A physical object that is used to open a lock. Keys are inserted into a lock to cause internal components to align, allowing the lock to open. In electronic locks, keys may transmit information electronically rather than manipulate physical components.
Non-electronic keys are created using aluminum, brass, iron, nickel-silver, steel, or zamak. The material used depends on the type of lock and the required longevity of the key.
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Parts of a Key
- The part of the key that makes contact with internal components. Cuts on the bitting allow internal components to be moved to different positions.
- The shaft of the key which holds the wards, bitting, and cuts.
- The handle which is used to turn the key. Commonly contains the lock manufacturer's logo, the keyway type, and key codes. Bows are generally patented, allowing keys to be quickly associated with certain manufacturers.
- Characters stamped on the bow of the key that define what the cut depths for the key are or what model the keyway is.
- The cuts made on the bitting of the key. Cuts are used to properly align internal components of the lock, allowing the key to actuate the locking mechanism and unlock the lock.
- The profile of the key created by the blade and the wards. This is the inverse of the keyway of the lock.
- The part of the key that connects the bow to the blade. The shoulder is commonly responsible for stopping the key from being inserted further, allowing the cuts to be properly aligned in the lock.
- The end of the key opposite of the bow. Some locks use the tip of the key to align cuts instead of the shoulder.
- Distortions to the blade of the key to prevent it from being used in a lock with a different keyway. Warded locks use this as their primary means of security.
Types of Keys
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