When you’ve got five kinds of soup stored away in your desk drawer for safe keeping, along with that box of emergency chocolate chips, only the most advanced form of security will do. Facial recognition and eye scan technology wasn’t around in 2000 BCE, but they did have a type of pin lock that isn’t too different in concept from modern locks and could likely be used to confuse those after your soups.

Angus Deveson runs the popular Youtube channel Maker’s Muse. One of his latest projects discusses an ancient pin lock design dated to somewhere in the span of 2500 BCE to 1800 BCE. The design however seems less ancient than a skeleton key lock and all the more an engineering marvel to explore.

Angus developed two demonstration models, one basic and one more complex mixing in some modern updates. The mechanism breaks down like so. You have the body, the pins, the bolt and the key. The key slides into the bolt area, engages the pins–pushing them up away from the bolt, so the bolt can easily slide out.

ancient assyrian pin lock

Obviously, this is for demonstration purpose only, but is a great project to show a simple mechanism that inspired future iterations of lock designs to this day. With that, Angus, shows his own iteration on this design, moving the pins out of colinear position, chamfering the pins and using a dovetail bolt design. Quite a number of ways you can take this to create a lock of your own!

modified assyrian pin lock

You can download the basic version and the modified complex version on his Gumroad page, and view the overview above or on Youtube. (Bonus! Check out the Learning Resource on the Maker’s Muse website!)

Have a model you think everyone needs? Share the link and details with us here!


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.