A Brief History of Antique Master Locks

Keeping our home and belongings safe has been a concern since the beginning of time. From cavemen protecting their food to financial institutions protecting thousands of dollars, the need for protection will always be here. However, the history behind the lock is quite impressive. From antique master locks to biometric scanning, the advancements over time have been significant. Thus, if you find yourself in need of a locksmith, choosing one like Hayden Safe and Lock can prove beneficial.

Early Days

The oldest discovered lock dates back almost 4,000 years. Discovered in the Khorsabad Palace ruins near Nineveh, the lock resembled the common Egyptian door barrier. This large wooden bolt was used to secure a door closed. To further secure the lock, holes were filled with wooden pegs preventing the bolt from being opened.


The first of its kind, the warded lock was also prevalent in earlier times. This metal locking mechanism first appeared between the years of 870-900 in ancient China and Rome. This type of lock uses a set of obstructions, or wards, to stop the lock from opening without the insertion of the correct key. Much like our present-day lock and key system. However, in earlier days the lock was typically bolted to a door with a rim mounted mechanism.

Furthering progression on innovations, in 1778, Robert Barron made the first genuine attempt at enhancing security. With his invention of the double-acting tumbler lock, Barron pushed the lock to the next level. Requiring the lever to be lifted in height by the key, the locking bolt had a slot cut into the lever. Thus, raising the lever too far was as bad as not lever the lever far enough.

Modern Day

Although more advancements were made throughout the years, it was 1857 that brought modern-day technologies. James Sargent, the inventor of the time lock mechanism, created the general guideline for today’s banking security systems. Typically mounted on the inside of vault doors and safes, the time lock generally requires a dual combination lock. Powered by a set time, the mechanism will lock down your vault until the certain amount of specified time passes.

Still, today, innovations are pushing limits. The possibilities are only as small as your imagination when it comes to what technology can do for us. For instance, consider the keyless lock. An invention utilizing biometric data and scanning, keyless locks can also rely on a predetermined series of numbers.

No matter what environment you’re in, there is always a need for a locking mechanism. At Hayden Safe and Lock, we take security seriously. Whether it’s residential, institutional, or automotive, we have your needs covered. We can even help assist with antique master locks that you may have stumbled upon. Visit us online, or call today to see how we can help keep safety at the optimal level (978) 744-0988.

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