History Podcasts

When did key locks first appear?

When did key locks first appear?

When and where did the first metal key locks appear (not the door bolts)?

When did they became widespread?


During websearch, found this material (in Russian), based on the Ian Harrison's book "The Book of Firsts".

According it, wooden lock was invented in the Egypt, and it looked like this:

In Rome, people started to use the metallic locks:

And in modern times English locks became popular:

  • Chubb detector lock by Jeremiah Chubb
  • Double-acting Lever tumbler lock by Robert Barron
  • Improved lock by Joseph Bramah

See also:


Update, based on your comment:

Acccording this, first keys on Papal coat of arms were in 1198, surely after the Romes invented the metallic lock. If you'll check the picture, the keys from it is in somethat similar to the Papal coat of arm's key.


The earliest known key lock is supposed to have been found in Nineveh, and was described by Joseph Bonomi in his 1857 book Nineveh and its Palaces:

The Wikipedia article on locks states that:

… Locks such as this were later developed into the Egyptian wooden pin lock, which consisted of a bolt, door fixture, and key.

The "Warded Lock" is perhaps the most recognisable form of key-lock today. These locks incorporated "wards", or fixed projections to prevent the wrong key being entered into the lock or turned. The earliest known examples of warded locks come from the Roman period. The evidence from this period seems to suggest that, although the keys were made of metal (usually iron), parts of the lock itself were still made of wood.

All-metal warded locks begin to appear in the late ninth century. This form of lock normally used keys that closely resemble what most people think of when they hear the word "key" today:

In the article Locksmiths Throughout History they make the claim that:

Warded locks made by English locksmiths in the years 870 - 900 AD were some of the first all-metal locks ever made.

This would correspond to the Reign of Alfred the Great in Wessex. Alfred's reign was characterised by conflicts with Viking raiders and invaders. It is not hard to imagine just how useful an all-metal lock would have been when trying to defend person and property from Viking attacks! If this dating is correct, it is also easy to understand the incentives that might have led to the development of these locks in England at that time.


The history of the origin and development of keys and locks

When primitive people live in caves, for safety's sake, sometimes stones are used to block the caves, so thieves cannot be prevented but beasts. After the emergence of private ownership, the thief appeared, so the lock was born.

More than 3,000 years ago, China had locks. However, the earliest locks had no organs, but were shaped by tigers and other ferocious animals. To frighten thieves, it can only be said to be a symbolic lock.

It is said that Lu Ban was the first to lock the people’s organs. As reflected in the unearthed cultural relics and written records, the ancient lock was operated by two springs of the spring spring. So far, this spring is still in use.

In foreign countries, although the ancient Greeks have found a very reliable lock, the key is to be larger and shoulder everything, which is difficult for ordinary families to popularize. The ancient Indians made another bird-shaped 'fan lockThe rise of modern locks was the first 'welded fishing lock' invented by Britain in the 18th century. We are now widely used in ball locks, which were invented by Yale in 1860.

The key invented is later than that in ancient Egypt, the key used for the first time in the world. Their lock is a wooden door bolt inserted into a slot with a wooden bolt on the top of the slot. When the plug is inserted into the slot, the wooden plug will be inserted into the hole of the bolt. In this way, the bolt will be very strong and you must open it with a key.

Since Egyptian locks can only be used on the side of the door bolt, which is not conducive to the flexibility of opening and closing, the Greeks also developed a lock from the other side of the lock on this basis. The key made by the Greeks is a curved stick shaped like a small sickle from a small farm. But some keys can reach 3 feet and must be moved on the shoulders, which are quite heavy.

The Romans are arguably the most complex locksmiths in ancient times. They conducted a lot of research on the standards of keys and knew that the nails at the ends of the keys were cut into various shapes.


Lock (n.1)

"means of fastening," Old English loc "bolt, appliance for fastening a door, lid, etc. barrier, enclosure bargain, agreement, settlement, conclusion," from Proto-Germanic *lukana- , a verbal root meaning "to close" (source also of Old Frisian lok "enclosure, prison, concealed place," Old Norse lok "fastening, lock," Gothic usluks "opening," Old High German loh "dungeon," German Loch "opening, hole," Dutch luik "shutter, trapdoor").

Ordinary mechanical locks work by means of an internal bolt or bar which slides and catches in an opening made to receive it. "The great diversity of meaning in the Teut. words seems to indicate two or more independent but formally identical substantival formations from the root" [OED]. The Old English sense "barrier, enclosure" led to the specific meaning "barrier on a stream or canal" (c. 1300), and the more specific sense "gate and sluice system on a water channel used as a means of raising and lowering boats" (1570s).

From 1540s as "a fastening together," hence "a grappling in wrestling" (c. 1600). In firearms, the part of the mechanism which explodes the charge (1540s, probably so called for its resemblance to a door-latching device), hence figurative phrase lock, stock, and barrel (which add up to the whole firearm) "the whole of something" (1842). Phrase under lock and key attested from early 14c.

"tress of hair," Old English locc "lock of hair, curl" (plural loccas ), from Proto-Germanic *lukkoz (source also of Old Norse lokkr , Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Dutch lok , Old High German loc , German Locke "lock of hair"), a word of uncertain origin. According to OED, perhaps from a PIE *lugnos- and related to Greek lygos "pliant twig, withe," Lithuanian lugnas "flexible" (see reluctance).

c. 1300, "to fasten with a lock, shut or confine with a lock." The sense is narrowed from that of Old English lucan "to lock, to close" (class II strong verb past tense leac , past participle locen ), from the same verbal root that yielded lock (n.1). The form is from the noun (perhaps reinforced by Old Norse loka ) the old original strong verb survived as dialectal louk , and the strong past participle locken lingered a while, as in Middle English loken love "hidden love, clandestine love" (early 14c.).

The Old English verb is cognate with Old Frisian luka "to close," Old Saxon lukan , Old High German luhhan , Old Norse luka , Gothic galukan . Meaning "to fasten parts together" is from late 14c., originally of armor of persons, "to embrace closely," from mid-14c. Related: Locked locking . Locked "securely established" is from early 15c. To lock (someone) in "shut in a place" is from c. 1400. Slang lock horns "fight" is from 1839.


The Balfour Declaration

From 1517 to 1917, Israel, along with much of the Middle East, was ruled by the Ottoman Empire.

But World War I dramatically altered the geopolitical landscape in the Middle East. In 1917, at the height of the war, British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour submitted a letter of intent supporting the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The British government hoped that the formal declaration—known thereafter as the Balfour Declaration—would encourage support for the Allies in World War I.

When World War I ended in 1918 with an Allied victory, the 400-year Ottoman Empire rule ended, and Great Britain took control over what became known as Palestine (modern-day Israel, Palestine and Jordan).

The Balfour Declaration and the British mandate over Palestine were approved by the League of Nations in 1922. Arabs vehemently opposed the Balfour Declaration, concerned that a Jewish homeland would mean the subjugation of Arab Palestinians.

The British controlled Palestine until Israel, in the years following the end of World War II, became an independent state in 1947.


The Evolution of Metabolism

Because cells originated in a sea of organic molecules, they were able to obtain food and energy directly from their environment. But such a situation is self-limiting, so cells needed to evolve their own mechanisms for generating energy and synthesizing the molecules necessary for their replication. The generation and controlled utilization of metabolic energy is central to all cell activities, and the principal pathways of energy metabolism (discussed in detail in Chapter 2) are highly conserved in present-day cells. All cells use adenosine 5-triphosphate (ATP) as their source of metabolic energy to drive the synthesis of cell constituents and carry out other energy-requiring activities, such as movement (e.g., muscle contraction). The mechanisms used by cells for the generation of ATP are thought to have evolved in three stages, corresponding to the evolution of glycolysis, photosynthesis, and oxidative metabolism (Figure 1.5). The development of these metabolic pathways changed Earth's atmosphere, thereby altering the course of further evolution.

Figure 1.5

Generation of metabolic energy. Glycolysis is the anaerobic breakdown of glucose to lactic acid. Photosynthesis utilizes energy from sunlight to drive the synthesis of glucose from CO2 and H2O, with the release of O2 as a by-product. The O2 released by (more. )

In the initially anaerobic atmosphere of Earth, the first energy-generating reactions presumably involved the breakdown of organic molecules in the absence of oxygen. These reactions are likely to have been a form of present-day glycolysis—the anaerobic breakdown of glucose to lactic acid, with the net energy gain of two molecules of ATP. In addition to using ATP as their source of intracellular chemical energy, all present-day cells carry out glycolysis, consistent with the notion that these reactions arose very early in evolution.

Glycolysis provided a mechanism by which the energy in preformed organic molecules (e.g., glucose) could be converted to ATP, which could then be used as a source of energy to drive other metabolic reactions. The development of photosynthesis is generally thought to have been the next major evolutionary step, which allowed the cell to harness energy from sunlight and provided independence from the utilization of preformed organic molecules. The first photosynthetic bacteria, which evolved more than 3 billion years ago, probably utilized H2S to convert CO2 to organic molecules𠅊 pathway of photosynthesis still used by some bacteria. The use of H2O as a donor of electrons and hydrogen for the conversion of CO2 to organic compounds evolved later and had the important consequence of changing Earth's atmosphere. The use of H2O in photosynthetic reactions produces the by-product free O2 this mechanism is thought to have been responsible for making O2 abundant in Earth's atmosphere.

