The Burglar Security System of Ancient Rome: Puzzle Rings

Welcome back to another entry here on the Central Alarm blog! We started off 2018 by getting back to basics and addressing how to get your home security set up. This time, we wanted to go even further back – to ancient Rome! That’s right, even those most ancient of civilizations from thousands of years back had their own versions of a burglar security system! Secure and fashionable, these are Roman puzzle rings!

ancient burglar security roman puzzle ruins

 

Ancient Burglar Security System

Ever since mankind has had valuables, they have sought to protect those valuables from would-be thieves! Whether it started as a sack, a hole dug in the earth, or a simple wooden box, people have hidden their valuables. Ever heard of hoards? These massive buried piles of treasure are just brimming with ancient age wealth, and when you think of securing wealth in the olden days you think of chests buried by pirates.

When it came to the time of antiquity, the Romans had a creative solution for just that situation.

Possibly adapted from previous Celtic designs, historians have gone about studying their design, origins, and -of most interest to us- their security. In their book, Romano-Celtic Mask Puzzle Padlocks: A Study in their Design, Technology and Security, authors Jerry Slocum and Dic Sonneveld investigate and discuss these unique antiquities

These ancient padlocks were designed as a burglar deterrent. They ensured that whatever they secured could only be opened by a person with the correct key. The puzzle padlocks were made by bronze, thicker rings and usually was shaped into the face of a god.  The lock would have a hinge at the top that would allow the faceplate to flip up and a keyhole be revealed. The faceplate would be opened and the key inserted – but wait! There’s more! This alone would not allow the ring to be removed, oh no, it also would have other hidden plates that needed to be manipulated in order for the shackle to be opened and taken off.

These puzzle locks would be used to secure coin purses to prevent them from being opened by anyone but the recipient, an ancient money-gram if you will. Of course, these padlocks won’t stop a bandit from slicing the coin pouch wide open but then, not much will stop them from smashing open or hacking open wooden containers. That’s why modern containers are made of much more durable materials.

Looking to get an ancient Roman padlock to product your home may be fun, but it certainly won’t be the best deterrent to modern thieves. For that, you will want modern systems and securities. Contact us and together we can secure you in the here and present.

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