Handmade Mavinkurve locks -a dying art


 Indigenous mechanical devices
 Famous Handmade Mavinkurve locks                         Photo Varsha Samuel
The dark kitchen rooms, festivals, the village fair, the sound of folk musical performance at night , the smell of  firewood, ,the kerosene lamps.. .…always stayed with me in my early childhood memories.

 I remember the big wooden chest where my grandmother keeps some unusual sweets (may be brought in the village fair) as a treasure, It was always locked with the metal Mavinkurve  lock..The key in black thread always hanged in her neck. When she opens the lock mean there is a treat for us.

Now the key is with me with lost lock and for me it’s an ornament .I use it as a pendent in my silver chain .I still have it and I feel proud of it. As it has a story, emotions, and my childhood memories with it. Strangely I never knew when i was a child these handmade key was made in Mavinkurve Island where now I plan my cultural study programmes!!. The story continued..!


Mavinkurve is an island on the bank of the Sharavthi River at Honnavar. Konkan Railway runs through this island.This island Mavin Kurve, was a settlement of iron smiths. Their locks were famous at one time! Mavin Kurve was famous for this handmade locks .There were locksmiths family who makes this lock migrated from this place long back. This is a story now.

The shopkeepers of old shops in Honnavar and mavinkurve still uses these locks in their shops and they are the proud owners of this ancient Mavinkurve locks and used by 3 generations. They show that how it has got double locking system and better then any other locks.


The history of lock and key :
Traditionally locks were made of wood, then with the invention of brass, steel and other metals, locks could be manufactured of higher quality components and more intricate designs.

The evolution of lock technology has taken centuries of continual development to get to the level it is at today, with many talented individuals and mechanical engineers improving and refining their predecessor’s original design.
The Egyptians were, according to historians, the first to create a locking mechanism manufactured out of wood some four thousand years ago. The lock was of simple but effective design and required a key to operate it.

Major lock manufacturers are now turning to China for production, it is gradually becoming all the more rare to find a locally manufactured product, although they still are available.

To pin point a specific point in history where the end of handmade locks came about most sources refer to the 1840’s. This is the decade in which the industrial revolution was born in America, not too long after the revolution, mass production came into effect, and blacksmithing was slowly phased out of lock manufacture. 

There aren’t many advances in the art of lock and key making now except the advancements in electronic locks. Locksmithing may be a dying art but lock and keys are here to stay for as long as we want to secure something.  

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  1. The dark kitchen rooms, festivals, the village fair, the sound of folk musical performance at night , the smell of firewood, ,the kerosene lamps.. .…always stayed with me in my early childhood memories. lock smith indianapolis

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