Thursday, May 7, 2009

Linus Yale, Jr.

Today we honor Linus Yale, Jr. for his innovation, which made the combination lock a reality. There are records that suggest the basic premise of a cylinder lock had been invented thousands of years before Yale (by the Egyptians), but he was the first to make a practical lock from the idea. Before combination locks, all locks were based on keys, which Yale believed were innately unsafe due to the possibly of lock-picking. This quote from explains the invention's usefulness:
"Yale stated 9 peculiarities for his Yale Magic Infallible Bank Lock that separated it from its peers: [1] 1. Being without springs, there are none to fail; it is impossible to damage by fire, dampness, or neglect. The design rid itself of the vices of the springs that become rusty or softening by heat or moisture. 2. The lock has a head that is detached from its key-bits, thus leaving a space between the head and the key-hole, making it virtually impossible to be picked. 3. When the key is withdrawn, all print or record of its action is obliterated, and no tell-tale left for duplicate keys to be made 4. Powder proof. No powder can possible be introduced into the lock itself, which eliminates the threat of gunpowder explosions. 5. Permutation lock has the ability to rearrange new key combinations. 6. In the event of a lost key, a duplicate key can be set up to unlock the lock, and upon changing the arrangement of the lock, the lost key will be powerless to open the lock. 7. The portability of the key conveys a vast advantage over traditional bank locks’. 8. Every motion of the lock is derived from movement of the hands rather than elements beyond the operator’s control, such as dirt, rust, or memory. 9'. The lock is not liable to get out of order, having been made by first class machinists.
Before Yale decided to join the family lock business (his father held patents on locks as well), Yale was an artist. Those skills came in handy as he left detailed drawings of his intricate inventions. Ultimately, he was more than inventor; Yale went on to manufacture, market and sell his locks with his partners, John and Henry Towne. Yale's combination lock mechanism is still used to secure safes today. We honor Yale today for taking his private property and creating great wealth for himself and others.

Linus Yale, Jr.'s Wikipedia page
Linus Yale, Jr. on

1 comment:

UNRR said...

This post has been linked for the HOT5 Daily 5/10/2009, at The Unreligious Right