The release of O2 as a consequence of photosynthesis changed the environment in which cells evolved and is commonly thought to have led to the development of oxidative metabolism. Alternatively, oxidative metabolism may have evolved before photosynthesis, with the increase in atmospheric O2 then providing a strong selective advantage for organisms capable of using O2 in energy-producing reactions. In either case, O2 is a highly reactive molecule, and oxidative metabolism, utilizing this reactivity, has provided a mechanism for generating energy from organic molecules that is much more efficient than anaerobic glycolysis. For example, the complete oxidative breakdown of glucose to CO2 and H2O yields energy equivalent to that of 36 to 38 molecules of ATP, in contrast to the 2 ATP molecules formed by anaerobic glycolysis. With few exceptions, present-day cells use oxidative reactions as their principal source of energy.


An Ancient Profession: The History Of Locksmithing

Imagine, it’s 9 pm on a Friday night. The taxi drops you off just outside your home. You are exhausted and can’t wait to flop on the couch. As you reach your front door you fumble around trying to find your keys. You look everywhere through your bag and pat-down yourself from head to toe to see if they are in a different pocket.

Your mind starts racing wondering where you left your keys. Are they at work? Did you leave them at the bar when you were having some after work drinks with mates?

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The fact is, you are locked out.

What do you do? You call a locksmith to let you back in.

It’s a common scenario that we have likely all experienced at one point in time. It’s also something that we take for granted. Locksmiths didn’t always exist. Can you image not having any lock or keys?

Locksmiths In Ancient Times

Locksmithing is one of the oldest professions. It is believed to have started in Ancient Egypt and Babylon around 4000 years ago.

A common belief was that the first locks were small and portable and were used to protect goods from thieves who were common along ancient travel routes. Not so.

Locks back then were not as sophisticated as they are now. Most locks were large, crude and made of wood. However, they were used and worked in the same way as today’s locks. There were pins in the lock, however, they could only be moved with the use of a large cumbersome wooden key (imagine something looking like a large wooden toothbrush). This giant key was inserted into the lock and pushed upwards.

As lock and key “technology” spread, it could also be found in ancient Greece, Rome, and other cultures in the east including the China.

Wealthy Romans were often found to keep their valuables under lock and key. They would wear the keys as rings on their fingers. This had the benefit of keeping the key on them at all times. It would also be a display of status and wealth. It showed you were wealthy and important enough to have valuables worth securing.

The oldest known lock was in the ruins of the Assyrian Empire in the city of Khorsabad. This key was believed to be created around 704 BC and looks and operates much like the wooden locks of the time.

Moving To Metal

Not too much changed with locks until around 870-900 AD when the first metal locks started to appear. These locks were simple iron bolt locks and are attributed to English craftsmen.

Soon locks made of iron or brass could be found all over Europe and as far as China. They were operated by keys that could be turned, screwed or pushed.

As the profession of locksmithing developed, locksmiths became talented metal workers. The 14th to 17th centuries saw a rise in artistic achievements by locksmiths. They were often invited to create locks with intricate and beautiful designs for members of the nobility. They would often design locks inspired by the royal crest and symbols.

However, while the aesthetics of locks and keys developed, there were few improvements made to the lock mechanisms themselves. With the advances in metal works in the 18th century, locksmiths were able to create more durable and secure locks and keys.

The Evolution Of The Modern Lock

The basic design of how a lock and key worked had remained relatively unchanged for centuries.

When the industrial revolution came along in the 18th century, the precision in engineering and component standardisation greatly increased the complexity and sophistication of locks and keys.

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In 1778, Robert Barron perfected the lever tumbler lock. His new tumbler lock required the lever to be lifted to a specific height in order to unlock. Lifting the lever too far was as bad as not lifting it far enough. This made it more secure against intruders and is still currently used today.

After a burglary occurred in Portsmouth Dockyard in 1817, the British Government created a competition to produce a more superior lock. The competition was won by Jeremiah Chubb who developed the Chubb detector lock. The lock not only made it difficult for people to pick it, but it would indicate to the locks owner if it had been tampered with. Jeremiah won the competition after a lock picker failed to open it after 3 months.

Three years later, Jeremiah and his brother Charles started up their own lock company, Chubb. Over the next couple of decades, they made vast improvements to the standard lock and key systems. This included using six levers instead of the standard four. They also included a disc that allowed the key to pass through but made it difficult for any lock pickers to see the internal levers.

The Chubb brothers lock designs were based on the use of movable internal levels, however,Joseph Bramah created an alternative method in 1784.

His locks used a round key with notches along the surface. These notches would move metal slides that would interfere with the opening of the lock. Once these metal slides had been moved by the key notches to a specific position then the lock would open. At the time, it was said to be unpickable.

Another major improved was the double-acting pin tumbler lock. The earliest patent for this design was granted in 1805, however, the modern version (still in use today) was invented in 1848 by Linus Yale. His lock design used pins of different lengths to stop the lock from opened without the correct key. In 1861, he invented a smaller flatter key with serrated edges that would move the pins. Both his lock and key designs are still in use today.

Apart from the introduction of electronic chips, and some minor improvements in key design, most locks today are still variants of the designs created by Chubb, Bramah and Yale.

The Changing Role Of The Locksmith

With the more successful designs and industrial mass production, locksmithing went through a change. They had to start specialising.

A lot of locksmiths worked as repairmen for industrial locks and would replicate keys for people who wanted more keys available for others. Other locksmiths worked for security companies to design and build custom safes for banks and government organisations.

Today, modern locksmiths tend to work out of a workshop or from mobile locksmithing vans. They sell, install, maintain and repair locks and other security devices.


A Look Back at Vintage Auto Locks

Until sidewinder locks and transponders appeared on the scene, automotive lock systems had remained unchanged for more than 60 years. The last big change in auto lock designs was probably the GM locking sidebar system and that first appeared on 1936 GM models.

Pin tumbler lock systems were popular during the 1920s with manufacturer names such as Yale, Sargent, Corbin, Russwin and Eagle leading the way. Wafer locks were used even before 1920. Early wafer-type auto locks used double-sided keys, but the use of bi-directional double-sided keys had to wait until 1965 when Ford introduced their double-sided pin tumbler lock systems.

Chrysler and Ford began using pin tumbler lock systems in the 1930s. During this same period, many of the smaller companies such as Nash, Hudson and Packard used Briggs & Stratton five tumbler wafer locks. With the exception of Chrysler locks, most car locks made from 1935 to 1970 had key codes printed somewhere on the cylinder housing. Aftermarket key manufacturers still produce key blanks for 95 percent of these old cars and key codes are readily available.

Ignition and door locks were generally keyed alike. Trunk locks and glove box locks were keyed alike but used a separate key code. Chrysler was the exception. A third key was used for locking Chrysler glove box locks which had a wafer lock with a 1098X keyway. Another exception was GM Chevrolet and Buick models in the 1950s. These two models used a key system with all locks keyed alike.

1933-34 Omega key blanks are no longer made, but every car key blank used since 1935 is still listed in the Ilco key catalog. Depending on the Chrysler model, Ilco 1199, 1199A, 1199AR,1199B,1199C,1199D,1199DR and 1199E were used from 1935-1938. Chrysler standardized on a “BP” code series using the Ilco X1199B keyway from 1939-1946. Chrysler used a “CA” code series from 1947-1948 but still used the X1199B keyway. From 1949-1955 Chrysler used a “CB” code series with the Ilco X1199G keyway. From 1956-1967 Chrysler used a “CJ” series with the Ilco X1199J keyway.

Some Chrysler models during 1959-1965 used a “CV” series, GM-type sidebar trunk lock with an Ilco 1759P keyway. Steel shafts on Chrysler T-handle locks in the late 1940s and early 1950s were notorious for separating from the die case handle portion. Chrysler models in the late 1950s used push button trunk locks. There were many different designs and sizes. Most were not made to be easily disassembled. Impressioning is the best choice when key fitting.

GM experimented with a double-sided key system for 1934-1935 and key blanks are no longer made. From 1936-1966, GM used a six-cut sidebar lock system with Ilco key blank H1098LA and code series 8001-9499. A set of 60 tryout keys was available to unlock these sidebar locks. The ignition lock has a poke hole in the facecap. Turn the ignition counter-clockwise to the accessory position using a proper tryout key. Insert a pin or bent paper clip into the poke hole to depress the retainer, then turn the cylinder slightly further counter-clockwise and remove the cylinder. Key codes are stamped on the plug.

