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Gujrat home to 150 antique locks.

ISLAMABAD -- Collecting antique locks is like preserving craftsmanship and technical expertise that goes back centuries and Farooq Riaz painstakingly spent 14 years to do the same.

A lock enthusiast Farooq Riaz lives in Gujrat, works as a social worker in numerous NGOs and has travelled to 26 countries for the cause of global peace.

He has passion for painting and calligraphy but his claim to fame is his treasured possession of 150 antique locks depicting craftsmanship of Mughal, British, French, Indian and Pakistani workers.

"It took me fourteen years to collect these locks. I have locks that are difficult to open. The locks are complex in their structure and it becomes very difficult even to find the key hole," he said.

"The Indian locks are from Ali Ghar, Ahmed Abad and Jalander. The Pakistani locks are from Gujrat, Lahore, Taxila, Swat, Kotli Loharan, Sialkot, Karachi, and other places. It is interesting to note that there was a big industry of lock making in Gujrat. Locks also came from nearby towns of Gujrat like Kotla Kakrali, Hajiwala and Topa Tul Chaylianwala," he said.

In many countries, before the invention of locks, ropes were used for security and safety.

For many hundreds of years, cords of ropes used to lock doors. The legend goes, a knotted rope became a famous symbol of security.

The first wooden lock was discovered by archaeologists in ruins of palace of Khorsabad near Nineveh, the ancient capital of Assyria.

The Egyptian lock is also known as pin-tumbler type, and it evolved as a practical solution to the problem of how to open a barred door from outside.

The first and simplest locks were probably just a bar of wood or a bolt across door. To open it from the outside, a hand-size opening was made in the door.

This evolved into a much smaller hole into which a long wooden or metal prodder was inserted to lift up the bar or bolt. The first all-metal lock appeared between the years 870 and 900. Brass and iron padlocks were known early in time to the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians.

The ancient Romans made the first metal lock, and their iron locks and bronze keys are easily recognizable even today.

The Romans also invented the portable padlock with a U-shaped and some Roman locks used springs to hold the tumblers in place.

They were invited to make special locks for noblemen throughout Europe. European businessmen were also invited to make locks and keys for Royal Courts and for churches and cathedrals of Europe.

The locks represented various geometric shapes, religious symbols, animals, fish, birds and hearts. These locks were fabricated by the Romans based on Egyptian design principles.

New concepts for locking devices were developed in Europe in the 17th century and 1800s saw many advancements in development of lock making.

Locks possessed by Farooq Riaz are special, like locks with two keys, locks with design of hand shackle, locks with different shapes and mysterious designs.

He says many of his locks were made in 1901, 1902, 1910, 1940, 1942, 1947, 1956 and 1966.
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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Date:Sep 29, 2013
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