Of all the revolutionary technologies we take for granted nowadays, perhaps none is more unassuming than the doorknob. That has to be pretty high up there on the list of inventions by chronological order, right? Fire, wheel, beer, doorknob. Hell, even the Flintstones' house had a doorknob, and that show was rigorously fact-checked for accuracy.
But no, the modern doorknob didn't exist until 1878, when an African-American inventor named Osbourn Dorsey conceived it.
What did we use before then? Nothing. Just a bunch of locks on anything we wanted to keep. That's why in games like Skyrim, you can break into any house you want, but still find a bedroom full of impenetrable chests. Pure historical accuracy. Aside from the dragons and magic yelling.
If people couldn't spend the money for a mechanical door lock, they employed a latch string system, which removed a heavy bar from the door, but required you to spend long periods of time re-positioning the latch after every use. That sounds super tedious, and there is no way we could stick to that every single time. If somebody hadn't invented the doorknob, we would probably just be living without stuff. Thanks, dude from the diagram above!
You know, as many doors as you've opened today, have you thought about maybe applying some hand sanitizer?
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