Bramah padlock and key, 1801.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Henry Maudslay (1771-1831), one of Britain's greatest engineers, made this padlock while he was working as a craftsman for Joseph Bramah in London. The lock was placed in the window of Bramah and Co's shop with a board offering a reward. The lock stayed in the window un-picked for 50 years until 1851 when it was opened by A C Hobbs, an American locksmith, who came to London for the Great Exhibition and took on the challenge. He took 16 days to open the lock and receive his reward. Chubb now own Hobbs' world famous firm.