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Encyclopedia > Warded lock

A warded lock is a type of lock that uses a set of obstructions, or wards, to prevent the lock from opening unless the correct key is inserted. The correct key has notches or slots corresponding to the obstructions in the lock, allowing it to rotate freely inside the lock. Warded locks are commonly used in inexpensive padlocks, cabinet locks, or other low-security applications, since they are among the most easily circumvented by lock picking. A well-designed skeleton key can successfully open a wide variety of warded locks. Locksmithing is the science and art of making and defeating locks. ... Lock picking is the art of unlocking a lock without its intended key. ... A number of different keys A single key A key is a device which is used to open a lock. ...

The key enters the lock through a keyhole.
The key enters the lock through a keyhole.
When the key is fully inserted, a cavity in the tip of the key fits over a cylindrical post inside the lock. This provides a pivot point about which the key can rotate.
When the key is fully inserted, a cavity in the tip of the key fits over a cylindrical post inside the lock. This provides a pivot point about which the key can rotate.
The notches in the key align with the obstructions, or wards, allowing it to rotate freely. In rotating, the key may then activate a lever or sliding bolt to open the lock.
The notches in the key align with the obstructions, or wards, allowing it to rotate freely. In rotating, the key may then activate a lever or sliding bolt to open the lock.

Image File history File links Illustration of a warded lock created by Wapcaplet in Blender and touched up in GIMP. File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Illustration of a warded lock created by Wapcaplet in Blender and touched up in GIMP. File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Illustration of a warded lock created by Wapcaplet in Blender and touched up in GIMP. File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ...

History

The warded lock is one of the most ancient lock designs still in modern use. It is thought to have been developed in ancient Rome. Ancient Rome was a civilization that existed in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East between 753 BC and its downfall in AD 476. ...


Design

In the most basic warded lock, a set of obstructions, often consisting of concentric plates protruding outwards, blocks the rotation of a key not designed for that lock. Warded locks may have one simple ward, or many intricate wards with bends and complex protrusions; the principle remains the same. Unless the notches or slots in the key correspond to the wards in the lock, the key will strike an obstruction and will not turn.


A cylindrical post is typically located in the center of the lock. Its purpose is to provide a point of leverage for rotating the key, and to help correctly align the key with the wards. The key has a corresponding hole which fits over the post.


When the correct key is inserted, it will clear the wards and rotate about the center post. The key may then strike a lever, activating a latch or sliding bolt, or it may itself push against the latch or bolt. In a double action lever lock, the key may additionally push against a spring-loaded lever which holds the sliding bolt in place.


  Results from FactBites:
 
Lock Picking for Lock Makers : Oldlocks.com (1886 words)
Even though warded locks reached a high degree of sophistication as an art form in the 18th Century they provided little security and often relied on trickery such as false keyholes, hidden keyholes and keyhole covers with hidden latches.
The second method of picking warded locks was to take an impression of the wards and make a pick or false key to fit.
In a perfect lock the levers could not be trapped and thus the lock would be virtually impossible to pick.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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