How much do you know about skeleton keys? You might collect them because you admire how they look. Or, you’re stockpiling them because you want to put them into a Halloween-themed craft display. The skeleton key is much older than you think, so here is your all-access pass to this key. Bone up on it!
What Does It Do?
Asking what a skeleton key does is a fantastic question. In simplest terms, skeleton keys are used to open up almost any lock. They’re also called pass keys, mainly because they can unlock warded locks. It’s a common misconception that these keys get their name from their uncanny resemblance to a skull. However, the name comes from how the key is just the essentials – two main parts, called the shank and the tooth. You can also think of a skeleton crew, who are all you need to crew a ship.
The Original Lock and Key
Now that you know more about skeleton keys let’s take a trip back in time. The invention of the lock and key system goes all the way back to the time of ancient Babylon and Egypt. These wooden devices were invented to protect valuables, but they were cumbersome and easy to overcome. The Romans took these early concepts and refined them using metals like iron and bronze.
Both of these metals proved to be so resilient that the design and function didn’t change all that much until the mid-1800s with the innovation of the flat key. Even today, you’ll still find mortise locks that accept skeletons; they declined after World War II ended due to the popularity of the pin tumbler lock, which made them impractical.
Why Are They Fascinating?
Impractical or not, these keys are still fascinating to us. Part of the reason for this is that keys, in general, remain a marvel of human ingenuity. Keys are used as symbols in many different and unexpected ways. For instance, there are multiple references to keys found throughout in the Bible, and influential people are often awarded the key to the city which is purely symbolic, but it means they’re welcome everywhere in town. Even beyond that, there’s just an air of mystery about these keys, like there’s some secret magic that only the holders of the skeleton keys can know.
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!