Today we will be examining the magnetic keyed lock. We will talk about it’s pro’s and cons and even take the time machine all the way back to 2005 where we take a look at a retro lock that people were using back then.
The magnetic keyed lock uses (surprise, surprise) magnets for the locking and unlocking mechanism. A magnetic key use magnetic force to manipulate the tumblers inside a locking mechanism, as opposed to a traditional key which uses mechanical force.
Here’s a cool video that shows the inner workings of a magnetic keyed padlock, I think visualizing it will make more sense then my explanation.
TIME MACHINE WARNING
Here’s an ad copy for a magnetic padlock made by Hamilton & CO. back in 2006. The writing will actually be a logical segue into discussing the pro and cons of the magnetic lock.
LOCK HAS NO KEYHOLE! It’s Pick Proof, burglar proof, and the magnetic bar “keys“ cannot be duplicated! Relax in knowing you are secure. The locks were manufactured using 10,000 different magnetic “combinations“. The “keys” will only open the lock they come with. Protect your storefront, house valuables, or anything you needs to be kept safe from thieves! It’s reliable and won’t freeze up. How do you open it? It opens with one of the two magnetic bar “keys.” Place and hold one of the bar “keys” in the groove on the side of the lock, and pull up the shackle. Sleep in comfort knowing you and your assets are out of harm’s way. Use it on gates, the garage, a shed, a gym locker.–anything that needs a secure lock. The lock cannot be opened with a magnet! Get that protection you need right now!
This product description is quite energetic! And it does mention some of the pros of having a magnetic keyed lock. One of the pros is that it does prevent people from compromising the lock with traditional lock picking methods. The lack of a keyhole doesn’t allow lock picks inside to manipulate any part of the locking mechanism.
A pretty cool feature is how the magnetic key itself works. The magnetic key is shaped like a bar of metal, and have magnetics oriented in opposite polarities and strengths along the length of the car. The opposite polarity will either exert a push or pull force upon the tumblers, and with proper amount of force to deactivate the locking mechanism. The different orientation of polarity and magnet strengths means there are thousands of unique combinations of keys.
Unfortunately for how ingenious the mechanism for the magnetic lock is, the effectiveness of the lock itself maybe in question. Checking out this forum thread on lockpicking101.com, I noticed that pretty much every poster had figured out a way to crack the lock. I won’t go into detail about how it’s done, that’s not really the point of the article, but it seems that the security of the lock may not be as undefeatable as the product description claimed. Maybe I won’t get to sleep as comfortably as the description assured me.
It seems like the magnetic key lock will have some security advantages, your average opportunity criminal may not have the tools and knowhow to compromise your lock. But you might not want to use it to protect your brief case full of weapons grade plutonium. I mean you can if you want, I’m not a national security advisor, I’m just giving my opinion… sheez!