Monday, 19 May 2014

Exclusus Lector no Longer!

No longer must our readers ask assistance to use complicated combination locks- we have finally got keys! Lovely, simple keys. Additionally no pound is required although there is a £10.00 fine for any lost keys.

As a disenchanted member of staff put it, when this trial began:

Through the windows the faeries throw
Lockers which made us feel so low
May a faery strong and kind
Find us the keys for which we’ve pined

 After Easter, may our dreams be
Forever after locker-free
And may our readers dance a conga
When combinations are no longer

All the library staff would like to both apologise for the disruption, and to thank our readers for their patience during this time. Hopefully now full friendly service can resume. Conga lines are optional but discretely encouraged.

Keys, of course, are an ancient concept; the earliest surviving examples coming from Egypt in the form of Pin Tumbler locks. The Romans improved these by replacing the traditional wood with metal and inventing smaller, wearable keys. Types of locks outlined by Manning include latch-lifters, lift-keys, slide keys, lever-locks and barb-spring padlocks as shown below:

From Manning, 1985

Anyone interesting in discovering more about the history of locks (who wouldn't be?!) can begin with the list below:

Birley, Andrew, The small finds. Fasc. 2, Security: the keys and locks : including an outline report on the results of the excavations to date, Hexham, Vindolanda Trust, c1997. Library: X116D VIN

 De Vries, Marc J; Cross, N. & Grant, D.P. (Eds.) Design Methodology and Relationships with Science: Proceedings of the NATO ARW, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, September 29-October 2, 1992, Springer, 1993

Manning,  W.H., Catalogue of the Romano-British iron tools, fittings and weapons in the British Museum, London , British Museum Publications, c1985. Library: X135E LON

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