GM door locks from 1936 to 1949 used an exterior retainer clip which was located under the door weather stripping. Pry the retainer outward with a screwdriver and the lock cylinder can be easily removed. Key codes are stamped on the housing. GM changed to a pushbutton door handle in the 1950s which had the cylinder mounted in the push button. A large retainer hidden behind the outer weather stripping was used. After dislodging the retainer, the door handle can be removed. Key codes are stamped on the shaft extension.

While GM has used many different glove box lock shapes over the years, many of them have a similar basic design. Picking skill is required. The lock must be in the unlocked position. If it is locked, pick and turn the plug clockwise one quarter turn. Next, compress the locking bolt downward as far as it will go and simultaneously pick the plug clockwise one quarter turn. The plug can now be removed. Key codes are printed on the side of the lock plug.

In 1967 GM changed their lock system, adding one more depth and began using various lettered keyways. Key codes were stamped on lock cylinders until the early 1970s. After that time only the ignition lock contained a key code.

Model A cars were made from 1927-1931. One of the most popular keys for Model A vehicles is the Ilco C1098A. For some reason Ilco shows this in the General Motors section, but it is definitely only for Ford Model A vehicles.

Ford began using Hurd locks in 1932 and carried the same Ilco 1125H keyway through 1951. Various Dodge trucks also used the same keyway for many years. Several different code series were used such as FX, FW &FY. Fortunately Ford printed the code numbers on every lock, so Ford key fitting is not too difficult. Door locks were held by a set screw accessible on the edge of the door. Unfortunately these screws often rust in place, so removing a Ford door lock is always an adventure.

Ford was one of the first car manufacturers to use locking steering wheels. Vehicles from 1932-1948 used this system. The ignition lock is retained by a serrated pin located on the bottom of the steering wheel lock unit. Removal can be done by drilling a hole into the serrated pin and tapping the hole for 6-32 threads. Insert a long screw into the tapped hole, then attach a vise grip to the screw at a right angle. Hold onto the vise grip handle and hit the vise grip near the screw with a hammer, A few swift hits should dislodge the serrated pin. The ignition cylinder can then be removed for key fitting.

Many Ford locks had no shoulder on the front of the plug. A shim can often be inserted in the front of the cylinder and tumblers can be lifted with a pick as the shim is moved towards the rear. This system can also be used on Hurd padlocks.

The small pin size of Ford locks sometimes lead to quick wear and failure. To solve this problem Ford changed to a sturdier key system for 1952-1956 (Ilco 1127D). Ford again changed keyways for 1957-1966 and added various grooves. An Ilco 1127DU blank will operate any ignition/door lock and the 1127ES will operate any glove/trunk lock made from 1952 to 1966. Key codes continued to be stamped on most lock housings through 1966. Many truck models continued to use the Ford single-sided lock system into the 1970s, but most other Ford models changed to the double-sided Ilco 1167FD key system in 1967.

Early Studebakers from the 1931-1940 used wafer keys and keyway O1122A. 1941-1949 models used an X1199AR blank for the door and ignition with the O1122A keyway continuing for trunk locks. 1949-1952 models often used Hurd locks with the same Ilco 1125H keyway as 1932-1951 Ford. Studebaker went back to the X1199AR blank from 1952-1965. Ilco O1122A blanks were used during 1952-1965 for trunk locks.

Compared to all other cars on the road, Studebakers of the 1950s caused the most headaches for locksmiths. Door cylinders are held by an internal retainer. The door skin is so narrow that a human hand cannot get inside to reach the retainer. A special tool is needed to access the retainer from above after removing the outer door handle. Another problem is the door/ignition depth and space system. An unusual .018 depth increment is used with depth #1 starting at .222.

Miscellaneous Vehicles

Most of the other popular cars of the day such as Hudson, Nash, AMC and Packard all used Briggs & Stratton five wafer keys exactly the same as big trucks are using today. If you have 1098X, 1098L and 1098DB key blanks on your board, those will cover almost every one of the lesser car manufacturer models. Although a thin blank such as an Ilco 1098M will enter all of these keyways, individual blanks are a much better choice against possible breakage.

Most of the door locks used during the 1930s were called pillar locks. These locks had long square shafts connected to the cylinder. The shafts had flexible couplings. A guide hole was drilled into the rear of the shaft.

Locksmiths would poke a small hole into the upholstery in line with the locking hub and insert a thin wire through the hole and into the guide hole in the lock shaft. The cylinder could then be easily inserted into the door while the shaft was guided into the lock hub. Since the upholstery was made of thick cloth or mohair, the small hole was never visible.

Brass was the material choice for auto locks in the 1920s, but diecast took over in the 1930s. I guess nobody ever expected that those old diecast car locks would still be in use 80 years later. Before fitting keys to any old diecast auto lock, insert the tip of a key a short distance into the plug and wiggle the plug left and right. If there is plug and tumbler movement, chances are the lock is still operational. If the plug is ‘frozen’ in place, you have a problem. Another indication is if the plug has wrinkles on the surface. The wrinkles indicate that the diecast material is disintegrating with age. Any turning pressure such as during impressioning can cause further disintegration and in the worst case the plug will break into small pieces. If the plug is not loose in the housing, there is not much you can or should do.

All cars made during the 1930s had clutch and brake pedal connections which extended through holes in the floor boards. When there was a lockout, old time locksmiths would lie on the ground and insert a long rod with a hook at the end through the floor board holes. The hook on the rod was then used to grasp the inner door handle and unlock the vehicle.


An indispensable companion of private property is a strong desire to save it for oneself, and maybe for the descendants.

Nowadays, in order to preserve private capital people use various safes. The noun came from the English word “safe”, which literally translates as secure, reliable. In the other words, a safe – is a rugged box from fire-resistant, unbreakable material where one can store documents and valuables.

But what is the history of the safes? Let’s try to have a look…

The progenitors of modern safes are the ancient chests and caskets, which were an inherent part of life of the rich and the elite. But the history of the treasure chests will not be complete without an overview of the invention and development of the keys — necessary thing for locking the chests.

The first traces of a lockable device that looked likes keys were discovered in the tomb of Pharaoh Ramses II, who reigned in the 13th century BC. But in fairness it should be noted that the wooden mechanical locks were invented by several civilizations simultaneously.

These locks, with movable pins («fingers»), had to be attachment to the door jamb. Pins, in turn, due to their own weight, fell into the holes in the «bolt» and locked the door. This method of locking is used now in the pin tumbler locks.

Over time, these devices were improved, going from wood products to the metal and then in ascending order.

Padlocks with spring mechanism were already used in ancient Rome. The Romans invented fixed lugs in the lock, where they made a variety of notches. It was done to prevent one key from opening all the locks. It must be said that such locking system existed over a thousand years, as it was popular among the merchants, who were vitally interested in the protection of their goods from the robbers. In addition, the locks were of different size from the smallest to the largest. They embodied various figures — from geometric to the shapes of birds and animals, and even the religious symbols.

In the Middle Ages, especially in the Renaissance, the shape of the keys became more refined, as it was influenced by the development of architecture and construction.

The refined shape of the keys was done not in practical needs. It was just admired by the users. The locks were practically never used to lock the doors, because spring mechanisms themselves were unchanged and the safety of the property depended on such nuances as hidden keyholes, complex seizures, etc.

That is why such locks were put on public display without covering to make it clear from what parts they were made, and what the finish of the case and the method of assembly were.

If a worker was able to make a metal lock, that was admired, such worker was appreciated as a great master.

New concepts for locking devices were invented in the 17th century in Europe, when special mechanisms around the keyholes were invented. For example, the bells ringing when the bolt was touched (the progenitor of the modern alarm), or coded locks with a set of specific letters and numbers, which didn’t require keys to open it.

Similar progress was made at the improvement of the chests. If originally they were decorated with wrought-iron lace patterns, painted with bright colors and gold, over time their appearance became secondary. The functionality was the important factor.

According to historians, the king of France, Louis XVI was a master at forging metal and applied his knowledge making the locks. But he was particularly proud of an iron box, which he built into the wall and used to store his personal documents. This was probably the only case in the history when a safe was made by the highest person.

But in terms of industrial production of the safes, the fist place here belongs to the UK, where in the 19th century they began to produce the safes that had the features of the modern proof safes.

First safes were locked with keys. But with the level of security increases the skills of the burglars (who are called safecrackers). Safecrackers opened the locks with a crowbar, or, even worse, blew them up with gunpowder, that was put in the keyhole.

Then mechanical locks with dial plates came to replace the locks with keys. The code was inserted on several rotated disks. But these locks safecrackers found another “crowbar” — it was a medical stethoscope. A slight click was heard with the right location of the numbers on the dial. The sound could be easily distinguished by the use of the medical device.

The manufacturers fixed this defect in the second half of the 20th century, when after a certain improvement the disks of the dials could make a number of additional clicks, which, in turn, prevented from guessing the correct combination.

In the 1960-ies the crackers started using the diamond drills that could pierce even concrete. Manufacturers took prompt action and began to add corundum to the concrete (second hard mineral after the diamond).

