When Were Padlocks Invented

We have been using different padlocks for years, and we see them everywhere in our daily lives. From your door to lockers, padlocks are being used at various places.

Has it ever happened to you that when you have looked at a padlock right when you enter and exit from your home, you wondered when were padlocks invented and what life would be without them?

If you are the one who wants to know more about padlocks and when they were padlocks invented, then you are in the right place. Continue reading the article, and you will have all your answers in the end.


Padlocks are portable locks usually consisting of three components; body, shackle, and the locking mechanism. They are primarily used to prevent burglary, vandalism, and harm. In addition, they can prevent theft and unauthorized access to a specific area or an object.

The term “padlock” was first used in the fifteenth century, originating from a word of Old English “loc,” meaning hole. Today, padlocks are widely used all over the world to protect certain areas and items. Although padlocks are many centuries old, they have evolved a lot.

Padlocks Invention

Padlocks are being used for thousands of years to act as a barrier to provide security and protection. They were first used in Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Babylon. In several years, padlocks travelled and spread across ancient nations such as China and Rome.

The first Chinese models of padlocks were invented around 1000BC and were getting constant improvements in their features and designs over the years. Firstly, padlocks were used by royalty, nobility, and the elite class.

Two models of padlocks were common; smokehouse locks and simple padlocks with helical keys.

The smokehouse locks were not widely successful because of their lack of function and are easily breakable. The simple padlocks were also not reliable, but they improved over time. Around the 19th century, Scandinavian-style padlocks became popular. Cast heart locks also were being used because of their sustainability in extreme weather.

Nonetheless, padlocks have come a long way from the ancient ones. Padlocks, in those times, were made of silver, bronze, and brass. In ancient China, bronze padlocks were more common. The design and the operational functionality and mechanism of the padlocks have been changed dramatically. Old padlocks were made of materials like wrought iron sheets, bronze, iron, and brass.

As time passed, and as the world gained advancements in resource gathering, tool production, and manufacturing, locksmiths started to create more intricate, secure, reliable, and more substantial padlocks than before.

The basic design and working principle being used today were invented around the late 19th century. The small cartage padlocks were highly reliable and could house a reliable locking mechanism. With the invention of small cartage locks, it became easier to make padlocks at an industrial level.

Modern Day Padlocks

In the early 20th century, Harry Soref invented the laminated padlocks. With the invention of laminated padlocks, die-casting was introduced to the industry.

The modern padlocks come in three essential components; the main body, a shackle which is usually in “U” shape, and a mechanism used for locking. The “security grading” is used to determine how safe and secure a padlock is.

Modern padlocks contain the three major components and a few additional ones, such as weatherproof casing or lamination. The overall protection that a padlock will provide depends directly on how all the components of the padlock work together as a whole. Anti-cropping protection and anti-drill are some of the recent features of padlocks.

Padlock Types

There are many types of padlocks being used today with the same locking mechanism and principle. Some of them are:

Discus style

Discus-style padlocks are primarily used for providing security to the doors of beach huts and sheds.

They are usually used in conjunction with discus hasp and staple sets. The staple set provides an added layer of shield to the shackle of the padlock. Hence, they are also known as “closed-shackle padlocks.”

However, the actual body of discus-style padlocks is not solid. Therefore, they cannot be opened by drilling or force because they are used widely worldwide.

Shutter locks

Shutter locks are used to provide security to the roller shutters in storefronts. Shutter locks, also known as Anvil locks, can also be used in parking locks and motorcycle security chains.

A major application of shutter padlocks is their use in protecting and securing chains. They usually provide high security to chains and other items such as containers.

Conventional style padlocks

Conventional style padlocks can be used in many different ways. Traditional style padlocks offer low-security applications as well as high-security applications. For example, they can be used in low-security applications to provide security to your toolbox or high-security applications like protecting gates and motorcycles.

In addition, they come with different shackle types such as opened, closed, and semi-enclosed.

Shackle Less padlocks

Shackle Less padlocks are not precisely “Shackle Less.” They come with a shackle hidden on the padlocks’ underside, which cannot be seen. Hence the name “Shackle Less padlocks” is being used.

Shackle Less padlocks come in two shapes; they can either be round or rectangular. They are generally used with a security hasp. The design of Shackle Less padlocks is pretty secure, which prevents them from being attacked.

Over the recent years, Shackle Less padlocks have seen more and more uses such as warehouse doors, vans, and cars where protection of opening double doors is required.