Lock is defined on Dictionary.com as, “a device for securing a door, gate, lid, drawer, or the like in position when closed, consisting of a bolt or system of bolts propelled and withdrawn by a mechanism operated by a key, dial, etc (1).” The padlock is defined as, “a portable or detachable lock with a pivoted or sliding shackle that can be passed through a link, ring, staple, or the like (3).”
The focus of this article is on padlocks. Padlocks, as most of you know, are mobile objects allowing a layer of security and non mobility to an object. The two most recognized designs are keyed and combination. Combination padlocks are designed to release when the dials are correctly arranged releasing the locking mechanism within. Some argue that the level of security is low with this option (2). Keyed padlocks on the other hand require a key for operation.
At first padlocks were used “…as a ‘travel’ lock to protect merchandise from brigands along ancient trade routes and seaboards and waterways where commerce was centered (4).” As time has progressed and major developments have been made into the mechanics and overall security of these devices, the uses have not changed. They were and are still used to protect and prevent others from seeing or taking item(s), whether that be money, personal documents, secrets, or people.
One of the things troubling with padlocks, as with most items in today’s market, is picking the best one. With so many to choose from how does one know which is the best? Some characteristics to look out for when shopping for a lock are its size, shackle material, core or cylinder, pins, and anti-drill plates (5).
In this case, size does matter when it comes to padlocks. If the situation allows for it, a bigger lock (taking into consideration the below attributes and others not mentioned) provides more material standing between a potential intruder and the object of envy. Furthermore, the material of the lock plays an important role no matter its size. Alloy and carbide make for strong lock making materials (5).
The difference between an unhardened steel versus an alloy or carbide material is most evident when trying to cut it. A technique some intruders choose to gain access. Further, a lock made with a hard material featuring a closed shackle will only decrease the chances of cutting the lock at its weakest point.
Lastly, the core or cylinder of the lock can make the difference between security and lack thereof. A core with more pins is better than a core with less. The increased number of pins will equally increase the difficulty in successfully picking the lock. In addition, anti drill plates installed in the core, allowing the core to spin when penetrated by a drill, decrease the probability of drilling out the lock (5).
Obviously, the lock that encompasses more of these attributes and other good measures not mentioned here, will make that padlock the best option. Other things to research when looking for a padlock is the locks security rating which theoretically should be based on the accompanying security attributes (5) and not on misleading marketing techniques. Locks are important and the decision to buy one should be well researched and appropriate for the setting. If the item is valuable enough to be locked up, the very thing keeping it locked up should be of the highest caliber.
1. lock. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Retrieved January 30, 2016 from Dictionary.com website http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/lock
2. Security Snobs. (copyright 1999-2016). Types of Locks. Retrieved January 30, 2016 from
SecuritySnobs.com website https://securitysnobs.com/Types-Of-Locks.html
3. padlock. (n.d.). Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved January 30, 2016 from Dictionary.com website http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/padlock
4. Locks.ru. Schlage’s History of Locks. Retrieved January 30, 2016 from http://www.locks.ru/germ/informat/schlagehistory.htm
5. Winton, Wayne. (Wayne Winton: Youtube Account). How to Choose The Best Padlock. Retrieve from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3E0WufOv93w
6. Muscol. English: Turkish handmade locks in cingil el sanatlari. 2009. Retrieved from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TurkishHandmadePadlocks.jpg