Now the mail tool of the safecracker is a soldering lamp that can heat up to the temperature of over 3000 degrees. But if graphite is added to the mixture that fills the walls, while heating such mixture will start smoking and it will be impossible and even not safe to stay close to such a safe. Therefore, crackers are now using modern hydraulic loading equipment they just take the safes away, and then open them in a convenient place.

Apparently, today the world production of safes is put on a wide production line, trying to satisfy the growing demand of a number of buyers that are increasing day by day. Great variety of different types of safes are produced and sold. Taking into account the current demand many manufacturers try to decorate their products with metal swirls or patterns that should give safes their «classic look.» There are safes that are upholstered with velvet, expensive wood, decorated like a book on a shelf, and many other ones

Technological progress, globalization and migration have led to the fact that the need for safes that can resist not only the breaking attempts, but also the fire has dramatically increased. A large number of counterfeit forced to create standards, committees and commissions that would monitor all the process.

All modern safes can be divided into several categories. They are:

  • furniture safes
  • safes for magnetic devices
  • deposit safes
  • built-in safes
  • cash desk safes
  • portable safes
  • car safes
  • kind of furniture safes – hotel safes
  • kind of built-in – secret compartments
  • gun safes
  • elite safes

In most countries, in order to have a gun at home, you must have a certified gun safe — the guarantor that unauthorized people won’t have access to the weapon.

There is also a safe that is resistant to explosion (a so called container). It is a part of the subway security system in some cities.

According to the internal safety rules when a suspicious object is found in the subway, it is put in this container and transported to the landfill, where the container is released.

According to the results of the tests it is known that such a container can withstand the explosive disruption of up to 3 kg of TNT.

Perhaps only our descendants will be able to tell who will win in this confrontation: producers vs. «safecrackers,» but we really hope that the winners will be the first ones!


Development of the keyboard

Long before the appearance of the first stringed keyboard instruments in the 14th century, the keyboard was developed and applied to the organ. A keyboard of the kind familiar today—a series of parallel levers hinged or pivoted so that they can be pushed down by the fingers—first appeared on the hydraulus, an organ probably invented in Alexandria in the late 3rd century bc . This type of keyboard seems to have disappeared after the fall of the Roman Empire, and the organs of the early Middle Ages generally had sliders that were pulled out to sound different notes some may have had keys that turned like the key for a lock. Keys of the last type were certainly used on the organistrum, a large medieval hurdy-gurdy operated by two players: one turned a crank rotating a wheel that rubbed against one or more strings to make them sound, while the other produced different notes by turning the key-shaped levers that stopped the strings at various points (much as guitar strings are stopped against the fingerboard).

Some small portable organs had push buttons instead of keys as late as the 1440s, but a keyboard resembling the modern type existed in the 14th century, although the arrangement of naturals and sharps (corresponding to the white and black keys on the modern piano) was only gradually standardized. The arrangement of the keys depended in part on the music played and partly on the current state of musical theory. Thus, early keyboards are reported with only a single raised key in each octave (B♭), and there were organs that had both B and B♭ as “natural” keys, with C♯, D♯, F♯, and G♯ as raised keys. The colours of the keys—white for naturals and black for sharps—became standardized much later, about 1800, depending on fashion or on the relative cost of such materials as bone, ivory, or boxwood for the “white” keys and stained hardwood or ebony for the “black” keys. Flemish instruments had bone naturals and oak sharps by 1580 French and German instruments had ebony or fruitwood naturals and bone or ivory sharps until the 1790s.


A Timeline of COVID-19 Developments in 2020

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) dominated 2020. This is a look back at how the pandemic evolved and progressed through the year, which closed with the arrival of vaccines, but also continued challenges.

As the year ended, the United States surpassed 20 million infections from SARS-CoV-2, and more than 346,000 deaths. Globally, cases rose to 83,832,334 and 1,824,590 deaths.

Cases in some parts of the country began surging again in the weeks after Thanksgiving the same effect may be seen in January as health officials are gravely concerned about the extent of travel for the Christmas and winter holidays. The Transportation Security Administration said it screened the most passengers (1.3 million) on the Sunday before Christmas, the most since March 15.

While vaccines began to roll out in the last month of the year, distribution challenges became evident and the United States fell short of its goal of providing an initial dose to 20 million people by December 31.

This is an updated look at how the pandemic progressed throughout 2020.

January 9 — WHO Announces Mysterious Coronavirus-Related Pneumonia in Wuhan, China

At this point, the World Health Organization (WHO) still has doubts about the roots of what would become the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that the spate of pneumonia-like cases in Wuhan could have stemmed from a new coronavirus. There are 59 cases so far, and travel precautions are already at the forefront of experts’ concerns.

January 20 — CDC Says 3 US Airports Will Begin Screening for Coronavirus

Three additional cases of what is now the 2019 novel coronavirus are reported in Thailand and Japan, causing the CDC to begin screenings at JFK International, San Francisco International, and Los Angeles International airports. These airports are picked because flights between Wuhan and the United States bring most passengers through them.

January 21 — CDC Confirms First US Coronavirus Case

A Washington state resident becomes the first person in the United States with a confirmed case of the 2019 novel coronavirus, having returned from Wuhan on January 15, thanks to overnight polymerase chain reaction testing. The CDC soon after deploys a team to help with the investigation, including potential use of contact tracing.

January 21 — Chinese Scientist Confirms COVID-19 Human Transmission

At this point, the 2019 novel coronavirus has killed 4 and infected more than 200 in China, before Zhong Nanshan, MD, finally confirms it can be transmitted from person to person. However, the WHO is still unsure of the necessity of declaring a public health emergency.

January 23 — Wuhan Now Under Quarantine

In just 2 days, 13 more people died and an additional 300 were sickened. China makes the unprecedented move not only to close off Wuhan and its population of 11 million, but to also place a restricted access protocol on Huanggang, 30 miles to the east, where residents can’t leave without special permission. This means up to 18 million people are under strict lockdown.

January 31 — WHO Issues Global Health Emergency

With a worldwide death toll of more than 200 and an exponential jump to more than 9800 cases, the WHO finally declares a public health emergency, for just the sixth time. Human-to-human transmission is quickly spreading and can now be found in the United States, Germany, Japan, Vietnam, and Taiwan.

February 2 — Global Air Travel Is Restricted

By 5 pm on Sunday, those en route to the United States have to have left China or they can face a 2-week home-based quarantine if they had been in Hubei province. Mainland visitors, however, will need to undergo health screenings upon their return, and foreign nationals can even be denied admittance. Other countries beginning to impose similar air-travel restrictions at this point include Australia, Germany, Italy, and New Zealand.

February 3 — US Declares Public Health Emergency

The Trump administration declares a public health emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak. The announcement comes 3 days after WHO declared a Global Health Emergency as more than 9800 cases of the virus and more than 200 deaths had been confirmed worldwide.

February 10 — China’s COVID-19 Deaths Exceed Those of SARS Crisis

The COVID-19 death toll surpasses that of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak from 17 years ago, totaling 908 reported deaths in China in the last month compared with 774 deaths in the SARS crisis.

February 25 — CDC Says COVID-19 Is Heading Toward Pandemic Status

Explaining what would signify a pandemic, Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, says that thus far COVID-19 meets 2 of the 3 required factors: illness resulting in death and sustained person-to-person spread. Worldwide spread is the third criteria not yet met at the time.

March 6 — 21 Passengers on California Cruise Ship Test Positive

Twenty-one people of just 46 tested aboard a cruise ship carrying more than 3500 people off the California coast test positive for COVID-19, with 19 being crew members. The ship is held at sea instead of being allowed to dock in San Francisco while testing is conducted. Since the event, 60 passengers have sued the cruise line and parent company, Carnival Corp, for gross negligence in how passenger safety was handled.

March 11 — WHO Declares COVID-19 a Pandemic

In declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of WHO, said at a briefing in Geneva the agency is “deeply concerned by the alarming levels of spread and severity” of the outbreak. He also expressed concern about “the alarming levels of inaction.”

March 13 — Trump Declares COVID-19 a National Emergency

President Donald Trump declares the novel coronavirus a national emergency, which unlocks billions of dollars in federal funding to fight the disease’s spread.

March 13 — Travel Ban on Non-US Citizens Traveling From Europe Goes Into Effect

The Trump administration issues a travel ban on non-Americans who visited 26 European countries within 14 days of coming to the United States. People traveling from the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland are exempt.

March 17 — University of Minnesota Begins Testing Hydroxychloroquine

The University of Minnesota launches a clinical trial to investigate whether hydroxychloroquine can prevent an individual exposed to COVID-19 from becoming ill or reduce the severity of the infection. The trial is limited to those at high risk of exposure and aims to enroll 1500 individuals.

March 17 — CMS Temporarily Expands Use of Telehealth

CMS expands its telehealth rules, permitting use during the COVID-19 pandemic as a means to protect older patients from potential exposure. The relaxation allows Medicare to cover telehealth visits the same as it would regular in-person visits.

March 17 — Administration Asks Congress to Send Americans Direct Financial Relief

Trump asks Congress to expediate emergency relief checks to Americans as part of an economic stimulus package. The proposal comes just as the United States reports its 100th death from COVID-19.

