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The pursuit of lock picking is as old as the lock, which is itself as old as civilisation. But in the entire history of the world, there was only one brief moment, lasting about 70 years, where you could put something under lock and key — a chest, a safe, your home — and have complete, unwavering certainty that no intruder could get to it.
Even if you’re the forgetful type who’s always prone to losing their keys, there’s a good chance your smartphone never gets misplaced. After all, how could you ever risk missing a single tweet or Instagram update? So Schlage is introducing a new electronic door lock called the Sense that adds Bluetooth alongside a glowing keypad allowing you to use your smartphone as a wireless front door key when your hands are too full to type.
With the amount of information they’re expected to ingest every day during high school, it’s a small miracle any student is able to remember the combination of their locker padlock. And it doesn’t get any easier the older you get. So instead of numbers, the Image Lock uses simple shapes and images so you can just make up a story to help you recall its combination.
I’ve been following the smart lock market with great interest. There are some odd ideas, common mistakes and a lot of hyperbole, but also intrepid engineering, smart marketing and a level playing field. For the first time in decades there is serious public interest in locks and it’s pinging the historian in me hard. I’m going to provide some context, refute some dubious claims, and offer my opinion on what’s exciting, what’s overhyped, and what I hope is coming next.
While some people are trying to reinvent the lock by eliminating keys altogether, others solutions, like the XPUZMAG from Taiwan, are going in decidedly different direction — by taking a traditional lock-and-key mechanism and just making it a thousand times more complicated. Warning to the belligerent drunk about town: This lock is not your friend.
Locks are cool, right? They keep you and your precious things safe, prevent potentially-dangerous persons from enacting dangerousness and deter would-be snoopers from reading the thrilling page-turner that is your diary. But you can get more creative than just your basic key and tumbler, like this interesting (and rare) curiosity that features more curves than your average lock .
In the more innocent days of April, we showed you a mystery bike lock that purported to be “unpickable.” A hidden keyhole was supposed to prevent picks from getting into the lock. It seemed rock-solid! Except not really. Of course not! Here’s a guy picking it open with ease.
In April 1851, Alfred C. Hobbs boarded the steamship Washington bound for Southampton, England. His official duty was to sell the New York City-based company Day and Newell’s newest product — the parautopic lock — at a trade show — London’s Great Exhibition. But Hobbs had something a bit more nefarious up his sleeve, or rather in the small trunk that accompanied him on the ship.