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Lock and Key hanging from a rod

Locks and keys are fascinating to those who are constantly on the look out for newer ways to secure their possessions. Who isn't thrilled when they see some complicated contraption at work? The intricacies of slipping in specially designed keys into strange-shaped holes is not something that humankind is ever going to get bored of.

The earliest locks and keys were made from wood. They did not have a great mechanism behind them. A block of wood had a hole in a place where the long thin stick, called a key, fit in. the locks were heavy, bulky, and large, but being made of wood, were very susceptible to damage from brute force. It was not difficult to break into the house if this lock hung on the door. When metal was discovered as a more durable alternative to wood, locks permanently became signs of security.


The Egyptians and Babylonians are credited for the invention of keys. They used metal pins to secure their bolts. The oldest lock and key mechanism belonged to the capital of the ancient city of Assyria, Nineveh. A correlation can be made to with the wealthy nations and their need to create a system that ensured the safety of their wealth.


Along with flat keys, the process of key-cutting became well-developed A flat key Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash


When the Romans conquered the world, the lock and key symbolised slavery more than security. They would lock up everything, people and possessions. They had devised the system of locks that could be opened by a long piece of metal that had a unique shape. This was called a skeleton key. Later on flat keys, shaped like a toothbrush began to appear.

Along with flat keys, the process of key-cutting became well-developed. Key-making became a lucrative business in a society with growing wealth and insecurity. World events like wars, conquests, and annexation of vassal states created a climate of apprehension, leading to increased need for locking things away.

In the 21st century, the metal contraption has almost gone obsolete. People look to digital passwords as a more trustworthy weapon against crime and thievery. Biometric data, passwords, pattern locking, and pin codes are sure-fire ways of securing possessions. It remains to be seen how the future of locks and keys looks.


Keywords: Lock and Key, Egypt Babylon, Security Possessions, evolution of lock and key.


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