You lock your car, your house, your safe. And if you’re anything like me, you lock your fridge. The theory behind encapsulating your valuables with security dates to the Paleolithic era. Cavemen felt the need to sequester their winter pillage behind rocks and hanging in trees. This was a novel concept until they forgot which rock they hid their food behind. Too bad there were no locksmiths back then.
Today, we face similar issues. With the advancements of locks from the rock and trees solution, we now face losing keys to those “safe places”. Suddenly, our very solution has become a problem. Luckily, alongside of technological advancements, we also found a profession born of locks and security. Dating back nearly 4000 years, locks and the profession they created, locksmiths, developed a long and rich history. It spans the globe.
Locking Up Our Valuables
The idea of locking up what is valuable to you is not a new concept. It is an idea that has been in practice over centuries of time. We believe the first lock came about in Egypt and was a portable lock. It was put to use protecting goods from thieves on popular trade routes. The first locks were made out of wood and had a system of pulling pins with the use of gravity. This particular method was the beginning of the modern cylinder locks. It didn’t stop there.
In 1778 Robert Barron came up with the first lever tumbler lock. This was made using a set of levers. Inside each lever must lift to a specific height in order for the lock to open. Later in 1818 Jeremiah Chubb greatly improved Barron’s idea. Features would cause the lock to jam when attempted to be picked or opened with the wrong key. The lock would remain that way until the original key was put in the lock a certain direction. This feature allowed the owner to know that the lock had been tampered with. This was not Chubb’s only contribution to the world of locks. In 1820 Jeremiah and his brother Charles Chubb were able to start a lock company. They were able to create new locks and modify existing ones.
In ancient times, locks were originally made out of wood and required large keys to open. Over time locks evolved with new and improved technologies and were eventually made out of metal, usually iron or brass. Initially, locksmiths were the ones who actually made the locks, These require hours of work, filing down metal and cutting to specific shapes and sizes for each individual lock. Because they were the ones making the locks they also knew the best way to pick a lock.
As locks were developing, different competitions were developed to test a locks durability. One such instance happened in 1790 when Joseph Bramah placed a “Challenge Lock” on display. He challenged anyone to create an instrument that could be used to pick or open the lock. The challenge lock was on display for 67 years. It was finally opened by Alfred Charles Hobbs in 1851.
With the ability to mass produce locks cheaper and faster than a locksmith could make them, a lot of professionals have moved away from producing lock. Most focus mainly on installation and repairs for residential and commercial customers. Others work for security companies to help design and build custom safes for financial intuitions and government organizations.
Locksmiths require training, either in person or online, and an apprenticeship. Most complete training before starting an apprenticeship with a professional. This training includes classes on key identification, key making, and residential/commercial/auto locks. Most training courses range from a short 2 months. To a longer 4 plus months to complete. Upon completion of initial training, an apprenticeship is the next step on the journey.
An apprenticeship will generally last 2-3 years under the supervision of a professional. Upon completion of an apprenticeship, most will continue learning with on-the-job training. This can take additional months or years to complete. Being a locksmith means that you might have to work in less than ideal situations, with less than ideal hours. This profession changes and evolves over time, continually meeting the demands of the industry.
Chances are at some point you’ll need the help professional locksmiths provide. They can help you break into your home or car, or help retrieve some other valuable possession. At that point, you’ll be glad to have someone with a great understanding and knowledge of locks.
Artie’s Locksmith has a profound appreciation for the history and trade in which they get to serve their community. With high caliber, well trained professional technicians, we will keep your security measures operating at max capacity.