Antique Locks…

The study of historical or antique locks and keys is a sector of Industrial Archaeology. Not only does it look at the various ways in which a mechanical device achieves its aim, but also tells about the basic need tone  to protect and secure property and possessions. It also reminds us of another, darker, aspect of the human instinct!                                                                           

Of course, there are also interesting stories surrounding some interesting artifacts. Like any custodian of a collection of artifacts research into their use and background is imperative to aid in both historical knowledge and current fascination.

Take for instance,  the Boda-Panza lock and its association with Von Ribbontrop –Hitlers foreign minister, just before WWII. In addition, review the interesting relationship of King George III and George Davis of Windsor– the locksmith in ordinary to His Majesty. Davis, in 1799, invented and patented a unique style of lock– which was also beautifully engraved with a warning not to make duplicate keys. Sensitive government secrets always demanded locks that were state of the art. Davis locks ended up on government dispatch boxes of the time. Our research takes us on many adventures in search of treasure, not so much the contents of strongboxes and safes, but those actual objects of the locksmiths craft of past ages is the “treasure” actively sought out, and this also very often extends both collections and knowledge.

These fascinating aspects are what these virtual History of Locks Museum pages are all about and will hopefully bring some of the mysterious objects of the locksmiths’ art and craft alive. Attempts to gather and display the beautiful and ingenious items of metalwork and also books, manuscripts, catalogues, and other printed matter on the subject continue to inspire and motivate history fanatics. We all know the analogy of a grain of sand doesn’t make a beach… but hopefully with enough snippets of information a more complete picture can be built, understood and enjoyed. (

                                              the antique loft