in , ,

What are Parts of Key?

By Allison Saeng from Unsplash+

Keys have been around for centuries, but only some of us stop considering the intricate mechanics that make them work. With such an ancient design at its core, it may be hard to imagine the many individual features that come together to form a key – these small pieces, when assembled correctly, perform a feat of engineering not unlike modern locks. Have you ever encountered a key and wondered what the different parts are and why each piece is there? In this post, we’ll unpack the complex anatomy of keys – from their origins in antiquity to how the parts of key and head of a key came into modern door hardware today.

1. What are Parts of Key?

A key is made up of two main components that are essential in a locking mechanism. First, the bit, or blade, is inserted into the keyway of a lock to distinguish it from other keys. The bow is then left protruding from the bit, allowing it to turn the lock by applying torque when the user applies pressure. This combination helps ensure secure access and plays a vital role in protecting homes and businesses. (See What are Examples of Pulleys in Everyday Life?)

2. How many Pieces are in a Key?

Keys are essential for providing security to areas that require access control. Most designs incorporate metal bits or blades and a bow in their construction, with the blade fitting into the lock’s keyhole. The locks are then designed only to accept those keys that have been correctly cut to fit them.

Once in place, the bow provides leverage so that torque can be applied to open the mechanism. This makes keys a practical security token that only allows properly authorized personnel to gain access to restricted areas.

3. What’s the Top Part of a Key called?

When understanding the parts of key, the bow or head is the first principal component. This area is located at the top of the key and functions to enable easy grip when using the device.

Depending on the type of design or brand of lock, this part of a key can have various shapes and sizes, allowing for easier identification and compatibility with specific doors or security systems. (See What are Machine Safeguarding Requirements?)

4. What is the Head of a Key called?

JAN23 What are Parts of Key
By Getty Images from Unsplash+

The head of a key is called the bow. The bow is the part you grip with your fingers to turn the key into a lock.

5. What are the Bits on a Key called?

The first of these parts is the bit or blade, which slides into the lock’s keyway and distinguishes between different keys. Then there’s the bow, made up of protrusions and indentations that allow us to grip and turn our key easily. Together; these two tiny elements form a masterpiece: a vital yet often overlooked tool.

6. What are the Lines on a Key called?

If you’ve ever opened a padlock and wondered what introduced the holes and grooves on a key blade, these are called Cuts. The arrangement of cuts is specific to the lock and, when placed together, allows the pins to line up with the blade, which then unlocks the door.

Cuts are precise measurements, variably cut to craft a specific combination code for security methods. Furthermore, due to modern technology and advancements in production methods, any keys can be duplicated based on this code which creates an increased level of convenience.

7. What is the Blade of a Key called?

The key blade is a commonly overlooked key, as most attention is focused on the head. Yet this part of the key plays an essential role in unlocking doors and other locks. The blade of a key stretches from the shoulder stop, which fits into the notch at the top of the lock, to the tip which fits into the corresponding bottom notch.

8. What are Ridges on Key called?

Ridges on a key are one of the parts of key, often referred to as bullets, which are essential because they provide the unique identifier for the lock to open it. The ridges or bullets act as a two-way street, as they also stop the wrong keys from operating the lock by having bumps and raised edges not found in phony keys.

The size, shape, and number of ridges vary with different key types used for various locks. For example, high-security locks may have fewer yet more intricate ridge patterns than those required for residential locks.

9. What is the Hole in a Key called?

The hole in an average key is referred to as a keyway and typically serves as a method to manipulate the lock or latch by inserting the key. However, depending on the lock features and design, it can also be configured to serve different purposes.

Keyways provide extra security measures in some locks, depending on their size and shape, as these features typically need to align correctly with a corresponding key before access is granted. (See How many Handmade Shells for a Wooden Door are Needed?)

10. What is the Chip in a Key called?

The chip in a key is called a transponder key. It has revolutionized modern-day vehicle security. These specialized keys contain a tiny RFID (radio frequency identification) chip embedded in their plastic head, which enables them to communicate with the vehicle’s anti-theft system.

This helps prevent car theft by making it impossible to hotwire the car without communicating the correct RFID signal.

11. What is a Shaft Key called?

Keys are designed to transmit torque, and the most common type is the shaft key which is used for connecting components on rotary shafts. This type of part is usually referred to as a key seat or key seating, indicating the groove or pocket on the shaft into which it fits.

The corresponding part in the hub is the keyway – a slot that allows for attachment end-to-end, forming an enclosed pathway for torque transmission. Both parts must fit perfectly to ensure no energy or force is lost during operation. (See How Door Handles Work?)

Parts of key have a complex engineering feat with a long and fascinating history. Though these parts of key such as blades origin date back centuries, they are still integral to the modern door hardware. So the next time you encounter a key, take a moment to appreciate the many small pieces that come together to form this essential piece of equipment.


Written by Jack Williams

Jack Williams is a multifaceted lifestyle writer who has a passion for bringing interesting and enlightening content to his readers. With a strong background in researching and writing, he has made a name for himself in the world of lifestyle journalism, covering a wide range of topics including Wikipedia, facts, and trivia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.