Puzzle lock

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A puzzle lock or puzzle padlock is a type of mechanical puzzle. It consists of a lock with unusual or hidden mechanics. Puzzle locks are reconfigurable mechanisms where the topological structure changes during the operation.[1] Such locks are sometimes called trick locks, because there is a trick to opening them which needs to be found. Puzzle locks exist both with keys and without keys.

China[edit]

Puzzle locks with exposed keyholes were widely used in ancient China and can be very tricky to open.[1]

There are three main types in China:[1]

  • Locks with extra obstacle
  • Locks with indirect insertion
  • Multi-stage locks.

Europe[edit]

In Europe, many small puzzle padlocks had front plate with a face or mask. The padlocks were designed to secure small bags or pouches and could be found across Europe with the most around the Danubian provinces and Aquileia.[2] They were often shaped like rings and may have been fitted around the mouth of a bag as a sort of tamper-proof seal.[3] The earliest Roman puzzle locks date back to the 2nd century BCE. [4]

In the 1850s in the UK, "puzzle lock" was synonymous with "letter lock" and used to denote a lettered combination lock.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Hsiao, Kuo-Hung. "On the structural analysis of open-keyhole puzzle locks in ancient china".
  2. ^ Slocum, Jerry. Romano-Celtic Mask Puzzle Padlocks: A Study in their Design, Technology and Security.
  3. ^ Grundhauser, Eric. "The Fashion and Mystery of Ancient Roman Puzzle Locks". Atlas Obscura.
  4. ^ Rhoda, Andrew. "The Jerry Slocum Mechanical Puzzle Collection at Indiana University". Indian State Library. Retrieved 15 November 2021.
  5. ^ Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers. 1854.