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Facts about Locks and Keys You Probably Didn't Know

Locks and keys have a rich history that goes back thousands of years. Several civilizations, from Egypt and China and into Europe, have used locks to protect valuables from thieves throughout history. These 6 interesting facts offer a rich and vibrant history about locks and keys.

Ancient Egypt: Locks as Symbols for Wealth and Power

Recent archeological evidence points to the use of locks in ancient Egypt. These heavy wooden locks that were invented at that time date back to 2,000 BC and were thought to be an ancestor to the modern deadbolt.

Locks were so expensive that only Egypt's upper classes owned them. Pharaohs and other wealthy people used them to keep their homes and valuables safe. Because of that, the lock soon became a symbol of power and prosperity.

Padlocks Were Invented 4,000 Years Ago

The term padlock was just coined then. It came from two old English words pad and loc, which were simply put together to create the new word.

The first padlock was invented some 4,000 years ago. It was discovered in Nineveh, an ancient city near the east Tigris River. However, very little information is known about its actual use at that time.

The Romans Used Handmade Keys to Open Padlocks

The padlock soon edged its way to the Roman empire, where it was crafted using iron and opened with handmade keys. These keys were made with metal that was heated at 90°, which made it malleable enough for bending.

Bronze Was Used in China to Make Padlocks

The padlock made its way to China and underwent more changes. Bronze was added as a new security measure, and Chinese traders soon distributed them to Rome and parts of Europe. Their use became widespread throughout the West over the next few centuries.

The Padlock Was Used in Large Warehouses During the Industrial Revolution

The dawn of the Industrial Revolution had a place for padlocks. Factories, smokehouses, and large warehouses used them for better safety in order to protect food and textiles from thieves. They soon made their way into private homes, and locksmiths began adding more features for improved security.

Locks Became Harder to Pick

Modern upgrades made standard locks harder to pick. Pins and anti-drill plates were added for increased protection against break-ins. However, keys could get lost or copied, and thieves could still take the locks apart. When keyless locks were introduced, home security got even tighter. 

For example, a biometric smart door lock is a new system that uses fingerprint technology and a secret code that allows you to enter your home without a key. The only way the lock can be broken is through a cyber breach, and all it takes is a simple reset to keep you safe once again.

Today any professional locksmith can easily install it as a firm safety measure against theft and unlawful entry into a private residence. 


Locks have lasted through the ages and in all civilizations, from ancient Egypt to our modern homes. Where keys were once needed, smart technology has taken over. All it takes is a fingerprint and a simple code to enter. With a smart system, you'll never worry about a lost key again.

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