Locks and keys belong to the
list of the most ancient mechanisms used by humanity. The oldest lock
discovered dates back to 4,000 years. It was used in ancient Egypt. The urge
to protect one's belongings from others led to the discovery of the basic forms
of lock and key. It originated with the idea of personal property. The first
locks were made of metal. The Greeks had used a kind of lock that bolted doors
from the inside. It was just a plain wooden bolt and staple, with a sickle
shaped wooden or iron key used to lift the bolt.
The Romans made the first metal
locks. Roman keys and keyholes had elaborate designs, such as birds and
flowers. The ward locks, in which projections around the keyholes prevented the
lock from being turned without the proper key, were a Roman invention. Very
much in use even now, ward locks are relatively easier to pick. Padlocks came
next. The Russians, Chinese, Turkish and the Indians used ornate metal padlocks
in which the keyhole was often concealed. During the 18th century, the English
developed more complicated locks, including the double-tumbler lock, the basis
of all lever locks even now.
These days, people are more than
ever worried about making their houses and belongings secure.
A strong front door is
considered as the basic requirement for making any house burglar-proof. Though
a wide variety of doors are made these days, the type of locks fitted on the
doors depends on the customers' preference. Points out an employee at Manual
Wood Industries, a leading door manufacturer in Kochi, "We usually fix the locks
selected by the customers."
Securing the doors is generally
about investing in a good lock and key system for the house-builders. An
additional iron cross bar fixed on the inside of the door is the maximum that
people resort to in improving the strength of the door.
However, the security division
of Godrej, one of India's leading lock manufacturers,
gives its customers a few tips on securing the front door. It is suggested that
all main doors should ideally be made up of solid wood of at least 35 mm
thickness. This is needed to accommodate a good quality lock and other
A solid wooden frame is another
requirement to enhance the sturdiness of the main door structure. Glass panels
or stained glass windows around the main doors are not advisable as they
increase the possibility of a break in.
A peephole to check out the
visitors outside is a necessity for front doors. Likewise, a door safety chain
is another must to prevent the possibility of a forced entry.
A wide variety of high-tech
locks and keys are now being marketed. The prices of these locks range anywhere
from Rs.6,000 to Rs.15,000 for the upper end products.
The price varies with the finish of the handle set and key.
The ideal lock system for the
main door is said to be one with a high key combination. These days, electronic
locks using advanced technology are becoming popular. The e-keys have over 19
trillion lakh key combinations, which ensure non-interchangeability.
These locks operate without keyholes, mostly with an electronic eye helping to
open the lock. Card locks are also gaining popularity, especially in hotels and
The e-lock system has changed
the lock and key concept drastically. With the most modern software, any number
of cards could be configured according to the customer's needs. Even the time
of opening the lock could be traced while using the e-lock and key system.