Thursday, August 10, 2017

Leftovers Day 10 -- What's the Combination?

Combination locks date back to the Romans when multi-dial locks were used. The first commercially-viable single-dial lock was invented in 1910 by American Lock Company.

I found this Elgin lock with it's original instructions at a garage sale some time ago.

The lock is opened in a similar fashion to modern Master Locks, although the numbers only go up to 12 instead of 39. The combination numbers are all whole numbers, so I'm not sure why they have the incremental marks between. Perhaps to make it look more complex than it is.

Given the possible 3 of 12 numbers combinations, and assuming the numbers can't be repeated, mathematically, the possible permutations of numbers is 1,320, however, we all know the trick that once you get the first 2 numbers, you just try pulling up on the lock as you rotate the dial until it opens. That reduces the possibilities to 132.

Based on the patents, this lock dates to the 1930's. 

1 comment:

  1. that's a beautiful lock. i love that you have the original tag and found the patent.


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