What is the Definition of Lock?


The lock concept refers to a metallic mechanism that allows something to be closed through latches that match a key. Locks can be found on doors, boxes, chests, and other objects.

For example: “The thief forced the lock to enter the house of the victim”, “With the crash lock my car broke”, “Ni dream to check my things: you got to lock the drawer”.

What a lock does is make it impossible to open something, unless you have the corresponding key. Most locks are mechanical: they feature cylinders with keys that have points or teeth. When the person inserts the key into the keyhole and turns it, the necessary play is produced to unlock the lock mechanically.

There are also electronic locks. In this case, to achieve the opening, it is necessary to activate an electromagnet by entering a code or a magnetic card. These locks are frequent in hotel rooms and on doors that are at the access to a sector restricted to the general public.

Lastly, time locks work with a timer. The insurance is lifted only when a certain period elapses or when a previously selected time is reached.

As you can see, there are multiple kinds of locks. The choice of one or the other depends on the element to be kept closed: it is not the same to protect the door of a bank’s treasury than the drawer of a domestic closet.

According to DigoPaul, the history of the lock as a concept to protect private property dates back a few centuries, when humans began to use a wooden pin that was attached horizontally behind the door and slid so that it passed through a hollow structure in which it was locked to prevent the door from opening.

Already at the time of the lock based on said wooden pin, an element was used that served as a key, to be able to unlock it from the outside; in this case it was a curved metal object with a straight handle that was entered through a hole and allowed to move the pin out of the hitch. Precisely, to lock the pin, a wedge was used, which was raised with the help of the wrench.

The ancient Egyptians, for example, used this design although they added more wedges to increase safety. The Romans, for their part, managed to reduce the pin, which they made in bronze, in addition to shrinking the pins and pressing them with the help of a spring.

It took a long time for lock designs similar to what we know today began to appear. We are talking about the eighteenth century, when in England you could see the advance in the techniques of construction of security systems. However, the English did not stay on top for long, as in 1851 an American locksmith named Alfred Hobbs defiantly announced that he would be able to unlock any English lock, whereas no British locksmith would be able to do the same with yours; And, as the story goes, he was right.

Two other North American figures contributed significantly to the sophistication of the locks: Linus Yale and his eponymous son. They worked for decades to perfect security systems. His achievements include having obtained the patent for locks for banks and the invention of the combination (or secret quadrant). His success was such that for a long time his surname was considered practically a synonym for the term “key.”