The doorknob as a means of closing and latching a door shut is a comparatively recent invention. Techniques and devices employed in maintaining a door in the closed position throughout history constituted a myriad of methods that were undocumented developments borne of necessity. Barring doors was a prevalent method of securing a porthole and keyed locks existed long before the locking doorknob, therefore closing and securing doors was accomplished well prior to the advent doorknob. The first documented doorknob was developed by Osborn Dorsey who received a patent for his mechanism in 1878. Dorsey was an African American inventor who lived and died in relative obscurity.