March 19 — California Issues Statewide Stay-at-Home Order

California becomes the first state to issue a stay-at-home order, mandating all residents to stay at home except to go to an essential job or shop for essential needs. The order also instructs health care systems to prioritize services to those who are the sickest.

March 24 — With Clinical Trials on Hold, Innovation Stalls

Overwhelmed hospitals are keeping out everyone who does not need to be there, and that means delaying the start of new clinical trials, according to an interview. The Center for Biosimilars ® reported that drugs with fresh FDA approvals are not likely to launch, as their chances of making it into circulation are dim with hospitals struggling just to find enough personal protective equipment.

March 25 — Reports Find Extended Shutdowns Can Delay Second Wave

Mathematical models based on social distancing measures implemented in Wuhan, China, show keeping tighter measures in place for longer periods of time can flatten the COVID-19 curve.

March 26 — Senate Passes CARES Act

The Senate passes the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, providing $2 trillion in aid to hospitals, small businesses, and state and local governments, while including an elimination of the Medicare sequester from May 1 through December 31, 2020.

March 27 — Trump Signs CARES Act Into Law

The House of Representatives approves the CARES act, the largest economic recovery package in history, and Trump signs it into law. The bipartisan legislation provides direct payments to Americans and expansions in unemployment insurance.

March 30 — FDA Authorizes Use of Hydroxychloroquine

FDA issues an emergency use authorization (EUA) for hydroxychloroquine sulfate and chloroquine phosphate products” to be donated to the Strategic National Stockpile and donated to hospitals to treat patients with COVID-19. The EUA would be rescinded June 15, except for patients in clinical trials, in the wake of reports of heart rhythm problems among some patients.

March 31 — COVID-19 Can Be Transmitted Through the Eye

A report in JAMA Ophthalmology creates a stir with the finding that patients can catch the virus that causes COVID-19 through the eye, despite low prevalence of the virus in tears. The coverage of the study involving 38 patients from Hubei Province, China, drew some of AJMC.com’s highest readership of 2020, as the findings contradicted assumptions by leading professional societies.

April 8 — Troubles With the COVID-19 Cocktail

“What do you have to lose?” Trump asks when touting the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine or the related chloroquine as possible treatments for COVID-19. With a common antibiotic, azithromycin, the drug cocktail becomes an early candidate to prevent hospitalization or death. But Trump’s promotion of the combination, despite known heart risks for some patients, prompts the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and the Heart Rhythm Society to warn in a joint guidance that the drugs are not for everyone.

April 16 — “Gating Criteria” Emerge as a Way to Reopen the Economy

After Trump briefly entertains the idea of reopening the US economy in time for Easter Sunday, the White House releases broad guidelines for how people could return to work, to church, and to restaurants and other venues. The plan outlines the concept of “gating criteria,” which call for states or metropolitan areas to achieve benchmarks in reducing COVID-19 cases or deaths before taking the next step toward reopening.

April 28 — Young, Poor Avoid Care for COVID-19 Symptoms

As the pandemic lingers, the term “deferred care” caught fire in health care circles—referring to the fact that many would avoid a doctor’s office or hospital for any procedure that could wait. But a Gallup poll finds a darker side to this phenomenon: 1 in 7 Americans report they would not seek care for a fever or dry cough—the classic symptoms of COVID-19. The reason? Cost concerns. Those most likely to avoid medical treatment for symptoms are younger than age 30 and make less than $40,000 a year. By the end of April, 26.5 million Americans have filed for unemployment since mid-March.

April 29 — NIH Trial Shows Early Promise for Remdesivir

National Institutes of Health (NIH) trial data, which are not peer reviewed, show that remdesivir, made by Gilead Sciences, is better than placebo in treating COVID-19. Patients with advanced COVID-19 and lung involvement who received the antiviral had a 31% faster recovery time, or about 4 days.

May 1 — Remdesivir Wins EUA

Shortly after the trial data are published, FDA grants an EUA to remdesivir after preliminary data from an NIH trial found the treatment accelerated recovery in individuals with advanced COVID-19 and lung involvement.

May 9 — Saliva-Based Diagnostic Test Allowed for At-Home Use

The FDA broadens authorization of a saliva-based test to detect COVID-19 infection the EUA is granted to Rutgers Clinical Genomics Laboratory. The test makes it possible for those who cannot get to a collection center to get tested, including those who are home because they are ill, quarantined, or at high risk of infection due to their age or comorbidities.

May 12 — Death Toll Likely Underestimated, Fauci Testifies

Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before the US Senate that the US death toll of 80,000 is likely an underestimate. He warns against the relaxation of social distancing and says he is “cautiously optimistic” that a vaccine will be effective and achieved within 1 or 2 years.

May 21 — United States and AstraZeneca Form Vaccine Deal

The Trump administration and AstraZeneca announce a collaboration to speed development of a COVID-19 vaccine called AZD1222. HHS says it expects the first doses to be available as early as October 2020 phase 3 clinical studies are underway this summer.

May 28 — US COVID-19 Deaths Pass the 100,000 Mark

The CDC says surpassing 100,000 deaths is a “sobering development and a heart-breaking reminder of the horrible toll of this unprecedented pandemic.” It asks that Americans continue following local and state guidance on prevention strategies, such as social distancing, good hand hygiene, and wearing a face mask while in public.

June 4 — Lancet, NEJM Retract COVID-19 Studies on Hydroxychloroquine

On the same day, The New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet both retract 2 studies on the use of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19, after the authors said they could not vouch for the data used. A private database of medical records compiled by a little-known firm called Surgisphere was used in both studies. The retractions bring to light the difficulty of publishing vital COVID-19 research while ensuring accuracy.

June 10 — US COVID-19 Cases Reach 2 Million

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 hits 2 million in the United States as new infections continue to rise in 20 states. Cases begin to spike as states ease social distancing restrictions.

June 16 — HHS Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Will Be Free for Some

Officials associated with the United States’ Operation Warp Speed, a project to rapidly develop and deploy a COVID-19 vaccine, explain that the vaccine would be provided for free to elderly patients and other vulnerable populations who cannot afford it.

June 18 — WHO Ends Study Into Hydroxychloroquine

WHO announces it will stop testing hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19. The data from the Solidarity Trial show the drug did not reduce mortality. According to WHO, patients who were previously administered the drug would finish their course or stop based on a supervisor’s discretion.

June 20 — NIH Halts Trial of Hydroxychloroquine

Just days after WHO ended its own trial, the NIH announces it is halting a clinical trial examining the safety and effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19. The study indicates that the treatment does no harm, but also provides no benefit.

June 22 — Study Suggests 80% of Cases in March Went Undetected

A study in Science Translation Medicine suggests that as many as 80% of Americans who sought care for flu-like illnesses in March were actually infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. According to the research, if one-third of these patients sought COVID-19 testing, it may have amounted to 8.7 million infections.

June 26 — White House Coronavirus Task Force Addresses Rising Cases in the South

For the first time in 2 months, the White House Coronavirus Task Force holds a briefing. The focus of the discussion is the rising number of cases and growing positive test rate in some states. As cases rise, Texas and Florida both decide to halt the reopenings as each state records growing numbers of cases.

June 29 — Gilead Sets Price for Remdesivir at $3120

Gilead Sciences sets a price for remdesivir, which can shorten hospitalization stays for patients with COVID-19, at $520 a vial. With a treatment course of 6 vials, the typical treatment course will be $3120 per patient for people covered with private insurance. Critics of the price point are quick to point out that taxpayers funded the COVID-19 remdesivir trial through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

June 30 — Fauci Warns New COVID-19 Cases Could Hit 100,000 a Day

In his appearance before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Fauci warns that while the current daily number of new cases in the United States is hovering around 40,000, that could reach as high as 100,000 new cases per day given the outbreak’s current trajectory.

July 2 — States Reverse Reopening Plans

Several states, including California and Indiana, postpone or reverse plans to reopen their economies, as the United States records 50,000 new cases of COVID-19—the largest one-day spike since the pandemic’s onset. New Mexico also extends the state’s emergency public health order through July 15 and implements a $100 fine for those not adhering to required mask usage.

July 6 — Scientists, Citing Airborne Transmission, Ask WHO to Revise Guidance

Hundreds of scientists call on the WHO to revise recommendations on COVID-19 to better reflect its potential for airborne transmission. Previously, the organization stated that COVID-19 spreads primarily via small droplets from the nose or mouth emitted when an infected individual coughs, sneezes, or speaks.

July 7 — CMS Plans to Pay More for Home Dialysis Equipment

CMS proposes a rule aimed at keeping patients outside of dialysis centers for treatment as the nation faces rising cases. The transitional add-on payment for new and innovative equipment or supplies would allow greater access to home dialysis machines, improving accessibility for Medicare beneficiaries.

July 7 — US Surpasses 3 Million Infections, Begins WHO Withdrawal

The same day that the United States reports 3 million COVID-19 infections, the nation begins its withdrawal from WHO, citing its response to the global pandemic. The Trump administration notifies the United Nations of its decision, which would not take effect until 2021 and could be reversed by President-elect Joe Biden.

