Locksmith historyJune 25, 2014
Locks are everywhere, and everyone uses them, in fact, they are so common place today that most people don’t really take notice of them, until you lose your keys or forget the combination to your lock. Have you ever wondered where locks came from, how they developed? It is a very interesting subject, one that can be truly appreciated if you are aware of locksmith history.
The profession that specializes in securing doors, cabinets, rooms, chests, boxes and any object or item that needs to be kept safe and secure falls in the hands of a locksmith. Locksmith history around the world is filled with amazing stories of talented and creative metalworkers who painstakingly crafted, by hand, intricate pieces of metal to be used to make locks and locking mechanisms. By today’s standards, locks crafted just 100 years ago look extremely primitive. Let’s take a farther look back in history, back 4000 years ago, when it is believed that locksmithing began, in the areas of Babylon and of ancient Egypt.
Locksmithing is an art; the first locksmiths, 4000 years ago, used hard wood to craft their wooden locking devices, which utilized tin tumble principles in limiting the free movement of the then popular door bars. More advanced wooden locks were invented in 704 BC, in Assyria, and to open these locked doors required the pins of the locking mechanisms to be moved using a large toothbrush shaped key, which was cumbersome to use and carry. The large toothbrush looking keys had metal pins sticking straight up, these were use to move internal pins within the wooden locking devices to release the door bar, which allowed the door to open freely. Locks today work in a much similar way.
Modern Locksmith History
Advances in metallurgy during the 18th century in Europe, allowed locksmiths to create much more complex locking mechanisms made from small metal parts and pieces. Master locksmiths crafted new lock designs which remained almost unchanged coming into the 20th century. However, with the industrial revolution and further advancements in metallurgy inexpensive industrial locks were mass produced and sent all over the world. This created two fields within the locksmithing trade – lock repairmen who would repair locking mechanisms such as gears, and locksmiths who specialized in advanced locks for use in bank safes, security companies and government buildings.
Local locksmiths today have a long history to be proud of, and their job is broader and more challenging than ever! Today, you can find these tradesmen working in security companies, car companies, and construction companies or tending to the needs of residential communities. For 4000 years of human history locksmiths have kept valuables safe for people, and today more than ever they continue to do just that. Next time you use or lose your keys, consider for a moment the 4000 years of locksmith history.
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