How Do Door Locks Actually Work

Have you ever stopped to wonder how door locks actually work? The world would have been a completely different place without door locks and keys. A door lock is a device that helps keep your valuables and belongings safe.

Before the modern electronic age, door locks were mostly mechanical and made of intricate elements such as wheels, gears, cams, and levers.

Then from about the mid-20th century, locks started to incorporate electrical and electronic mechanisms. So with all of this in mind, in this article, we will take a look at the following:

  • What Is A Door Lock?
  • Different Types Of Door Locks
  • How Does A Door Lock Really Work?

What Is A Door Lock?

A door lock can protect your home or commercial establishment from intruders and thieves. Your valuables and belongings are protected because of door locks.

That’s why you should have some sort of an idea of how a door lock actually works. The latest locks are based on electronics and electrical mechanisms. The modern locks that protect your computer are based on encryption.

It’s a method of securing data using highly complex mathematical equations.

The first pin and tumbler lock was made entirely from wood. It was developed in ancient Egypt in 4000 BCE. Robert Barron developed the double-acting lock in 1778.

A prolific English inventor named Joseph Bramah patented the high-security Bramah lock in 1784. He offered a reward of 200 guineas to anyone who could crack the Bramah lock.

Harry Soref – the founder of the Master lock company – developed the secure modern padlock in 1924.

Different Types Of Door Locks

There are all different types of door locks out there. All these locks work in a slightly different way to each other. Ward locks were the oldest as well as the simplest.

This lock looks like any other lock from outside and from the inside, it’s curved and has metal pieces jutting out. These pieces will exactly line up with the holes in a particular key.

Tumbler locks are 19th-century locks that are more secure and sophisticated than the older locks. It comes in the form of the cylindrical tumbler or a Yale lock. There are over 500 different patents for tumbler locks.

Electronic locks don’t have metal keys to open them. You have to open such a lock with a plastic card similar to a credit card. The lock has a magnetic chip on its back.

When the card is slid over the lock, an electronic reader circuit will decode the information on the strip before matching it with a code stored inside.

How Does A Door Lock Really Work?

Mechanical locks have two separate physical parts such as a sturdy metal reinforcement part that is fitted to the frame of the door and the mortise or the part of the lock that will fit into the rectangular hole in the door.

The mortise consists of a metal element that rotates a heavy bolt into/out of the reinforced hole. This bolt will slide from side to side when you rotate the key clockwise or anticlockwise.

The other essential part of a door lock is the set of moving or fixed metal pieces known as tumblers. These tumblers will engage with the key with the slots that are cut into the key.

You need to engage the key, turn the cam and slide the bolt, and the door will open.