When Was the Modern Lock Invented?

Locks have been around for thousands of years, but the kind of lock we use today is less than 200 years old. In 1817, the British government offered a prize to anyone who could design a lock that couldn’t be picked open by a thief.

A man named Jeremiah Chubb presented a lock that he said was safe. To test the lock, the government gave it to a lock-picker who was in jail, offering him his freedom if he could pick the lock. He tried for ten weeks, but couldn’t open the lock. In all the years since this kind of lock was invented, no one has ever been able to pick it open!

This kind of lock is rarely used today in the home. The kind of lock most people have in their doors was invented in 1861, by an American named Linus Yale. It’s called a cylinder lock.