The first keys appeared in Ancient Babylon and Egypt around 6,000 years ago, around the same time as the first locks. The keys were wooden, tooth-shaped, heavy, and bulky, and they were used to lift the small pins hidden near the bolts.

Ancient Roman engineers and inventors improved on these wooden keys and locks by using the iron and bronze to make them smaller, lighter, and stronger.

The Skeleton Keys, with minor modifications, survived the fall of the Roman Empire and are still in use today for homes built before the 1940s.

In the mid-nineteenth century, American mechanical engineer Linus Yale, Sr., and his son invented the contemporary flat keys. They’re simple to mass-produce and have become a worldwide sensation. Here are various types of keys that are in use today.

Transponder key

TA transponder key is also known as a “chip key” and is widely used in automobiles. They work by sending a radio signal to the vehicle. They’re amazing at preventing theft if the wrong circuit code is used, and because they’re so tough to duplicate, someone can’t steal your vehicle by copying your transponder key.

When the wrong transponder key is used, some vehicles will automatically shut down, reducing the chances of a vehicle being stolen. The key will not be able to start any other vehicle because it has a microchip that is programmed with the ignition code.

These keys are pricey and difficult to cut, but they are also among the safest on the market. Key cutting machines cannot duplicate these keys, thus a locksmith services provider must be able to access a car manufacturer’s database to obtain information about the automobile code and make a new key.

Laser cut car key

While mechanically cut automobile keys are similar in form and design, these keys are far more exact and complicated, providing the owner with added protection. They’re also known as “sidewinder keys” since they have patterns and ridges cut into both sides of the key.

This makes them far more difficult to copy, which is excellent. A person must have access to specialist machinery to duplicate this type of automobile key. The ultimate result is a one-of-a-kind key that no one else will be able to duplicate.

Dimple key

Dimple keys are simpler sorts of keys that rely on dimples in the key itself to unlock a lock. The dimples on the key, which are cone-shaped, will match the dimples in the lock. You’ll be able to quickly unlock the lock after the dimples are properly aligned. The fact that there are two sets of dimples in the lock and the dimples on the key is placed in the same way on both sides makes dimple keys simple to use.

Valet Key

Valet keys are designed to unlock locked car doors and start the vehicle for the person who has the key. Although these keys have RFID chips, they have been coded to prevent access to other elements of the car. This means you won’t be able to open the glove box, trunk, trunk release, or seatbacks with a valet key, giving you a lot more privacy and security.

Many people mistakenly believe that valet keys and door keys are interchangeable. The door keys will only open the door and will not start the vehicle.

Keycard Key

When most people think of what a key looks like and how it works, they think of a standard vehicle or door key. However, key cards are still keys, despite their appearance. They feature magnetic strips on them, when placed into the locking device, the strip unlocks the door. Keycard keys are comparable in size and form to credit cards and are used in situations where security is required or when locks must be changed regularly.

A hotel is one of the most regular places where you will encounter a keycard key. They’re great since the management can easily control which keycards open which doors and even cancel keycards if guests fail to return them at the end of their stay. These keys are also utilized in places like government buildings that require security.

Instead of forcing an employee to carry a key for each door, they have access to, a keycard can be programmed to enable them access to specific locations while denying them access to others. Keycard keys are a fantastic solution for areas with a lot of turnovers, such as hotels, or when you need to monitor and manage who has access to certain locations. Programming keycard keys are quick, easy, and inexpensive.

Tubular key

Tubular keys also referred to as “barrel keys,” are used to open tubular pin tumbler locks. They have a hollow, cylindrical shaft that is larger in diameter than ordinary keys but shorter in length. A tubular key will almost certainly be required if you have a bike lock or need to unlock a vending machine.

Tubular keys are difficult to reproduce, which is one of the main advantages of utilizing this type of key instead of another key. This means that if you choose a tubular key, you won’t have to worry as much about security because the chances of someone copying it accurately are tiny.

Primary key

Primary keys differ from most other sorts of keys in that they are designed to unlock numerous locks rather than just one. These locks have been keyed to their unique keys, although they can also be unlocked using a primary key. These keys are useful if you have given out keys to several different places or rooms in your building but still need to be able to access them in an emergency without troubling the keyholder.

In addition to the main key holder, the systems designed to work with primary keys feature several locks or cylinders that will allow you to unlock the lock. This is a fantastic approach to avoid complications if the keyholder loses the key by accident because the space will still be accessible.

You also don’t have to worry about keeping various keys on hand as the primary key holder because you can rely on only one key to gain access to any area. Unfortunately, losing the primary key might have serious ramifications, therefore you should only trust a professional with it so that they don’t misuse the power of having unrestricted access to locations.

Paracentric key

Only paracentric locks are opened and locked with paracentric keys. Because of their peculiar shape and style, they are usually quite easy to spot. In addition to a twisted blade, paracentric keys usually contain small teeth at the end of the key. While the majority of individuals will never use or see a paracentric key in their lives, they are extremely useful and popular in jails. These locks are tough to pick due to the design of the key and the lock itself, making them suitable for usage when you don’t want anyone to be able to open a lock.