July 9 — WHO Announces COVID-19 Can Be Airborne

WHO announces that the novel coronavirus can be transmitted through the air after more than 200 scientists sign a letter urging the agency to revise its recommendations. In an updated scientific brief, WHO notes that the virus may linger in the air in crowded indoor spaces and emphasizes that the virus may be spread by asymptomatic individuals.

July 14 — States With COVID-19 Spikes Report Greatest Health Insurance Coverage Losses

As of May 2020, states with the greatest percentage of nonelderly adults who are currently uninsured included Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, according to an analysis from Families USA. These states also report the highest numbers of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents as of July 12.

July 14 — Early Moderna Data Point to Vaccine Candidate’s Efficacy

Data from phase 1/2 trials of Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine show that doses produced immune responses in all 3 groups of 15 volunteers. The company was the first to enter large-scale human trials. Adverse effects of the vaccine candidate, which is administered twice 28 days apart, include injection site pain and chills.

July 15 — New Hospital Data Reporting Protocol Prompts Concern

An announcement mandates that all hospitals must bypass the CDC and send COVID-19–related information to a central database run by HHS Protect. Previously, data were sent to the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network site. Following the change, questions are raised regarding the future of COVID-19 data transparency and politicization.

July 16 — US Reports New Record of Daily COVID-19 Cases

The United States reported a record 75,600 cases of COVID-19 in a single day, breaking a record set the week prior. At this point, daily cases have seen 11 record totals in the past month alone. Texas, Hawaii, and Montana are among the 10 states reporting new record daily totals.

July 20 — Diagnostic Delays From COVID-19 May Increase Cancer-Related Deaths

The next several years could bear witness to thousands of additional deaths from cancer that could have been prevented through routine diagnostic care that was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, delays in referrals and screenings for breast, colorectal, esophageal, and lung cancers were indicated in a pair of studies published in The Lancet Oncology to potentially lead to almost 10% (n = 3291-3621) more deaths in England over the next 5 years.

July 21 — Vaccines From AstraZeneca, CanSino Biologics Show Promising Results

Two experimental vaccines, one from AstraZeneca and the other from CanSino Biologics, show promising results against COVID-19. The interim results of AstraZeneca’s phase 1/2 COV001 trial of AZD1222 show that the vaccine was tolerated and generated robust immune responses against the virus in all participants who were evaluated. In the CanSino Phase 2 trial, the vaccine induced significant neutralizing antibody responses, with as many as 95% of patients showing either cellular or humoral immune responses at day 28 post vaccination.

July 22 — HHS, DOD Announce Vaccine Distribution Agreement With Pfizer and BioNTech

HHS and the Department of Defense (DOD) strike a partnership with biotech giants Pfizer and BioNTech for a December delivery of 100 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate, BNT162, in a deal that could expand to 600 million doses if the vaccine receives approval or an EUA from the FDA, and even then only if phase 3 clinical trial results confirm that the vaccine is safe and effective.

July 23 — Antibody Levels Drop After First 3 Months of COVID-19 Infection

Findings from a research letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicate that levels of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, dropped dramatically across the first 3 months of infection. At this rate, researchers note that antibody resistance would be depleted within a year, although experts note that the possibility of being infected again with the virus is very unlikely.

July 23 — Antibody Cocktail May Treat, Prevent COVID-19

Researchers conceive of an antibody cocktail that uses antibodies directed at different locations on the familiar “spike” on SARS-CoV-2 that gives the virus its “corona.” The scientists found the antibodies fell into 2 distinct groups, targeting different regions of the viral spike. Thus, they say, the battle against COVID-19 could be waged on separate fronts, much like those against HIV and some forms of cancer.

July 27 — Moderna Vaccine Begins Phase 3 Trial, Receives $472M From Trump Administration

In beginning the first phase 3 clinical trial to examine a vaccine candidate against COVID-19, Moderna announces that the Trump administration increased funding by $472 million to expand the trial to 30,000 US participants. The move now brings the total investment made by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to $955 million.

July 27 — Senate Introduces HEALS Act

Republicans introduce a package of bills known together as the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act, which provides provisions for another stimulus check, more money for small businesses, and liability protections for companies seeking to bring employees back to the workplace during the pandemic.

July 29 — FDA Grants Truvian EUA for Rapid Antibody Test

FDA grants Truvian Sciences an EUA for its Easy Check COVID-19 IgM/IgG antibody test after it was shown to exceed EUA requirements, including a sensitivity rate of 98.44% and a specificity of 98.9%. The announcement follows the FDA’s increased oversight of antibody tests on May 5, requiring them to meet standards of other molecular tests.

August 3 — New US Pandemic Phase US to Pay Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline $2B for Vaccine

Coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx, MD, says the United States has entered a new phase of the pandemic, as widespread cases nationwide differ from early concentrated outbreaks first reported in March and April. Birx’s comments come as the United States agrees to a $2.1 billion deal with GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur in an effort to develop, manufacture, and scale up delivery of a COVID-19 vaccine.

August 4 — Rural Hotspots Face Lack of Intensive Care Unit Beds

Almost 5 months after the pandemic was declared a national emergency in the United States, 49% of low-income areas have no free beds in their intensive care units vs 3% of the wealthiest. Hospitals are now being forced to transfer their sickest patients to care facilities in these wealthier areas, with the Southwest and West facing an especially difficult bed shortage.

August 7 — Talks Stall on Second Relief Package

Stimulus checks from the first package rolled out seemingly quickly, but talks stall between the White House and Democrats on a potential subsequent round of relief, even as jobless claims reach a record high of 1.186 million. Trump continues to claim he will issue executive orders if a deal cannot be reached.

August 11 — Trump Administration Reaches Deal With Moderna

Despite still waiting on final data, the Trump administration reportedly agrees to pay $1.5 billion to Moderna for 100 million doses of its vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, or an average per-dose price of $15. The vaccine, however, is still under investigation in the joint phase 3 COVE trial Moderna is conducting with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

August 12 — Severe Obesity Increases Mortality Risk From COVID-19

Investigators from Kaiser Permanente publish their findings showing that patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 to 44 kg/m 2 have a risk of death from COVID-19 that is more than twice that of individuals whose BMI is 18.5 to 24 mg/m 2 . An abundance of comprehensive patient data enabled the team to isolate obesity’s effects compared with those resulting from more than 20 comorbidities, health care use, and population density, among others. At the heart of this finding is that excess fat exacerbates the breathing issues brought on by COVID-19.

August 13 — Biden Calls for 3-Month Mask Mandate

Still a presidential nominee, Joe Biden calls on all governors to require their citizens to wear masks anytime they go out in public through November, and he claims he will mandate the practice if elected. At this point, there are a reported 165,000 deaths from COVID-19, and the measure is estimated to save 40,000 lives in the coming months. At this point, mask mandates still vary greatly among the states and regions.

August 15 — FDA Approves Saliva Test

The federal agency issues an EUA for SalivaDirect, a test developed by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health that is less invasive compared with the current standard nasal swabs. With shorter wait times not affecting test sensitivity, labs can reportedly run 90 test samples, which are collected in sterile containers, in under 3 hours. The test is also inexpensive and produces results similar to nasal swabbing.

August 17 — COVID-19 Now the Third-Leading Cause of Death in the US

In just 4 days, there’s been a 3.2% uptick in COVID-19–related deaths, to 170,434, giving the disease a No. 3 ranking behind heart disease in the top spot and cancer at No. 2. Deaths now exceed 1000 per day and nationwide cases exceed 5.4 million. Testing has dropped off by an average 68,000 per day, despite death being 8 times more likely in the United States vs in Europe.

August 23 — Convalescent Plasma Is Cleared for Use by FDA

The FDA issues another EUA, this time for convalescent plasma from recovered patients as a therapy to fight COVID-19. There is ongoing debate about the treatment, which is rooted in experts’ skepticism that all patient populations will derive benefit from it, due to a lack of efficacy data. Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany claims it is a therapeutic breakthrough.

August 24 — Remdesivir’s Clinical Benefits Questioned

A global, multicenter study finds that the antiviral drug remdesivir had little effect on patients hospitalized with COVID-19. The findings, published in JAMA, indicate there were no significant differences in duration of supplemental oxygen or hospitalization between the intervention group given remdesivir and the control group given standard care.

August 25 — CDC Changes Testing Guidance, but Later Reverses Itself

The CDC quietly changes its guidance on who should get tested for COVID-19, saying that individuals who are asymptomatic, but have been exposed, do not need testing. After it is revealed the decision had bypassed CDC’s usual scientific review process and without internal review, the changes are reversed.

August 26 — FDA Grants EUA to Abbott’s Rapid Test

A portable rapid COVID-19 test that can deliver results in under 15 minutes was cleared by the FDA under an EUA. The test is aimed at places like workplaces and schools.

