In this article we are going to talk about the history of locksmith and how far this trade or better yet a profession has come through.
The locksmith is a trade dedicated to the repair and maintenance of locks, bolts, and cylinders, both common doors as well as vehicles. A lock is a metal mechanism installed to prevent doors and lids from opening without a key.
Locksmiths can work with all the systems of locks and closures known, although the great variety of locks used, which increases the protection of property and protected persons, requires a certain degree of specialization.
This profession is an art of designing and creating locks and another protective hardware mechanism to secure houses, building, storage facilities, among other places. It is an art, and it is generally learned by inheritance: it is transmitted from person to person while other knowledge is acquired empirically. Currently, there are locksmith technical schools, and manuals and guides to practice if you want to learn the trade.
Among the tasks performed by the locksmiths are:
- The opening of simple or domestic doors, cars, furniture and buildings whose keys have been lost;
- The opening of relatively elastic doors without a key, especially in the case of vehicles;
- Repair and maintenance of locks and padlocks;
- Marketing of locks and padlocks;
- Making copies of existing keys, which requires a specialized workshop, matrices for the development of keys and expertise in the use of tools;
- Manufacture of “master keys” for a series of similar locks;
- Production of keys from a lock, without a copy of keys; this technique is extraordinarily complex and delicate.
At first, they were known as “blacksmiths,” they worked primarily with metals, producing ornaments that served as divisions between houses, similar to the gates of today.
The history of locksmithing is said that goes back as far as Ancient Egypt and Babylon, roughly 4000 years ago. Back then locksmith created wooden devices that prevented doors from a movement of the door bar. The oldest of these type of locks was discovered in the ruins of Assyrian Empire, in the city of Khorsabad near Nineveh. Historians and Scientist both agree that this wooden lock was created around 704 BC.
The Evolution of The Modern Lock
The simple mechanism of how a lock work had remained relatively unchanged for centuries. When the industrial revolution hit the 18th century, precise engineering and component standardization increased hugely, and locks and key became more complex and sophisticated.
In 1778, Robert Barron https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Barron_(locksmith) perfected the lever tumbler lock. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lever_tumbler_lock His new tumbler lock required the lever to be lifted to a specific height in order to unlock. Lifting the lever too far was as bad as not lifting it far enough. This method made it more secure against thieves and intruders, and it is still being used in today’s locks.
In Portsmouth Dockyard a burglary occurred which caused the British Government to create a competition to see who can make a more secure lock. This Competition was won by Jeremiah Chubb who developed the Chubb detector lock. A lock picker couldn’t open the bolt after trying for three months this was the reason why he won the competition.
Locksmithing is one of the oldest forms of safety engineering, and after the adoption of advanced metallurgy in 18th Century Europe, the locksmith was finally able to create much more durable lock and keys. The art of locksmith went through drastic changes. Huge industries came along to make cheap locks that would take over the market, and this would cause the art to die out slowly.
Nowadays locksmith work from home, their shops and most of them work for locksmith companies. There are now Security Institutions (designing and creating several layers of locks that protect against theft or intrusion) investigational Institutions (Forensic Locksmith), Security consultant is focused on one aspect of skills (locksmith working in car company, designing only car locks).
I hope this little history of locksmith has been educational.