Locks have been used to secure doors against thieves since early times. The first locks were known as pin tumblers, and they are not very different from common door locks used today. The Egyptian locks depicted in pyramids consisted of heavy wooden frames mounted to the door. A wooden bolt ran through the lock and was kept in place by iron pins that held steady in slots. The key was a narrow piece of wood with pegs protruding from its end. After placing the key inside the lock and pushing upwards, the pins were then lifted with the pegs, and the bolt became free.
Greeks developed simple locks in 700 B.C, but the large metal keys they used were rather heavy and inconvenient. When the Romans adopted the lock trend, they solved the issue of the heavy metal keys by chaining them to slaves, and then chaining the slaves to doorposts. The design of locks never mattered much in those ancient times, people didn’t dedicate much thought to the aesthetics of locks and keys.
This trend changed gradually as European locksmiths in the middle ages started making intricate locks. The locks took hours to build and they looked beautiful, but they offered very little security. To reach the rank of master locksmith, the technician had to complete a masterpiece lock for approval by his guild. Such masterpiece took thousands of hours to complete and was mostly decorative.
The locks that provided some real defense against theft were not invented until the late 18th century, when Robert Barron, an English locksmith, patented his Double Action Lever Tumbler lock. Because of its intricate mechanism, this lock was very difficult to pick. Other inventors later upgraded it by adding more tumblers, which made the lock even more difficult to pick.
While being a big step forward in terms of security, this progress was also a step back in terms of design. During that period, locks started to be manufactured solely for the purpose of protection – no effort was made to make them look beautiful or elegant. The need for attractive looking lock designs was simply not thought of.
The Era of Designed Locks
In the Twentieth century, more sophisticated locks were developed, such as push button locks, timer locks (used in bank vaults) and electronic locks, which functioned with a card key that resembles a credit card. In order to market them, the need for attractive designs has emerged.
Homeowners embraced this change and such devices as lock handles and keys stopped being just practical tools in the eyes of many. Their aesthetics started to matter and the demand for locks that not only provided a high security level but also looked inspiring has been growing ever since.
Nowadays, the technical capabilities of many locks go hand in hand with their aesthetics and finishes. Many advanced smart locks that are used in high-tech businesses have a futuristic look, while people who want to grant their houses a welcoming, comfy appeal – use more traditional locks designs.
Locks now go beyond mere protection—personal style adds to their value. Custom lock designers are fulfilling homeowners’ requests by creating a variety of styles (traditional, contemporary, couture, rustic and many more) to match the aesthetics of their homes. In case you’re not sure about what locks are best for your home, you can always consult an experienced locksmith service to help you out.
The best custom designed locks are made from high-quality materials (which are different from the standard materials that are used for ordinary house locks). The manufacturing process of custom designed locks is not simple, thus they will cost more than the usual. Just like luxury watches, custom designed locks have become a status symbol for many home and business owners and some luxury locks reach astronomic prices today. The future of locks, looks not only secure, but also well designed!