August 28 — First Known Case of COVID-19 Reinfection Reported in the US

A 25-year-old man from Nevada became reinfected with COVID-19 in late May after recovering from a mild case in April, reports say. It marks the first reported case of reinfection in the United States the second occurrence resulted in a much more severe case, requiring hospitalization and oxygen. A full study of the case is published in Lancet Infectious Disease Journal in October.

September 1 — US Rejects WHO Global COVID-19 Vaccine Effort

The United States says it will not participate in an initiative by the WHO to develop, make, and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine. COVAX, with 172 countries participating, was launched so that an eventual vaccine could be distributed evenly to poor and developing countries.

September 3 — Steroids Reduce Mortality in Severe Cases Sanofi, GSK Begin Human Vaccine Trials

Three studies report that inexpensive steroids are the most effective treatment to date for serious COVID-19. Results from the studies find that the use of systemic corticosteroids can reduce the risk of death by one-third in individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 compared with usual care or placebo.

Additionally, Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) start a clinical trial of their protein-based vaccine the COVID-19 vaccine uses the same protein-based technology as one of Sanofi’s influenza vaccines and is combined with an adjuvant, or booster, developed by GSK.

September 3 — Bioethicists Weigh In on Equitable Vaccine Distribution

Nineteen bioethicists outline measures for equitable distribution of limited supplies of any COVID-19 vaccine the plan, called the Fair Priority Model, considers 3 types of harms caused by COVID-19 and 3 values that must be adhered to when considering the allocation of a scarce supply of vaccine.

September 8 — AstraZeneca Halts Phase 3 Vaccine Trial

The phase 3 trial for AstraZeneca’s potential COVID-19 vaccine is halted for a safety data review following an unknown adverse reaction in a patient. The patient was part of the United Kingdom arm of the trial. At the time, the nature of the adverse reaction was not known, but the company did say that the participant was expected to recover. AstraZeneca says the hold was initiated as “a routine action.”

September 14 — US Airports Stop Screening International Travelers

The government announces it will stop screenings taking place at some airports since January. In March, incoming flights from high-risk countries, including China, Iran, and much of Europe, were funneled through 15 designated airports, but as of September 14, the flights will no longer be redirected and all passenger screenings will be halted. As part of the screening process, passengers had their temperatures taken and were subject to a basic health screening about typical COVID-19 symptoms before they could go through passport control and customs.

September 14 — Pfizer, BioNTech Expand Phase 3 Trial

After initially aiming to recruit 30,000 participants, Pfizer and BioNTech announce they will expand the phase 3 trial of their COVID-19 vaccine by 50% to 44,000. The goal of expanding the trial is to increase data on safety and efficacy and promote a more diverse population, including adolescents as young as 16 years and patients with HIV, hepatitis C, or hepatitis B. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is provided as 2 shots given 3 weeks apart, but the vaccine must be kept at a temperature of –70 degrees Celsius (–94 degrees Fahrenheit), which may make distribution a challenge.

September 14 — NIH Launches Investigation Into Halted Astrazeneca Trial

After AstraZeneca put its phase 3 trial on hold, the NIH announces it is launching an investigation into the adverse reaction before the FDA decides whether or not to resume the trial. The participant suffered spinal cord damage, and there remained some uncertainty about what happened to cause the damage.

September 15 — CDC Reports on Spread of COVID-19 at Restaurants

A study published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report finds that people who recently tested positive for COVID-19 were 2.4 times more likely to have dined out. The study considered restaurant dining to include being seated at a patio, being seated outdoors, and being seated indoors. The odds jumped almost 4-fold for participants who had been to a bar or café. The majority of participants (71%) claimed to have worn masks in the 2 weeks before their diagnosis.

September 16 — Trump Administration Releases Vaccine Distribution Plan

A plan devised by HHS and the DOD aims to make a COVID-19 vaccine free for all Americans, with the vaccine being rolled out in January 2021. Once a vaccine is authorized, the plan dictates that 6.6 million kits of supplies needed to administer vaccines will also be distributed. The plan does not include a decision on who would be the first to receive the vaccine.

September 17 — Europe Reports Rising COVID-19 Cases

Europe reports a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases, with numbers growing at a higher rate than they did during the previous peak in March. In the first half of September, more than half of all European countries reported an increase greater than 10%.

September 21 — CDC Pulls Guidance Saying COVID-19 Transmission Is Airborne

The CDC removes guidance from its website that had been posted 3 days earlier saying that the transmission of COVID-19 is airborne. CDC says the document was posted in error and the guidance was a “draft version of proposed changes.”

September 21 — Johnson & Johnson Begins Phase 3 Vaccine Trial

Johnson & Johnson announces that it began a large phase 3 clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. This vaccine does not need to be frozen and may require 1 administration instead of 2. The trial is expected to test the vaccine in 60,000 participants, making it the largest phase 3 trial of all vaccines currently being tested.

September 23 — A New, More Contagious Strain of COVID-19 Is Discovered

A study conducted at Houston Methodist Hospital finds a more contagious strain of COVID-19 in a large portion of recent patient samples. Investigators analyzed samples from the earliest phase of the pandemic and a more recent infection wave, finding that nearly all strains from the more recent phase had a mutation that allows the virus to bind and infect more cells.

September 25 — Midwest States See Increase in COVID-19 Cases

Over the course of September, Midwest states experience a dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases, with South Dakota alone having a 166% increase and 10 other states reporting record 1-day increases. The annual Sturgis motorcycle rally, school and university reopenings, and Labor Day weekend celebrations have all been cited as case links.

September 28 — Global COVID-19 Deaths Surpass 1 Million

The number of deaths linked to COVID-19 worldwide crosses the 1 million mark, according to The New York Times, surpassing the deaths caused by HIV, dysentery, malaria, influenza, cholera, and measles combined in 2020.

September 29 — HHS to Distribute 100 Million Rapid Tests to States

HHS announces a plan to send 100 million rapid COVID-19 tests, developed by Abbott, to states by the end of the year. The rapid tests are cheaper and faster than laboratory tests and can return results in about 15 minutes. The plan was designed to assist K-12 schools in reopening.

September 29 — Regeneron Announces Positive Results for Monoclonal Antibody Treatment

Regeneron releases study results from its ongoing phase 1/2/3 trial showing that its proposed monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19, REGN-COV2, was linked to quicker recovery, reduced viral load, and the need for fewer medical visits. REGN-COV2 is a mixture of 2 monoclonal antibodies (REGN10933 and REGN 10987).

October 2 — Trump, First Lady Test Positive for COVID-19 Trump Enters Hospital

President Trump announces that he and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19. After experiencing mild symptoms of the disease, Trump was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, “out of an abundance of caution,” said Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany in a statement.

October 5 — Trump Leaves Hospital, Continues Receiving Treatment

After 3 days, Trump is discharged from the hospital and transported back to the White House, where he would continue to receive treatment for COVID-19 and be monitored. White House physician Sean Conley, DO, says that the president’s fever is gone and that his oxygen levels are normal. During his time at the hospital, Trump’s treatment consisted of Regeneron’s investigational antibody cocktail, remdesivir, and dexamethasone.

October 8 — NEJM Criticizes Trump’s COVID-19 Response 39 States See Case Spikes

In an editorial published by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), 34 editors call out the Trump administration’s response of the COVID-19 pandemic, stating that leaders have “taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy.”

Additionally, 39 states report seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases. Nine states set 7-day records for infections, and Wisconsin and Hawaii report a record number for deaths in a 7-day period.

October 8 — More Americans Trust Biden to Lead Health Care System

A poll released on this date by Gallup-West Health, but taken before Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis, finds that more Americans trust Biden to lead the US health care system through the pandemic. The poll notes that Biden had the support of 52% of voters on this issue, compared with 39% who supported Trump, with the remaining undecided. The results leave room for Trump to narrow Biden’s wide lead in the national polls.

October 8 — White House COVID-19 Outbreak Grows to 34

By this date, the cluster of people infected by the COVID-19 outbreak connected to the Rose Garden ceremony for Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett has grown to 34, including several White House staff members, according to The Washington Post. CDC experts offer assistance with contact tracing.

October 9 — US Signs Deal With AstraZeneca

The Trump administration signed a $486 million agreement with AstraZeneca to develop an antibody treatment for COVID-19, which would call for HHS and the DOD to work with the company to roll out late-stage development and large-scale manufacturing of AZD7442, a cocktail of 2 monoclonal antibodies with potential to treat or prevent the disease.

October 12 — Johnson & Johnson Halts Vaccine Trial

Johnson & Johnson halts recruitment for its phase 3 ENSEMBLE trial for its COVID-19 vaccine halts vaccine trial over a patient’s unexplained illness, a development first reported in POLITICO. The company reports at the time that adverse events that temporarily pause recruitment are not uncommon and mean that clinical trials are being conducted in a safe manner. It later resumes the study of its 1-dose regimen, which is unique among the leading vaccine candidates. The company has also launched ENSEMBLE 2 to study a 2-dose version of the vaccine.

