The History Behind Love Locks

Feb 27, 2019 | Fences

Since February is the official month of love, we wanted to learn a little bit more about the phenomenon of love locks.  You’ve probably seen these pieces decorating bridges or fences around the world, but do you know what sparked the trend?  Well, today we’ll share everything we know on the subject!

Back to the Beginning

Who exactly closed the first love lock may have been lost over time, but there are certain areas that have their own tales of this tradition.  In China, on Mt. Huangshan, there’s a legend of a star-crossed lovers.  Apparently the two were very much in love, but because the young man was poor the girl’s father promised her to another.  On the day of the wedding, though, the two lovers ran away.  After scaling the mountain, they jumped over the side together.  To commemorate their love, many visitors decorate the fencing and bridges on the pathway to the top with locked padlocks.  Praying not only for love, but for their families, or for health and then throwing the key over that same edge.  We may never know if it’s true, but it makes a great story, doesn’t it?

In Serbia, they have their own version.  Except there’s no mountain, only a bridge.  Where more than a hundred years ago a school teacher met with her fiancé.  Unfortunately, that same fiancé ended up leaving her for another and she died from a broken heart.  Today, it’s rumored that the local girls leave love locks behind with the names of their loved ones and the poor heartbroken teacher.

Modern Love Locks

Outside of these legends, a trend sparked in the early 2000s all over the world!  After writing or engraving their names, initials, and/or anniversary dates on the padlock, visitors attach it to a public place.  Often, they wind up on bridges, fences, gates, or other monuments before the lovers throw the key away to “lock” their love forever.  Some of the most famous examples can be found in major cities like New York, Paris, Florence, Cologne, etc. 

While we may see this as an incredibly romantic gesture, not all cities welcome this practice.  In fact, on Pont des Arts in Paris, there were so many love locks at one point that the additional weight threatened to buckle the entire bridge!  Eventually, the city not only removed the current locks, but all of the beautiful wrought iron details.  By putting glass siding in place instead, they stopped this practice altogether.   

On the Brooklyn Bride in New York City, they haven’t gone quite this far.  But they have started to fine people caught placing new locks on the structure.  So, if you really want to participate in this trend, why not add a detailed love lock to your own property?  Not only will you be able to protect it, but you can also visit it as often as you’d like.  Whether it’s on your fence, gate post, or other outdoor feature.  Just let us know if you need help installing any of the above!