Berlin key

Mechanism and Usage of the Berlin Key
– The Berlin key has two key blades at each end of the key.
– The key is used to unlock the door from the outside.
– Push the key through the lock, so it protrudes from the inside of the door.
– Open the now unlocked door and enter.
– Close the door and lock it with the key, which now protrudes from the inside.
– With the advent of more recent locking technologies, the Berlin key is becoming less common.
– In 2005, it was estimated that 8000-10000 Berlin keys are still in use in Berlin, Germany.
– The Berlin key makes it impossible to forget to lock the door without also forgetting the key in the lock.
– Locking an open door is usually not possible with the Berlin key.
– The Berlin key was massively produced by the Albert Kerfin & Co company starting in 1912.

Representations of the Berlin Key
– The Berlin key is the subject of an essay by Bruno Latour.
– Latour suggests that the key mediates the relationship between tenants, users, and visitors of a building.
– The key performs a program of action or a script, such as bolting the door during the night and not during the day.
– The key reveals social dichotomies, separating guarded and unguarded resources and inhabitants and strangers.
– The Berlin key was also used as a reference to the Berlin Wall when it opened in 1989.

References to the Berlin Key in Literature
– Sophie Lovell’s book ‘Berlin in Fifty Design Icons’ mentions the Berlin key.
– Petra Ullmann’s article in Der Tagesspiegel discusses the invention of the Berlin key by Johannes Schweiger.
– Jens Sethmann’s article in MieterMagazin discusses the popularity of the double key.
– Henning Schmidgen’s book ‘Bruno Latour in Pieces: An Intellectual Biography’ references Bruno Latour’s essay on the Berlin key.
– Reinhold Martin’s book ‘The Urban Apparatus: Mediapolitics and the City’ mentions the Berlin key.

Significance of the Berlin Key
– The Berlin key is considered a technical object that plays a decisive role in mediating relationships between people in a building.
– The key represents both a door lock and an information processor.
– The key draws a line between guarded and unguarded resources.
– The key also draws a line between inhabitants and strangers.
– The Berlin key is becoming less common due to advancements in locking technologies.Sources: