Invention by Design Name: Institution: A key is one of the most widely used things. This simple metal form that draws back a latch when inserted into an opening and turned has evolved over the years since the Roman times to the present generation. Yet it still faithfully serves its essential function of securing things and has become part and parcel of our lives…
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consisted of giant wooden rods. Although the keys have undergone tremendous evolution, the locking mechanism is fundamentally similar to the one used in the ancient times which relied on sliding tumblers into place (French, 1996). Most of the ancient Roman locks were less sophisticated. Essentially, the locks used simple mechanisms to draw back the bolt once the key was inserted and turned. The Roman keys of these times were made of bronze and it featured a hole so that the key would be carried on a chain. As previously noted, the key was largely a status symbol and security device. Thus the wealthy had to carry it prominently and keep it close to themselves at all times. Also, during this period, the evolution of the form of the key became more aligned towards aesthetics. The ornamentation of the keys evolved so that wealthy could prominently carry it. One way for a person to display their prominence during this period was by carrying big key featuring beautifully engraved designs. The engineering behind the key was adapted to suit the needs of the elite to show off their significance. During the ancient times, the key was almost exclusively used only by the rich. This was because only the rich people had valuables like jewelry to secure. The demand for keys was thus limited to the small elite class. On top of this, draconian rules were imposed on who could make the locks and for whom. To ensure security, a person could only obtain a key for a lock that they had. In fact, it was a heinous crime in ancient France for an artisan to make a key for the wrong guy. In the 18th and 19th century, the revolution brought about by industrialization had started in most parts of Europe. Issues of theft became more prevalent since the ancient locks were easily picked. The need to make locks secure became a major driving force for the locksmiths of the time. Some locks were whereby any person using the wrong key would get clamped or get shot by a pistol hidden in the lock. In the 1800s, Joseph Bramah, and Jeremiah Chubb reinvented the tumbler system used in the ancient world. They modified it to make tumbler locks that used a lever. It was much harder to pick these locks; but they were finally picked in 1851 (French, 1996). The modern key was designed and patented 1865 by an American known as Linus Yale. Yale’s design was different from the ancient models he put the tumblers and bolt mechanism inside the door. The key for the locks that he designed were much smaller and thinner. The lock mechanism used pins that had varying lengths which prevented the opening of the lock aithout the right key (French, 1996). Comparison between the key and the paperclip The evolution of the key and paperclip were both motivated by a real want in the society. The key was invented to serve the need of securing valuables while the paperclip was invented to serve the need of holding papers together temporarily. Both of these devices were designed to serve a glaring need. It should be noted that the demand for both the paperclips and the key grew incrementally as more people found that they served practical needs. Also, the initial designs of both devices were far from perfect and thus they had to undergo continuous improvements over time. The inventors had to work with the prevailing constraints with a view of finding the optimum solutions. In the process of refining the inventions, the engineers had to factor
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