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How Were Car Keys Invented?

Have you ever wondered about how car keys were developed? If yes, you are not alone and about to find out some highlights about the birth and evolution of the device we use to operate our cars. From the old mechanical keys to the recent smart keys, a lot has changed about car keys since their inception.

Don’t forget that the experts at Richmond Lock & Key are always available to help when you are faced with any auto key or lock issue. Contact our office to find out how our locksmith in Richmond can come and rectify the issue.

The Inception of Car Keys

First designed cars didn’t use keys but required a set of rigorous processes to crank them up. A rotary switch is one of the starting mechanisms used by cars in those days. Car keys eventually surfaced in 1910. These first sets of keys were not designed to start the car but to lock the vehicle’s ignition system. This means a driver will still need to crank up the engine using its starting mechanisms.

In the late 1940s, Chrysler brought out the first mechanical key that can start the car with a turn of the ignition tumbler. This key was single-sided, meaning it had cuts on just one edge of the key blade. In 1965, Ford introduced a double-sided key that can be inserted into the ignition tumbler in either orientation.

Also, securing car doors during this era required a driver to walk around the car and manually unlock or lock every door. This was because the doors made use of cylinder mechanisms similar to ones used in residential locks.

In the 1990s, electric car door locks, also called central locking systems, were introduced. This system allowed drivers to simultaneously lock or unlock their car doors without having to walk around the car to do so, as it was the case before.

Car keys continued to evolve, with manufacturers bringing out innovations. Most of these new systems were designed to combat rising car theft. For example, laser-cut keys that appeared during the 1990s were hard to replicate, adding a layer of security to cars equipped with it. Gradually, transponder keys made their first appearance in the late 20th century in Europe and were later introduced into the United States.

The Key of a Modern Car

As technology and products continue to change, so does the car key. Soon, transponder keys became remote keys. Remote keys now feature buttons that can be used to lock or unlock the vehicle, open the trunk, and activate the car alarm system from a distance.

Key fobs were also introduced. The main difference between a remote key and fob key is that the former has a physical key attached, while the latter doesn’t have a metal part. Over the years, both key designs have also evolved, with manufacturers making them more secure and efficient. As you might be aware, some cars today can even be controlled through a Smartphone app.

Struggling With Any Key or Lock Issue? Contact us today

Just because car keys have witnessed major transformations in design doesn’t mean they are infallible. A key fob can malfunction; a remote key can stop working, and more. A modern car owner can also break their key in the ignition or misplace it.

Anytime you’re faced with any lock or key related issue, just remember that the experts at Richmond Lock & Key have all the resources needed to help you. Contact us now at Richmond Lock & Key to find out how our licensed, insured, and bonded locksmith can get you the needed help.

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