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Lock Invention of the Week: The VingCard

The first mechanical, recodable key-card lock was invented in 1975 by Norwegian engineer Tor Sornes, who named his invention the VingCard.

A revolution in lock technology, the VingCard exhibited 32 holes in a plastic card, which held the potential for 4.2billion lock combinations – interestingly the precise number of people on earth at the time.


By 1978, the VingCard was being trialled at the world’s tallest hotel at the time, The Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta. Plagued by burglaries in the past, the Plaza was keen to test out Sornes new security innovation. The results were a resounding success and implemented across the hotel’s 1068 rooms.

The device and its successors remain the primary method of room security in hotels across the world. Once such evolution was the second VingCard model, which operated off  patented electronic magnet striped across the back of the card. Released in 1992, Tors Sornes’ invention became another worldwide seller and is now part of Sweden’s Assa Abloy, the world’s largest lock manufacturer.

With biometric keys now being pioneered in the corporate space, we wonder whether 21st century Tor Sornes will rise to the fore.