Locks and keys are the major line of defense that most people utilize to protect their valuable possessions. Often in our materialist age, we purchase items, make money, and buy much more stuff. People are just what we own—and the thing standing between a lifetime of gradually amassed, valuable belongings and immediate poverty is the lock on the door. Locks, therefore, are indispensable items, but have you at one time stopped to wonder exactly how they work? Let’s have a closer look!
WHAT IS A LOCK?
Simply put, a lock is a tool that holds possessions secure or prevent access to something that requires protection. The locking mechanism is capable of holding things out (protecting houses from burglars and banks from robbers) or helps to keep them in (keeping criminals behind bars or animals in zoos). Before the modern digital age, locks were entirely mechanical using intricate mechanisms built with wheels, gears, levers, and cams.
In the mid-20th century, locking mechanism became more sophisticated and also programmed and began to integrate electronic and electrical features. But this time information is important as well, and a lot of it is kept inside hundreds of thousands of computer systems that are all connected via the net. Modern locks that secure computer systems are based on encryption—a means of protecting data with the use of complex mathematical procedures.
HOW DO LOCKS WORK?
Almost all mechanical locks are fixed to stuff like doors and cupboards while having two physically split parts. One part is mounted to the frame (the static component of the door) and is usually a durable, metal support for a hole cut into the door itself (to prevent opening the door forcefully after being locked).
The second part of the lock goes into a rectangular hole in the door (referred to as a mortise) and comprises a metal component that maneuvers a massive bolt into or out from the bolstered hole. The bolt (usually named a deadbolt) slides from side-to-side whenever you turn a key either anticlockwise or clockwise, so it is operated by a device that is designed to convert rotary motion into reciprocating motion—something similar to a crank or cam. Basically, this involves the turning key and the sliding bolt. If that were everything that a lock consisted, every single key would be able to open any lock. Hence, some other vital component of a lock’s mechanism is some static or moving metal pieces (tumblers or wards) that have slots cut into the key, making sure just one key can spin, rotate the cam, slide the bolt, and then open the door.
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