One of the most common and important things we’ve come to accept as standard in life is a good lock. Whether it’s a bike one to secure our transport, a front door and nice padlock on the shed without locks much of our stuff would be, well, in the hands of other people for a start. Ask any self-respecting Doncaster Locksmith or a locksmith anywhere for that matter and they will happily tell you the history of the humble but incredibly useful lock. Go to https://www.danumlocksmiths.co.uk/ if you after one. Otherwise read on.
The first “locks” were made from rope. They weren’t really locks at all in a sense. They were just there to show if your belongings has been tampered with. As with any thing the need to secure items and areas became more important and with increases in wood work and metal work meant that the locks we know today were soon being made. We can’t be sure who came up with the first proper lock as there are examples from the Roman, Greek and Egyptians and these three were trading with each other it’s not a surprise if they’d picked up on an idea from each other. It was the Egyptians that seem to have got the idea perfected right the first time. They made a wooden pin tumbler lock which was pretty effective. It looked like a toothbrush but instead of bristles this had pins. You stuck it in the lock and turned. This moved a bolt that locked the door to the warehouse.
Roman Locks were made of metal and were much more substantial. They had access to greater resources than the Egyptians so this allowed them to create a much stronger lock. As with many other examples in Roman history they took the Greek idea first and improved on it. Iron was used and it was much stronger than wood. This was something of a revolution in the world as it meant that Roman’s could store items that could resist being broken into or smashed open. The use of matching keys was also developed and personalised the lock to the user for the first time. The development of locks was held back, as with many other things, after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The Dark Age in Europe after this was had an impact on most aspects of life and it is somewhat ironic that the time when a good set of locks might be useful there development was arrested. It was the skill of the locksmith form this time through the medieval period to confuse rather than provide strength.
It wasn’t until the eighteen hundreds that development stepped up a pace. The familiar names of Chubb and Yale are here as tumblers, detector and time locks start to make and appearance and the lock we know today finally appears.