Other Things

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These pages are dedicated to other kinds of locks that have a different mechanism or something else special about them that makes them not fit on one of the other pages.

Roman Stuff

Recent innovations in plowing design in Bulgaria have been beneficial to lock collectors. Bulgaria was occupied by the Romans from about 100 AD until around 300 AD and during that time seem to have lost a great number of keys and locks. A new plow being used in Bulgaria is digging deeper than in the past and has been turning up a lot of Roman artifacts, among them keys and lock parts. Conventional wisdom asserts that the Romans used four different kinds of locking mechanisms, 1. The barbed spring, 2. A variation of the Egyptian pin tumbler, 3. Something similar to the French latch, 4. A simple warded lock with a turning key. Regrettably most parts of their locks were made of wood so we really aren't sure how they worked, however one example seems to have been a popular model, (type 4 above), of padlock as three have turned up recently, it is shown below. The cover has become detached on this one, and there were tricks associated with access to the keyhole and throwing the bolt.

I had two of these roman padlocks in my collection and an interesting feature I have noticed is the figural cover.  One of mine appeared as a female as in the lock below while the other was most definitely a male as shown at the right.  I recently sold my locks for $225.00 each at the Indy collectors show.

The most prevalent key type is the variation on the Egyptian lock, (often worn as rings), and lock bolts are offered regularly on Ebay. The ring keys fetch anywhere from $20.00 to $800.00 while the lock bolts typically range from $.50 to $20.00. Here are a few examples.  One interesting thing is that I have only once seen a bolt and a corresponding key that would operate it.


The Barbed Spring

Probably the first lock mechanism invented after the knot, this mechanism is usually credited to the Chinese or the Persians. It is a simple mechanism which relies on a spring attached to a rod or bar and the bar being inserted into a hole that compresses the spring. Once the spring passes through the hole it expands and acts like the barb on a fish hook to prevent withdrawal of the bar. the illustration demonstrates the principle. there are also a few examples here, some of them are ornamented and some in the shapes of animals. Other examples of the barbed spring may be seen on the Non-US page.


Figural Locks

The barbed spring isn't the only lock that has been made as a figural representation. There have been many different mechanisms put into a figural lock. Here are a couple of interesting ones that have been sold on the net.  The Hubley at bottom is also a cap pistol and was sold as a toy.




Special Purpose

There are many locks made with a specific application in mind. In past times some of these locks were rather interesting for their design and prove to be interesting as collectables today.

Lock for a Pool Cue allowed a
person to leave the cue at the
pool hall without danger of it
being stolen.
A locking buckle used for
luggage, rolled up sales sample
kits and even on money belts.
Data Lost----------------------
A bicycle lock. Used to lock around the
sprocket and chain together.

Signed Lock

There are a few locks around that bear the makers signature but the rarest seems to be the pin tumbler one pictured here. It is a cast lock which bears the signature of Frank E. Best, the inventor of the Interchangeable Core, on the top of the case.


Disc Tumbler

This mechanism should probably have had its own page, but not that many different examples show up for sale. A usually zinc die-cast plug contains many flat tumblers which lock into the shell at one of the two ends with no key inserted or the wrong key. A usually inexpensive lock on which not many people place value unless it has an unusual design on the case. Invented in the middle 1800's, it was far too expensive to produce until improvements were made in the die-casting process in the early-middle 1900's.


Screw Key

The examples below are typical of a screw key lock. Variations in size for this type of lock can be extreme since they have been used for everything from handcuffs to leg irons to securing gun barrels in an armory. There are many replicas available today and the construction is usually very crude.


Hand Made Locks

This example of what may have been a medieval Masterpiece lock is shown at roughly 1/2 size, it measures 13 inches from the end to the tip of the bolt. The ornate filigree work on this lock is typical of locks from the middle ages. The amazing thing is that they were made completely by hand and even the tools used to make them were made by hand. Many Masterpiece locks are adorned with statues and tiny doorways and doors which allow access to the keyhole for the warded lock mechanism. They were produced by a Journeyman locksmith to graduate to Master Locksmith status within the Guild. Some Masterpiece locks will bring very high prices, one seems to have been a bargain.



The Scando

Usually called a Scandinavian because the mechanism is thought to have originated in that part of the world. The mechanism can be compared to a combination lock in that there are round discs inside whose semi-circular slots must be aligned with the shackle to allow unlocking. The difference of course is that these use a key which is usually a cast or malleable iron one. The locks are typically malleable iron and were very popular in the 1800's for use on safes, jails and strongboxes. It is hard to get a good picture since the common red paint has usually worn off leaving the black metal visible. A few were made of brass and they sometimes had a name or logo cast into the side of the case. Later models had a anti-picking feature that was effective, but usually made the key inoperable as well.

OT1H-reserve not sold-$40.00*
Data Lost------------------


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