On reaching your 21st birthday in England it was traditional to be given the “key to the door”. This of course assumed that the 21 year old was still living at home and the giving of the key was a symbolic way of showing that you were now old and mature enough to be trusted with a key to your front door.
Keys, whether they are given on a 21st birthday or not, have been with us for centuries with wooden “keys” being used by the Egyptians some 4,000 years ago. Whilst there is some dispute about the origins of the “modern” key as we it today many attribute its development to an Englishman, Robert Barron who first patented his double-acting tumbler lock and key in 1778.
Since the 18th century keys have come a long way and are now a in common use throughout the world to provide controlled access to property, vehicles and machinery to name but a few. Most people will today carry a range of different keys with them in the course of their daily life and will typically store them on a key ring or keychain. Common key types include; house keys, car keys, master keys, padlock keys, control keys, skeleton keys and tubular keys.
Today you can add to this list USB keys. These keys are technically not a “key” in the sense that they lock and unlock something but instead they are USB flash drives that are manufactured in the shape of a key. This allows the user to attach them to their key ring or key chain along with their other keys and thus carry them easily and securely.
USB keys are easily customised (Engraved) with a company logo or design and make excellent promotional giveaways or executive gifts. Whilst they won’t unlock anything in the traditional sense its common when they are used as a promotional product for data to be pre-loaded onto them so that when they are inserted into a PC the data stored on them is “un-locked” and available to the user.