The Padlock: The Legend of Locks

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The Padlock: The Legend of Locks

One of the most reliable, old, and simple protective device is the padlock; they have been used for several years since their apparition in Ancient Egypt or Babylon and very soon they were in several order regions of the world such as China, Greece and Rome. As history has introduced new advancements in technology, padlocks have also evolved and their design and mechanism has been improved through years while their main usage hasn’t changed pretty much through decades. Nowadays, these security devices are manufactured in several sizes (to secure bikes and huge hangars), types (using keys or combination codes), and security classification (with worldwide government regulations). 

A brief story of Padlocks

The first attempts of padlocks had their origin in Egypt thousands of years ago; but they were limited in usage to the areas of North Africa and Middle East. Somehow, China started to make its own padlocks around1000BC, improving them as time went by. These Chinese padlocks were spread out of the country frontiers thanks to the Romans trips to Eastern terrains in 500 BC.  The introduction of these devices made Western people to develop them and the cast iron padlock appeared during the Dark and Middle Ages; some of them from England and others from the Slavic areas. Those padlocks were popular, although very insecure and unreliable. It wasn’t until the late 19th centuries that they were produced in an industrial scale and with the improvement of the padlock mechanisms they started to be more secure and reliable. And the beginning of the 20th century, the manual production of padlocks was stopped and with the new industrialized produced items the laminated padlock began in the 1920s and by the 1930s the Die-cast padlocks were introduced into the market.

Besides all the advancements into smart technology, padlocks are still popular in usage in order to secure little boxes, bikes, or you can still see some of them in big doors and gates.   

Legends of Love Padlocks

The appearance of padlocks and their increasing popularity they experienced at a certain point in history have made them be part of several legends and myths. They were told of stories of protection and securing people’s properties from possible thefts, attributing them magical powers in the protection process. Those myths were not created in a single place of the world, they came from different zones of the globe; but there is a particular myth that has caught many people attention, and that is the legend of love padlocks.

Many of the love padlocks myths were not known until the early 2000s, they are believed to take decades before. One of the most recognized legends about love padlocks is the myth originated in Vrnjačka Banja in Serbia where it is possible to see a bridge decorated with many love padlocks, hundreds of them. Accordingly to the legend, this placing of padlocks to express each other’s love started just before the First World War when an innocent schoolmistress by the name of Nada died with her heart broken as she knew her fiancé married another woman. Since that moment, local young girls go to the bridge where Nada and Relja used to meet and in order to protect their loves, the names of the girls and their loved ones were written on a padlock. Then they attached to the bridge where the schoolmistress and the soldier met while they were in love.

The proliferation of these love padlocks has been spread all over different cities around the world, especially after the year 2000 when the story of Nada started to be spread among people.

For instance, in Italy at the Ponte Vecchio Bridge, there is a belief that if you and your loved one attach a padlock into the bridge and then throw the key into the Arno River below it, your love will be eternal. This belief is said to be originated by the publication of a book in 2006 named “I Want You” by Federico Moccia – adapted to the movies in 2007. This practice has been forbidden by the local government, so couples cannot continue the tradition and they have to comfort themselves with touching the padlocks left by authorities.

There have been certain places where the placement of love padlocks have brought certain controversy, like in Algiers where these devices were placed in a bridge called previously the “suicide bridge” in the location of Telemy. The word of an Imam, a religious leader, makes several young people to remove the love padlocks due the prohibition in Islam.

There have been love padlocks in cities like Canberra where local authorities decided to remove them mentioning the possible structure damage they can cause to the bridge plus the rust they originate in the place. The same situation was repeated in Melbourne where more than 22,000 padlocks were removed from the Southgate footbridge. Similar stories can be heard with slight variations of reason and amount of devices in many places around the world such as Ucluelet on Vancouver Island, Toronto, Paris (France), Wisconsin, Brooklyn, Las Vegas, Bamberg (Germany), Dublin, Scotland, and some many other locations in our planet.

Most of these places have created penalties for those who dare to attach padlocks to the bridges and locations mentioned above, and nowadays, people do it with more reserve and mystery than they did it before.

But the story does not end in the prohibition of padlocks to express love; there are superstition stories about the great level of energy the love padlocks possess as it is believed in Fengyuan, Taiwan where these devices are attached (usually in pairs) to an overpass at the city train station. They are called “wish locks” and locals attributed the place as an energetic place and that strength is accumulated in the padlocks with the fulfillment of the wishes of those who placed the devices there.

Another legend states that on a fountain in Montevideo, Uruguay, where a plaque in both English and Spanish states that refers to a legend of that “young fountain” where “a lock with the initials of two people in love” can be placed there; according to the legend “they will return to the fountain and their love will be forever locked”

At this point, it can be said that padlocks are not just a good way to protect your properties; nowadays, they are a source of fruitful energy that it can be used to create welfare and a better future. 

Of course, to achieve so, you have to have just a little faith and believe it deeply, who knows, maybe you can make your dream come true and find the love of your live.    

Or just simple lock your bike with the padlock and the chain, it would be a good idea if the energy does not get as you expected.