Abloy key

Picking this type of key is extremely tough, if not impossible. On disc tumbler locks, they’re employed. This sort of lock comes with a special key that rotates the discs like a tumbler, causing them to align and unlock the lock. They are springless locks, which makes picking them extremely difficult. While not widely used in some nations, Abloy locks and keys are used nearly universally in other parts of the world due to the safety and security of these keys. They are excellent if you want to ensure that an unauthorized person does not gain access to your home.

Skeleton key

This is a special form of the main key known as a “passkey.” The serrated edge of the key is usually sanded down so that it can open a variety of locks. While the moniker may be frightening to some, the key is merely known as a skeleton key because it has been reduced to only the most necessary components. Some individuals use the phrase “skeleton key” to refer to any form of primary key or keycard that can open multiple locks, while others use it incorrectly to refer to bitted keys used on lever tumbler locks.

Skeleton keys are typically made by eliminating the center of a key, allowing the key to enter and turn a variety of locks. Many people link these keys with illegal actions like breaking or opening handcuffs, because the original key may be filed down for these purposes. There are genuine uses for skeleton keys, such as when the original key has been lost or is just unavailable.

Cruciform key

The X-shape of the profile makes these keys identifiable. While they are most commonly employed in industrial applications, they can be utilized in any situation where you need a reliable lock and key that is tough to pick. The three sets of teeth on the cruciform key are at 90-degree angles to one another. Each of the four sides has been flattened. While it is simple to copy this type of key, picking the lock is quite tough.

Magnetic key

Magnets will be used to lock and unlock the lock with this sort of key. When the magnets are properly positioned, they will generate a push or pull inside the lock, moving the internal tumblers and allowing the lock to open. This is a passive locking system that activates the mechanisms without the need for any electronics.

You can simply make a lock that is more difficult to pick by combining several different magnets of varying strengths and aligning them at different polarities. As a result, each key will have hundreds of possible combinations, making this form of key an excellent alternative for added protection.

Four-sided key

When most people try to imagine what a key looks like, these are the keys that come to mind. They have two or four sets of teeth, depending on the species. Choose a four-sided key over a double-sided key if you want a key that will last a long time and will keep you safe. The key will be much more difficult to select because of the two extra sets of teeth. This is a fantastic, low-cost solution to boost the protection of your home or office without having to purchase a new security system.

Mechanically cut key

This is the most common and also the oldest form of automobile key accessible. They’re created with basic machines and tools, so most locksmiths can easily cut a replacement key if one is needed. The ridges and lines carved into the key are only on one side, making it simple to finish the work using a cutting machine. Unfortunately, this also means that they are the keys that are the easiest to copy.

People may easily cut their own keys with a self-service key cutter at various big box stores because the keys aren’t particularly modern. This means that if you have a mechanically cut automobile key, you must be extremely careful not to lose it, as it is quite easy to replicate.

Smart car key

While these car keys are quite similar to transponder car keys, they are far more advanced than anything else on the market right now. This not only means that if you have a problem with your smart vehicle key, you should seek professional assistance, but it also means that they are extremely difficult to copy, ensuring that you will not have difficulties with anyone stealing your key.

These keys are more difficult to reproduce than other varieties of automobile keys because they are still uncommon. An expert locksmith services provider can only duplicate these keys.

VAT keys

Vehicle Anti-Theft (VAT) keys are a security and safety enhancement to your regular key. Additional security precautions are included, such as the inclusion of a security chip to the key. If somebody does not have the correct sort of key, it will be more difficult for them to unlock the door. The sort of additional security measures will be determined by the level of security desired by the key’s owner.

Because the security chip embedded in the blade of the key is special and the code changes, these keys are extremely difficult to replace. It is extremely tough to obtain a duplicate of your automobile key.

Locksmiths and other key firms typically advise consumers to purchase a new set of keys, copy the original key, and then produce a new VAT chip.

The locksmith might not be able to get access to the key since the code is so specific. While these keys are good if you want the highest level of protection from your keys, they are not ideal if you lose them, and replacing them can be tough.


Because of its modest size, most people can immediately distinguish a padlock key. They are about half the size of a standard house or office key and are keyed to a single padlock. If you lose your padlock key, many locksmiths can duplicate it for you using information from the padlock’s brand and type. Other techniques for opening the padlock include imprinting a new key or cutting the lock itself.

Diary key

Diary keys are exceedingly small, light, and dainty keys that are used to lock the padlock on a diary. They are more for show than practical safety and protection. They’re all roughly the same shape, so if you misplace your diary key, you can easily replace it with one from another journal. In most cases, diaries will come with multiple keys in case the original is stolen, but if you’re in a pinch, you may easily purchase an extra online.


Once upon a time, keys were simply keys and not protection. However, as time has passed, their form, shape, and function have evolved as well. They’ve evolved into more than just a security system for wealth and precious scrolls; they’ve also become a protection system for our homes, cars, and belongings in general. We may anticipate seeing additional varieties of keys in the future, given the current rate of key invention. However, for the time being, these are the options available.