Origins of ordinary things: Padlocks

Since the beginning of time, people have always been cautious of theft, vandalism and sabotage whenever their property is left unattended. Consequently, they have always put measures of protection against such criminalities.

Since the beginning of time, people have always been cautious of theft, vandalism and sabotage whenever their property is left unattended. Consequently, they have always put measures of protection against such criminalities.

The earliest protection measure was the use of ropes tied in knots. This was not very effective as ropes could easily be cut. However, they were not completely useless since cutting the rope would make it obvious to the owner of the property that someone had tampered with it.

According to ThoughtCo, an online education platform, the oldest known lock to be found by archaeologists is estimated to be 4000 years old. It was made of a wooden bolt. This type of padlock is said to have originated from ancient Egypt.

After Egypt, the use of padlocks spread to Greece and Rome. The appearance of padlocks in ancient Rome, according to Wikipedia the online encyclopedia, occurred around 500 Before the Common Era (BCE). Early Roman padlocks were made of rounded iron plate bodies which were held together with a chain.

By 25 AD, there was trade between ancient Rome and Asiaand this resulted in padlocks making their way to China. However, according to United Locksmith, a locksmith service in the United States, 25 AD China padlocks, unlike those of Rome, were made of bronze. They were also quite similar to the ones of today, using either used keys or letter combination locks.

Although padlocks were widely used, it took a long time before their manufacture was made industrial. The first patent for making safety padlocks was given to a man from Yorkshire named Joseph Bramah in 1784. According to the online-based Trivia Library, Bramah had so much confidence in his lock that he offered 200 guineas to anyone who could open it. No one succeeded.

In the 18th century, according to Locks, a locks company, lock-picking became rampant. As such, improvements such as keys with changeable bits, alarm bells, and ring padlocks were made.

Up to this point, padlocks were made on a small scale due to technological constraints. With access to electricity in the 1900s, it became easier to make modernised padlocks. As a result, locksmiths made many styles and improvements. This is according to ThoughtCo.

At the turn of the 20th century, the use of machinery put a stop to manual production of padlocks. It was around this time that locksmiths started to get out of business. Now, padlocks were massively produced so they became cheap.

The 21st century has presented many modern alternatives to padlocks. People can now use fingerprints, alarm systems and other countless ways to secure their property. However, padlocks have not yet lost their usefulness and popularity.

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