Dakota Datebook

Padlock Patent

Saturday, June 19, 2004

The oldest known lock was found in the ruins of Khorsabad Palace near Nineveh. It was made of wood and was estimated to be 4,000 years old. Brass and iron padlocks found in Europe and the Far East were popularized by the Romans and the Chinese, who favored their portability.

In North Dakota – after two years of waiting – it was about this time in 1949 that a Galesburg man received word that his patent for a new type of padlock had been approved. Benjamin Richter’s invention eliminated what was, at that time, a conventional spring-type of lock.

A Fargo Forum newspaper article stated, “His lock has a bolt which is turned by a master key into the proper slot. The master key has a left hand thread and can be moved from the slot, leaving the bolt in place and anchoring the pivot of the lock.”

Dakota Datebook written by Merry Helm

This text and audio may not be copied without securing prior permission from Prairie Public.

Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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