A padlock is a type of portable lock that holds the opening of a ring, chain link or hasp staple together and can hang freely from its U-shaped shackle. It is used to prevent theft or vandalism. Padlocks are small, handy and easy to use. This convenience, a characteristic of padlocks, means they continue to be widely used today.
Nowadays, padlocks come in various forms using different designs and technology. The use of different styles and material in the manufacture of padlocks allows them to be easily adapted for various purposes.
How do padlocks work?
Virtually anything can be locked using a padlock. In early times, they were one of the few mechanical items suitable for daily use by the average person. To the layperson, working a conventional padlock is nothing more than a simple turn of the key (note: a flat grooved key made particularly for the padlock) and clip to lock. While this is the basic movement required to operate a simple padlock, the workings inside which control the function are far more complex.
A padlock consists of three main components; the lock body, a shackle and a locking mechanism. The locking mechanism is at the heart of the padlock and is very similar to that made by American lock pioneer Linus Yale, Jr. based on a device invented in Egypt. Examining the inside of a padlock reveals two sets of metal pins, upper and lower, running down into the cylinder, locking it in place. The pins come together and lock the cylinder in place until the right key is inserted to unlock the padlock. The right key pushes all the upper pins out of the way, allowing the padlock to open.
The brilliance of a padlock is in its unique mix of simplicity and functionality. Usually, each padlock is designed to fit a unique key. This has an advantage over more complex security methods involving levers and complicated keys. Some padlocks are so sensitive that when the wrong key is inserted, it could get stuck. A key could get broken in the lock when too much force is applied in an attempt to remove it. KC Worthing Locksmiths are experts in removing keys broken in a lock.
The variety of padlock designs means they can suit many different purposes. Padlocks can be used in protecting storage boxes, vending machines, gym lockers, bicycles and motorcycles, windows, toolboxes, gates, windows and so on.
History of padlocks
The long and fascinating history of padlocks can be traced to the Roman, Greek, and Egyptian cultures. Padlocks were invented when there was a need for security. Padlocks in the 17th century featured ward springs and swing shackle joints. They had reinforcement rings fused on, and swirling patterns cut into the body.
Over the centuries little changed in the Roman and Egyptian lock designs for padlocks. The 18th century however brought on changes to the basic padlock mechanisms which have continued to evolve to what we have on the market today.
How much do padlocks cost?
The cost of a padlock varies depending on design and materials used in its manufacture.
How secure are padlocks?
Padlocks are useful for providing certain levels of security. The shackles are made of various durable materials such as stainless steel, hardened steel, boron alloy steel, molybdenum, or brass. Each provides its own level of security. Usually, manufacturers put stamps on the shackle indicating what material it is made of. So, the decision on what padlock to use depends on individual needs.
In the past, the specialised skills of locksmiths were required to construct or repair an entire lock. In modern times as well, a locksmith can examine the level of security needed and determine the amount of risk posed by whatever padlock you chose. KC Worthing Locksmiths are professionals who can recommend the appropriate padlocks to meet your security needs, so making it harder for the criminals.
Newer padlocks go through the process of machining, allowing the padlocks to have a protective “shroud” to hide the shackle from getting cut or sheared or at least make them harder to get cut.