Have you ever stopped to think about the humble house key? It's an everyday object that we use without much thought, yet there are actually a lot of interesting and surprising facts about these small but mighty tools.
Are you ready to have your mind blown with some unexpected and surprising facts about house keys? From their ancient history to their modern-day uses, house keys have come a long way and have a rich and fascinating history. Here are 10 surprising facts about house keys that you may not have known.
1. The first known use of a house key dates all the way back to ancient Egypt.
In fact, the history we have of keys started at the very same moment that locks first appeared in ancient Egypt and Babylon. That was some six thousand years ago! Meanwhile, other records indicate it may have been up to 4,000 years ago.
Either way, it’s been thousands of years. Keys in ancient Egypt were often intricately carved and decorated, and were given as gifts or used as a symbol of power and authority.
Of course, back then, keys were made of wood. They were used to lock boxes, doors, and other items, like what we lock nowadays.
These simple devices, made of wood, used small pins hidden in a small opening near the bolt. Egyptians would lift those small pins and unlock the blot using a wooden, toothbrush-shaped key.
2. Keys were Once Used as a Status Symbol
Viking women and citizens of medieval Europe both once wore keys as a symbol of status. They were also considered symbols of wealth. Rich, married Viking women carried keys amongst their personal items, sometimes even sewn throughout their clothing.
In fact, the expression “given to lock and key” originates from the Viking era. Married women held a very strong position, and keys helped express this. When a couple got married, the wife was given keys to symbolize her new status.
And in medieval Europe, keys were often large, and ornate, with intricate designs carved into the metal. They were also often given as gifts to signify trust and friendship.
3. Keys Have Evolved Over Time
The first key-cutting machine was invented in the 19th century, revolutionizing the way keys were made. Prior to the invention of key-cutting machines, keys were made by hand, which was a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. The key-cutting machine allowed for mass production of keys, making them more readily available and affordable for the average person.
Today, there are over 4,000 different key designs, and keys can be made from a variety of materials, including bronze, brass, and even gold. Key technology has also advanced significantly in recent years, with the development of high-tech keys such as smart keys and keys that can only be unlocked with a special code or biometric feature, such as a fingerprint or iris scan.
4. Keys Can be Customized for Security
Bonus fun fact: The key to the White House, the official residence and workplace of the President of the United States, is held by the President's chief of staff and is kept in a secure location at all times.
Some keys are designed to be difficult to duplicate, making them more secure against unauthorized access. These keys may have special security features such as a restricted keyway or a patented design that makes it difficult for unauthorized individuals to create copies.
Keys can also be programmed to grant access to certain areas or times of day, allowing for customizable security. For example, a business owner may program their keys to only grant access to certain employees during working hours, or a homeowner may program their keys to only grant access to certain family members. This allows for greater control over who has access to certain areas and helps to prevent unauthorized access.
Many keys today are equipped with microchips, which can be programmed to only allow access to certain areas or at certain times.
5. Some Keys are Worth A Lot of Money
Some keys are worth more than cars due to their rarity or historical significance. For example, antique keys and keys from famous landmarks can fetch high prices at auctions. Keys from famous buildings or historical sites may be sought after by collectors due to their unique design or historical significance.
6. The World’s Largest Key Weighs 600 Pounds
To be specific, the world’s largest key is a replica of the key to the city of New Orleans, which is over 15 feet long and weighs over a whopping 600 pounds.
7. Keys Can Be Copied with a 3D Printer
In recent years, it has become possible to copy keys using a 3D printer. This means that it is important to keep your keys safe and secure to prevent unauthorized access. If you lose your keys or if you are concerned that someone may have copied your keys without your knowledge, it is a good idea to have your locks rekeyed or replaced.
8. Smart Keys Might be the Future of Door Security
Smart keys are a type of key that can unlock your door with the touch of a button. These keys use Bluetooth technology to communicate with the lock and offer a convenient and secure way to access your home. Smart keys can also be programmed to grant access to certain areas or times of day, allowing for customizable security.
These are just a few of the many surprising facts about keys. From their ancient origins to their modern-day technological innovations, keys have played a vital role in our daily lives and will continue to do so for years to come.