October 15 — US Cases Spike Again Studies Connect Blood Type and COVID-19 Risk

The United States reports 60,000 new COVID-19 cases, a number not reached since early August. Cases rise countrywide, and 44 states report caseloads surpassing those seen in mid-September. More rural states see numbers even higher than during first waves in the spring.

A pair of studies in Blood Advance suggest that the risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 or developing life-threatening complications from the virus might be related to blood type. Researchers caution that the results do not point to any blood type being completely protective or vulnerable to the virus.

October 19 — Global Cases Top 40 Million

Data from Johns Hopkins University indicate that COVID-19 cases have topped 40 million worldwide as the United States and other countries see their highest rates of new cases in months. More than 1.1 million people have been killed by the virus worldwide so far, and nearly 220,000 of those deaths were in the United States, which remains the hardest-hit country in the world.

October 22 — FDA Approves Remdesivir as First COVID-19 Drug

Gilead’s remdesivir is the first FDA-approved drug to treat COVID-19 after 3 randomized trials found it to decrease the length of hospital stays and reduce the likelihood that patients will require oxygen. None of the trials showed reduced risk of mortality, however, and a WHO-backed study found that the drug had “little to no effect” on hospitalized patients. The FDA does not mention the WHO trial in its risk-benefit assessment of remdesivir, stating that an NIH-backed trial supporting the approval was better suited to assess time to recovery than the WHO-backed trial.

October 23 — AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson Announce Restart of COVID-19 Vaccine Trials

AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson announce plans to restart clinical trials for their respective COVID-19 vaccine candidates after they both stopped due to safety concerns. Johnson & Johnson’s stalled on October 11, and a patient in the AstraZeneca trial developed neurological symptoms before its study was halted on September 6. An independent monitoring committee determined that the trial for the latter vaccine candidate was safe to continue.

October 28 — CMS Issues Vaccine, Treatment Coverage Rules

CMS provides new rules for insurance coverage, increasing what Medicare pays hospitals for COVID-19 treatments. Trump and Congress had enacted legislation calling for COVID-19 vaccines to be free, but new rules were necessary to fit that policy into the various payment requirements for public and private insurance. The new rules waive co-pays or deductibles on vaccines for seniors with Medicare.

November 4 — US Reports Unprecedented 100,000 Cases in 1 Day

The US hits a grim milestone with 100,000 new COVID-19 cases reported in a single day for the first time. The unprecedented spike in cases leads to a shortage of N95 face masks at health care facilities despite increased production, and workers continue to ration and reuse masks with no end in sight.

November 5 — Study Predicts Difficulties in Nationwide COVID-19 Immunity

An analysis of flu vaccination rates during the 2019-2020 flu season suggests that the path to vaccinating the majority of the country for SARS-CoV-2, thus achieving sufficient immunity, will not be an easy one. Just 52% of the US population received a flu vaccine in the time frame of the analysis, and the study also highlighted disparities: Lower vaccination rates were recorded in Black and Hispanic adults than White adults, and elderly adults were more likely to receive a vaccine.

November 9 — President-Elect Biden Announces COVID-19 Transition Team Pfizer Publishes Vaccine Results

After former Vice President Joe Biden is determined to be the president-elect on November 7, he announces the names of the scientific, medical, and public health professionals who will serve on his Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board. The same day, Pfizer releases data from its COVID-19 vaccine trial showing that the vaccination was 90% effective.

November 9 — FDA Issues EUA for Eli Lilly’s Antibody Treatment

The FDA issues an EUA for Eli Lilly’s bamlanivimab, a monoclonal antibody treatment that mimics the immune system’s response to infection with SARS-CoV-2 and appears to protect high-risk patients with COVID-19 from progressing to more severe forms of the disease. Clinical trials showed reductions in COVID-19–related hospitalizations or emergency visits in these patients within 28 days of treatment compared with placebo.

November 11 — Indoor Venues Responsible for Much of COVID-19’s Spread

A new study in Nature observes that most new cases of COVID-19 originated from indoor gatherings in places like restaurants, gyms, and grocery stores, according to analysis of cell phone mobility data from large cities. The authors suggest that low-income neighborhoods have higher new case burdens because their public venues are more crowded and residents are more likely to work outside their homes.

November 16 ­— Moderna Reveals Vaccine Efficacy Results

The positive vaccine news continues with Moderna’s announcement that its experimental vaccine reduces the risk of COVID-19 infection by 94.5% in participants who received it. Like Pfizer’s vaccine, the Moderna vaccine works using mRNA, an innovative approach that has not yet been used in approved vaccines against any disease.

November 16 — FDA to Move Rapidly on EUAs for Pfizer, Moderna Vaccines

On CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar says the FDA will move “as quickly as possible” to clear Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccine candidates for emergency use as long as the data support authorization. Both authorization applications are currently being completed, but Azar says that the FDA’s teams are working with both companies to “remove any unnecessary bureaucratic barriers.”

November 17 — Fauci Highlights the Need for Long-term Follow-up of COVID-19 Effects

During a talk at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, Fauci discusses the cardiovascular implications of COVID-19 and highlights the need to follow up with patients to better understand the long-term effects of infection. He points to symptoms like profound fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle aches, sporadic fevers, and an inability to concentrate, which up to one-third of patients live with for weeks or months after contracting COVID-19.

November 18 — Pfizer, BioNTech Vaccine Is 95% Effective

The results of a nearly 44,000-person trial demonstrate that the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech is 95% effective, making it as effective as vaccines for shingles and measles. Pfizer also announces that it will seek FDA approval within days so that distribution of the vaccine can happen by the end of the year.

November 20 — Pfizer, BioNTech Submit EUA Application CDC Warns Against Holiday Travel

Pfizer and BioNTech submit their COVID-19 vaccine to the FDA for an EUA, making them the first companies to seek such an approval in the United States. The EUA submission includes safety data on about 100 children between the ages of 12 and 15 years.

At the same time, the CDC urges Americans to stay home for Thanksgiving amid national spikes in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The agency recommends that people avoid mingling with people who have not resided in their household for the last 14 days. As cases in the United States surpass 11 million, CDC officials worry that the situation could worsen during the holiday season.

November 23 — AstraZeneca Reports Vaccine Is 90% Effective FDA Grants EUA for Second Antibody Treatment

When AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine is administered as a half dose followed by a full dose at least a month later, it can be approximately 90% effective. This vaccine is easier to distribute and scale up than other vaccines, and the drug maker says it can have as many as 200 million doses by the end of 2020 and 700 million by the end of the first quarter of 2021.

Meanwhile, the FDA grants an EUA for a second COVID-19 antibody treatment. The cocktail, manufactured by Regeneron, was administered to Trump when he was battling COVID-19 at the beginning of October. In a clinical trial of 800 people, the treatment significantly reduced virus levels within days.

December 10 — FDA Advisory Panel Recommends Pfizer, BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

An FDA advisory panel endorses the first COVID-19 vaccine. The application for the Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine is heard in a public, day-long meeting voting 17-4, with 1 abstention, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) decides the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks for those 16 and older.

December 11 — FDA Agrees to EUA for COVID-19 Vaccine From Pfizer, BioNTech

A day after the panel votes, the FDA agrees to an EUA for the Pfizer, BioNTech vaccine, allowing shipments to begin vaccinations of health care workers begin within days.

December 17 — FDA Panel Backs Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine

A week after hearing the application for the country’s first COVID-19 vaccine, the same FDA advisory panel meets and agrees that a second vaccine, from Moderna, will benefit individuals 18 years and older. The vote is 20-0, with 1 abstention. The Moderna vaccine is given 28 days apart the Pfizer-BioNtech one, 21 days apart.

December 18 — FDA Signs Off on EUA for Moderna's COVID-19 Vaccine

The FDA issues the second EUA allowing shipments of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to begin.

December 21 — New COVID-19 Variant Circling the UK

The UK announces that a new strain of the virus that causes COVID-19, B.1.1.7, is spreading across the country. The novel variant is more contagious, but does not appear to be more lethal or lead to more severe disease.

December 23 — US Buys More Pfizer Vaccine

The Trump administration announces it will buy an additional 100 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine.

December 28 — Novavax Starts Phase 3 Trial of COVID-19 Vaccine

Novavax begins a phase 3 clinical trial, PREVENT-19, for its investigational COVID-19 vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, in 30,000 volunteers in Mexico and the United States.

December 29 — First US Case of New COVID-19 Variant Found in Colorado

The recently discovered novel variant found a week prior in the United Kingdom is detected in a Colorado man in his 20s with no travel history. Scientists say they are concerned, but not surprised, since viruses are known to mutate.

December 30 — UK Approves Emergency Authorization for the AstraZeneca and Oxford COVID-19 Vaccine

As UK cases surge, regulators clear a vaccine from AstraZeneca and Oxford, AZD1222, for individuals 18 years and older.

December 31 —US Falls Short of Goal to Give 20 Million Vaccinations by Year End

As the year closed, the CDC says about 2.8 million people so far have received an initial vaccination. The US says on December 30 that about 14 million doses have been distributed, out of total of 20 million allocated doses.