The Evolution of The Lock

The lock from Ancient Egypt to the present day

Security lock by Jakub Trunec (via Shutterstock).

A padlock has its roots in the Egyptian locking systems. Image by Jakub Trunec (via Shutterstock).

Locks have been used for security purposes since man first decided to keep all of their valuables and belongings to themselves. This dates back to the ancient Egyptian era over 4000 years ago where a wooden type lock was found in the ruins of a palace.

The first kind, used on doors to this day, dates from 2000 BC. An early example was found in the ruins of the Palace of Khorsabad in Iraq. Known as the tumbler lock, it is seen as one as Ancient Egypt’s most seminal architectural developments. The modern-day Yale lock owes a debt to their counterparts, made over 4,000 years ago.

Another seminal point in the development of today’s door locking systems is the creation of what is known as The Gordian Knot. Taking its name from its inventor, the Greek King Gordius, the Phrygian capital city Gordium is reputed to have been named after him.

Leading us to today’s locks are the Bramah and Yale locking systems. For fifty years, Joseph Bramah’s lock was reputed for its impermeability. Being able to pick at the Bramah wasn’t a task for greenhorn lockpickers.

Without the tentative steps taken by Ancient Egyptian civilisations, we would be in a right pickle today. 4,000 years on, today’s locks form a small part of many home or office’s security system. They may be complemented with CCTV cameras, keypad or thumbprint entry, and intruder alarms.

Our Infographic

Here at JR Security Devices, we have produced an infographic on the evolution of the lock starting with these old style Egyptian locks to the more modern and advanced technological security devices which you can purchase on the market today. You’ll be surprised to see that the methods the Egyptians used all those years ago to manufacture the locks are still used in some of today’s more advanced devices.


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JR Security Devices, 22 November 2016.