Keys and locks in ancient Rome

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(ORDO NEWS) — It turns out that the modern key and lock is a very ancient invention. For example, locks made of durable wood were already actively used in ancient Egypt and Greece.

However, most of the “Klyuchnikov patents” still came from Rome , which largely adopted this knowledge from the Etruscans.

Thanks to the excavations carried out in Pompeii and Herculaneum, scientists have been able to understand the daily life of the ancient Romans much better.

Well-preserved in volcanic ash, houses and their interior decoration made it possible to see numerous mechanisms and objects that were used in ancient life. Wooden boxes and cupboards, sometimes with locks, were found in the houses to store jewelry and other valuables.

Despite the terrible catastrophe of AD 79 (the eruption of Vesuvius), the contents of many chests remained relatively intact.

Roman Innovation

The ancient Romans are certainly the first civilization in history to use keys that are very similar to modern ones. They were made of bronze and iron, and sometimes of their alloy; strong wood or bones were also used.

The keys to the locks were small, light and handy to carry with you at all times. It is noteworthy that the Romans came up with an innovation – to bind several keys with a ring. This was convenient if a person had several caskets or chests with valuables.

Keys and locks in ancient Rome 2

The ancient Roman master who made keys and locks must have had great engineering knowledge and great intuition, since everything was done by hand.

In addition, attempts were made in ancient Rome to abandon wooden cylinder locks in favor of their metal versions.

The Romans additionally equipped the mechanism with metal springs, achieving increased reliability and a decent appearance. It is worth adding that all Roman doors could only be opened from one side.

Another Roman invention that we use to this day is the padlock, which appeared between 100-200 AD.

Padlocks were cheaper to manufacture and easier to use than their cylindrical counterparts, but more impractical due to awkward closing and opening.


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