Keys – 4,000 Years in the Making

Keycare is celebrating providing 40 years of key recovery, insurance and assistance services.

image showing a pile of old keys

Becoming part of the history of keys and their protection, this huge milestone for Keycare stands testament to the growth of our business. From humble beginnings we are now regarded as the UK’s market leader, a status that we do not take lightly.

Many great things have happened during our journey. Every single one of them is thanks to the remarkable team of people that make this company what it is, constantly driving innovation, and ensuring that every customer always receives the very best experience possible in their time of need.

The history of keys tells us they have been around for at least 4,000 years. It is easy to underestimate the importance of keys, but they are an invaluable part of our lives, opening up our houses, cars, garages, offices and even post boxes. We have all experienced that inevitable heart-stopping moment when you simply cannot find them. It is perhaps then that we realise just how important it is to protect them.   


The History of Keys

An enduring story across the ages – from ancient Egyptian, Roman, Greek and Chinese civilisations, through to the castle-dwelling nobility of the middle ages, to today’s digital generation, the desire for greater security for our homes and possessions has been high on the agenda for at least four thousand years!

There are references to locks and keys in the bible, and depictions on early Egyptian frescos. It is the Greeks and Romans who are accredited with developing the first door locks and key shaped locking mechanisms – intricate solutions using bars, bolts, falling pins, springs and ropes. These crude solutions, continually refined over the ages, offer the inspiration for today’s modern locking systems.

The middle ages saw a flourish of locksmith innovation thanks to the prestige, status and respect afforded to those that invested in the fashionable designs. Although more style than substance, locks and keys during this period had become works of art rather than truly effective security solutions.

The 18th and 19th centuries however marked a change. Inventive locksmiths such as Chubb, Bramah, Barron, Parsons and Yale pushed the boundaries to improve their designs and range of security products, making them smaller, sleeker, more effective, and more accessible to the masses.  Through tireless research and development this period saw locks get more sophisticated and keys get smaller, flatter and grooved to provide many thousands of possible combinations. These highly competitive craftsmen even challenged their peers to pit their lock picking skills against their devices and offered competition prizes at events such as the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Chubb and Yale have been synonymous with quality lock and key manufacturing and design innovation ever since, maintaining their hold over the market by embracing new technologies and production techniques, sophisticated metals and electronics.

Keys of the Future

Today we all have a key in our pocket, thanks to tireless efforts of these innovators, craftsmen and entrepreneurs. But what does the future hold for metal keys and locks? Smart entry via our mobile devices?  Access cards that open everything with a simple swipe? Retinal scanners and biometric entry? A tale as old as time, our desire for security and the development of innovative solutions remains as competitive as ever.

Our 40th Anniversary is a great opportunity to not only reflect back but to look forward. We constantly ask ourselves “if this is what the future looks like, what does it mean for us today?”. We will continue to innovate and ensure that every customer receives the valuable peace of mind that comes with knowing that should they lose their key (or smart security device of the future) that Keycare is on hand to help. Here’s to the next successful 40 years – Happy Birthday Keycare!