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Pin Tumbler Locks: Then and Now

Pin Tumbler Locks: Then and Now
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Home locks are among the first things you see whenever you open the door to your house. People see them too often that they are no longer interested on the workings of the same. For them, as long as the locks function well, that is good enough for them. However, since these mechanisms are intrinsically involved in your business, our locksmith company discovered how they came to be what they are now. For us, understanding the development of this item would help us render locksmith services better.

Pin tumbler locks, otherwise known as the Yale locks (after the name of the manufacturers), is a mechanism that makes use of pins with varying lengths. The purpose of such variation is to prevent it from opening if the incorrect is the one inserted. Nowadays, the aforementioned pins are also used in cylinder and tubular pin tumbler locks.

Discovery and Development

Pin Tumbler LocksThe first ever tumbler lock in history was discovered in Iraq, specifically among the Palace of Khorsabad ruins. Based from historic records, it can be garnered that the basic principles employed in the making of this particular lock can be traced to Egypt as early as 4000 B.C. Initially, it comprised of a post made of wood that is affixed to a door. To lock it, one has to slide the bolt affixed to the wall into the post. Said bolt has various vertical openings whereby pins can fit in. Using the key, these pins will then be lifted side that the bolt can be moved, locking or unlocking the door. At that time, this mechanism was considered a major development in Egyptian architecture.


From that period, this door lock had not undergone any major change until 1805. It was in this year when a patent was granted in England to Abraham O Stansbury, an American physician who improved the lock by incorporating in it double-acting pins. His version was based on the Egyptian locks and the tubular pin tumbler lock by Joseph Brahmah. Years later, Stansbury was again granted a patent, this time in the United States. In 1848, the modern pin tumbler lock was invented by Linus Yale, Jr. His version was an improved form of that designed by his own father. His, however, was smaller and flat with several serrated edges and pins of different lengths. Essentially, it is a modernized version of the Egyptian lock.


If you want to know more about this type of lock, how it works and all that, you can contact our lockout service company for more information.

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