A Brief History of Padlocks

A Brief History of Padlocks

Padlocks are iconic when it comes to security measures, but you might take them for granted.

Padlocks are iconic when it comes to security measures, but you might take them for granted. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about the history of padlocks, then all you have to do is stay awhile and listen.

First Invented by the Romans

As far as we know, the Romans came up with the notion of padlocks in or around 500 BCE. Locks made of iron featured a metal bolt that held the lock closed. Keys were needed to open these locks. Some metal was bent at 90 degrees to create a basic key, and while it wasn’t fancy, it worked. At some point, it must have captured the imagination of Chinese merchants, because contact between the Romans and Chinese help spread the idea of padlocks to other parts of the world.

Distributed by the Chinese

You might have heard of the Silk Road, that famous trade route that helped connect east with west. The Chinese had their own empire, which helped create and maintain the Silk Road. By the time 25 CE came around, padlocks were all over the country. However, the one major difference between Roman-style locks and Chinese-style is that the Chinese started to use bronze instead of iron, and at some point, the idea reached Europe by way of the Vikings.

Modified by the Europeans

The English were the next to advance the concept of a padlock. The smokehouse was a feature of life in England, but thieves, both human and animal, would always be able to find their way inside. The Roman-style iron padlocks were brought back into fashion to protect the smokehouses. But one significant upgrade appeared in the former of unique notches, which would pair a single key with a corresponding lock.

Popularized by Industrialization

We owe our modern world to industrialization. With the success of industrialization, we now have so many things we’d otherwise miss in our modern lives – electronic key cards, keyless entries, computers, even our smartphones that we can use to lock and unlock our homes remotely.

Industrialization made the locksmith’s job much easier as each lock and padlock no longer had to be made by hand. Instead, machines took over. Improvements on the standard lock design didn’t always take off; die-casting was an attempt in the early 20th century to revolutionize how locks were made, but they didn’t become as popular as hoped.  

Village Lock & Key is the Key to Your Success!

You might wonder, what makes us unique? We’re the only locksmith shop in all of Howard County, Maryland. Visit our location at 8970C Old Annapolis Road in Columbia, or reach us over the phone at 410-997-5969 (local calls) or toll-free at 800-966-9911. Are you on social media? Come and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn!




This entry was posted on Friday, April 6th, 2018 at 3:28 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.