Facts About Keys and Locks

Do you have keys in your pocket? If so, you are carrying around a piece of history. The keys that we use today come in all shapes and sizes; some keys open padlocks while others open door locks. 

Many people don’t know much about keys or locks; this should be an exciting read.

Locks originated from China and Egypt as a way of guarding doors. They consisted of wooden planks with holes cut to receive keys that could be inserted into them. These would then prevent the plank from being moved when locked.

Keys were first used in the Bronze Age to open locks on doors and chests. They then became popular during medieval times when people started using them for opening locks and as weapons or symbols of power.

Keys changed again during Victorian times when new technologies such as keys for electric locks were introduced. Keys are now made from a variety of materials, including metal and plastic. They can also be computerized, with sophisticated keys storing up to 20 different keys on them.

Keys became more sophisticated over time, with locksmiths specializing in making keys for specific buildings or rooms within them, such as homes and offices. 

A key opens a lock by rotating the tumblers inside it. Different keys can be inserted into the same lock, and each one will have a different effect on the lock because of its shape (bitting) and size (shank). Most keys are made from metal or plastic, with teeth that fit precisely into notches within the tumbler shafts.

Keys also have two parts: the key part and the ignition switch. The keys are used to unlock doors, start a car or motorcycle engine, operate copy machines and other devices with locks that only require a person’s hand movement to open them. 

With the advancement in technology, keys are being replaced by cards and tokens that act as keys. These new systems use a chip to store information that is read by an electronic device to open doors, start engines, etc.


Keys and locks have a rich history dating to thousands of years back. At Salem Locksmith, we are glad to take part in the long tradition by offering services on locksmith matters. Keys may sometimes get stolen, lost, or even destroyed accidentally.

Reach out for all locksmith issues, including rekeying your locks and upgrading your locking system.  

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