6,000 Years Ago: Keys were first seen at the same time locks appeared, which was in ancient Babylon and Egypt. The small wooden devices used small pins, and a wooden toothbrush-shaped key would be used to lift those small pins and unlock the bolt. Unfortunately wood was not the best material, considering that it was not only bulky and heavy, but also easily broken.
700 BC: The next major evolution of the key came in Ancient Rome, where inventors were able to make major leaps and bounds upon the design of the wooden lock. Wood as a material was thrown to the wayside, replaced with iron and bronze, which allowed for stronger and smaller locks, as well as lighter keys.
Aside from materials, another drastic change was the shape of the key. It went from a flat structure with pins on the end to what we would call a skeleton key today., a cylindrical shaft with a rectangular bit at the end. This design continued to be used for 17 centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire.
1800’s: Linus Yale introduced modern flat keys in the 1800s, using a more sophisticated way of regulating the pins, which allowed the design of the key to change drastically. The flat keys were easy to manufacture, and with the invention of key cutting, they could be duplicated quickly.
Today: We continue to use flat keys today, although the process and mechanisms have become sleeker and provide greater security. Keys with magnetic signatures have also come into play, but are mostly used in hotels and office buildings. As mentioned before, passwords and thumbprint recognition can also be seen as evolutions of the key.
Keys have changed drastically over time, but the one thing that remains the same is their purpose. They are used to keep what we deem important safe, and that will never change. Here at Cityside Locksmith, we are just continuing to keep that history alive and well.