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Under The Lights

Master Key Mechanics: Explaining the Love and Longevity of Locks

Master Key Mechanics in DenverObsolescence and urgency rarely align. Even in the days of rapid innovation where everything can fall out of the bleeding edge of technology in a matter of months, weeks or days, there are things that people cannot let go of just yet. Paper, for instance, has had an objectively better replacement in the form of screens for decades now. Only during recent years has going digital truly displayed how “incapable” paper can be, as evidenced by print media losing revenue to their digital counterparts. But, paper remains relevant, and probably will for the unforeseeable future – much like locks.

How Keys Work

So simple they’re elegant, locks have been the implement of security since the early ages of civilization. The concept of using a key has transcended cultures and the physical realm. Even the digital world borrows the idea of a person vouching for his or her own personal right to entry. There is one key for every one lock, assuming a master key is not involved.

Most people are unfamiliar with the intriguing, possibly hypnotic, pin-and-tumbler mechanism hidden literally behind lock and key. Even after learning how the pin-and-tumbler mechanism works, the knowledge of how master keys can exist may only burrow deeper into obscurity.

How Master Keys Work

How a single key could work with multiple, unique “puzzles” is puzzling in itself. Thankfully, locksmiths from are here to spell the process out in the simplest manner possible:

Locks built for individual keys have pins with two shear lines (or the points that must align in order for the key to turn). Master key-capable locks, on the other hand, have three shear lines, which creates an entirely separate alignment that only the master key can access.

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The future of small-scale security will likely remain reliant on the traditional pin-and-tumbler locks. Despite the surging popularity of card-based access, keys are still the most practical, effective, and iconic way to go in the field of basic individualized security.

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