600/things_you_should_have_learnt_in_school_15.gif

October 10th, 2018, 09:14 AM
Pretty interesting. Thanks

October 10th, 2018, 04:56 PM
When I read the title of the post, my first thought was about the locks ships go through from one body of water to another.

October 10th, 2018, 05:23 PM
When I read the title of the post, my first thought was about the locks ships go through from one body of water to another.

Those are interesting too! Years ago, we used to go through the locks on the Miss with the big barges.

October 29th, 2018, 10:50 AM
I have got much knowledge about old locks from here, I have been working as a locksmith expert in locksmith ventura (https://www.venturalocksmithca.com/) firm but still i doesn't know much about those locks. But now i learn many new things about those locks.