A stone in front of the door
“Now, why didn't I think of that?”
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An anti-burglary device and techological breakthrough for the Middle Ages!
Putting a stone in front of the door makes it harder to open the door. This can be used to prevent your enemies from coming into a house, or to prevent your enemies from coming out of a house. It's very useful if you're not rich enough to buy a real lock.
Willelmus Fulku, a poor villager from Coldstream, Bavaria came up with this idea after fleeing from knight for five months, from 16th of July 1347 to 16th of December. He was too poor to get a metal lock, so this was his only option. After coming up with this idea, he became an idol for many poor villagers.
However, since the main purpose of this invention was to keep knights away, and knights were often sent out by the king, Willelmus Fulku was found guilty of the crime "Getting in the king's way" (ancient equivalent of "obstruction of justice"), and was therefore sentenced to death by stoning. But even though he was sentenced to death, the sentence was never carried out, because he hid at home and blocked the door of his house with a rock.
In May 1461, people started to abuse this brilliant idea. They borrowed things from their neighbors, and then locked themselves in their houses with rocks in front of the door in order to prevent the neighbors from coming in and getting their things back. In response to this, villages banned houses having doors that opened inwards, so this cunning stratagem could no longer be practiced.
That's why almost every front door opens outwards these days.
Picking the right stone
The best stone is of course the heaviest one, but it's not always that easy to find out if a stone is heavy or not. List of ways to find out the weight of a stone:
- Look at the size of the stone - pebbles are likely to be less heavy than boulders
- Lift the stone - if you find it difficult, the stone may be heavy
- Put the stone on a set of scales - if it breaks the scales, it may be heavy
- Drop it on your friend's foot - if your friend cries in pain or punches you in the face, the stone may be what you're looking for
It's also very good if the stone has sharp edges, because the edges can be used to hook the stone in the ground or floor under it. And as a last resort, if someone circumvents it as a security measure, say by coming in the window, it will be more effective as a weapon.
Installing this tool
Remember if you want maximum security, you need a heavy stone with a long, sharp edge. Checklist for installing:
- Make sure you have the right stone.
- Close the door.
- Drop the stone directly behind from about two meters above the ground.