Codelocks specialises in both electronic and mechanical coded locks. Our aim is to provide a suitable lock for every application and environment – from the home to the factory. With such a diverse range of locks on offer, we are often asked to explain the differences between mechanical and electronic locks. Many assume that because electronic locks draw on 21st century technology, they are somehow better; but the truth is that electronic locks draw on the same design principles as their mechanical counterparts. In this blog, we will take a closer look at mechanical locks in order to understand why they have stood the test of time.
A history lesson
The mechanical lock and key can be traced back to Ancient Egypt, some four thousand years ago. This ancient civilisation managed to craft a simple pin tumbler lock entirely from wood, providing the foundations for the modern pin tumbler lock that we still use today.
It took another three thousand (circa 870AD) years for an all-metal lock to make an appearance on the streets of England. In the centuries that followed, locksmithing became a highly skilled and sought-after craft across the globe. From the first Bramah locks in the 18th century, to the Eureka, a five-tumbler bank vault lock first used by the US Treasury Department, the history of the humble lock is fascinating. Even Louis XVI, the last King of France was an avid locksmith in his spare time.
The majority of locks today are still variants of the designs invented by Joseph Bramah, Jeremiah Chubb and Linus Yale in the 18th and 19th centuries. Developments now come in form of improvements to the technology surrounding the locking mechanism, something Codelocks prides itself on.
What’s the difference?
Electronic locks still use the same bolt or cylinder designs seen in mechanical locks, but with the addition of a motor and an actuator to control access via digital means. There are a range of benefits to electronic locks – namely they are easy to install and customise – but there are also traits that need to be taken into consideration. For example, electronic locks require a power source (either wired in or standalone battery), which means they require some level of maintenance.
Mechanical locks, of course, utilise mechanical components and so are largely maintenance free and well suited to high traffic or extreme weather applications. They are almost always more affordable than their electronic cousins, and just because they are mechanical, does not mean they are simplistic or lack the features seen in electronic locks. Codelocks provides a wide range of mechanical pushbutton locks that match the capabilities of many electronic locks pound for pound.
So, if you are considering refreshing your locks, don’t discount your mechanical options. The fact that mechanical lock designs have gone unchanged for over 150 years speaks volumes about the reliability of their design. As the saying goes, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.