Imagine a world where there are no locks and keys. All your belongings are no longer safeguarded, and the security of your home is taken away. The absence of locks blurs the line between wealth and poverty, making us reconsider what safety and ownership truly mean.
Have you ever thought about how locks work and the fascinating stories behind their evolution throughout history?
Unlocking the mystery
Locks have changed a lot over time, but the basic concept remains the same. The sophisticated locking systems we have today actually go way back to ancient Egyptian locksmiths who came up with the simple idea of pin locks. This is the same system our modern locks are based on. Back then, locks were made out of wood, and today we use strong metal such as stainless steel and brass.
Mechanical locks, with their complex arrangement of levers, cams, and gears, provide a reliable locking system, although they are slowly being replaced by electronic locks that are more complex and don’t need the usage of a physical key.
You could say that the Yale lock, invented by Linus Yale, JR., and is the most common lock ever, is a revolutionary design that takes inspiration from the mechanisms used in ancient Egypt. The key part of this lock is a metal cylinder that spins inside a strong metal casing.
The magic happens with a bunch of slim metal pins connect with the cylinder. These pins are split into upper and lower sets, held in place by tiny springs. When there is no key inside the lock, the upper set of pins simply drop from the metal casing into the cylinder, activating the locking mechanism.
When you take a closer look at your key, you’ll notice those tiny grooves. When you slide your key into the lock, these grooves push the pins up in just the right way, and if the pattern matches the lock’s design, it will unlock it! Some locks work with a barrel system, which you have to pull and push pins to unlock the mechanism. Now you’ve got a solid grasp on how keys unlock locks. Cool, huh?