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Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Lock and Key

Locks in varying configurations have been employed by mankind since a large stone was first rolled in front of a cave entrance to assure privacy and control over entry.

The ancient Egyptians used intricate locks 4,000 years ago. The wooden contraption included a key that lifted pins, allowing a latch bar to slide free.

In Ancient Egypt keys were a symbol of wealth as few people could afford safes or lockable doors.

In 1784, Yorkshire locksmith Joseph Bramah devised a ‘pick-proof lock’ offering a prize for the first to open it. American locksmith Alfred Charles Hobbs finally opened it 67 years later and received a prize of 200 Guineas — just over £20,000 or $28,5000 today.

British locksmith Charles Chubb (1772-1846) was in the hardware business in Winchester and Portsea, before settling in London. In 1818 he patented improvements in 'detector' locks, originally patented by his brother, Jeremiah Chubb, of Portsea.

Diagram of a Chubb detector lock

The pin-tumbler lock or yale lock was invented on June 13, 1844 by lock shop owner Linus Yale Sr, whose name still adorns billions of keys. Yale drew his inspiration from the Egyptian pin-and-bolt locks which were made of wood.

In 1850 his son, Linus Yale, Jr. joined him at the lock shop and began working on improving his father’s pin tumbler lock. Linus Yale, Jr.'s June 27, 1865 patent for a pin-tumbler lock and key was a drastic improvement over previous models, and is the basis for pin-tumbler locks since.

A common type of pin tumbler lock, of the euro cylinder type.. By Willh26 - Wikipedia Commons

In 1995, convicted murderer Daniel Luther Heiss discovered that the key pictured on his prisoners' information handbook could open every lock in Berrimah jail in Darwin, where he was an inmate. Fellow jailbird Shane Baker, a trained jeweller, replicated it and both escaped.

The village of Shani Shingnapur in India, had no doors, locks or crime for over 400 years until 2010.

Each combination lock also has a counterclockwise combination opening the lock.

The Ceremony Of The Keys is held every night at the Tower of London when it is locked up for the night.

Sources Comptons Encyclopedia, The Independent

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