A Brief History Of Locksmiths

We all need to at least once in our life hire a locksmith to either install a new lock, cut a duplicate key, or get us out of a pickle – accidental lockouts, lost or stolen keys, and the list goes on. It is this need to feel protected inside our homes or keep our prized possessions safe that has pushed us to invent the very first locks and keys a long, long time ago. How long and what did the first locks look like? Let's find out together in these next lines discussing a brief history of locksmiths as envisioned by historians and archeologists.

Why Locks In The First Place?

For starters, if we are looking to learn more about the history of locksmiths, we should begin by learning one or two things about their necessity into our lives. Locks are the first, most important line of defense against potential intruders, arsonists, abductors, burglars and other property criminals that may target our homes at some point. According to FBI statistics, one home is being burglarized every 18 seconds in the US alone. That is 200 homes per hour. What makes you believe your own home will not fall victim to a neighborhood burglar next? Having sturdy locks on our main entryways and keeping them in good shape and in use will definitely contribute to lower risks of break-ins. In fact, the same statistics speak of more than 30 percent of burglaries occurring through a door/window that has been left open or unlocked.

With so many different types and shapes of locks that are currently available on the market, it could be an actual shame not to take advantage of the most secure locks humankind has yet come to witness. Today, we have smart locks that can open the front door for us by scanning our fingerprints or recognizing our voices. A few thousands of years ago, Ancient Egyptians created the very fist lock that looked like a huge wooden bolt with holes in it. Most archeologists and locksmiths alike consider it to be the forerunner of the pin-tumbler lock we use today.

Brief History Of Locksmiths

Many of the past civilizations had quite an interest for lock and key mechanisms. The Egyptians weren't shy in manufacturing the very first lock and key system over 6,000 years ago. The bolt featured a set of openings that were filled with pins. The key was heavy and bulky and it had the shape of a toothbrush. The pegs on it matched the holes and pins inside the lock. The key could be inserted into the lock's opening and lifted, triggering the pins to move and enable the bolt to move as well. It was quite a hassle to carry this huge key around, not to mention comical.

As for the first civilization to have used keyholes, they are believed to be the Ancient Greeks, followed by the Romans who were the forefathers of metal locks. Since they were talented artisans, they had no problem manufacturing padlocks and create smaller keys similar to their Egyptian counterparts.

Locksmiths started to grow in popularity as centuries passed and people have started gathering more prized possessions they needed protection for. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the tradesmen grew in popularity on the American and European continents. More advanced lock and key systems were developed, eventually leading to the innovative mechanisms we use nowadays.

What Does A Locksmith Do?

A locksmith is, shortly put, a licensed and preferably insured/bonded tradesman who handles the installing, repairing, replacing, or making of locks and keys. A lock technician can also make duplicate keys, reprogram transponder keys on cars, recommend the best master key systems for commercial clients, assess the security needs for residential, commercial and automotive customers and the list goes on. Basically, today's locksmiths have become so much more than simple key makers. They are considered the security system consultants of the 21st century and their role in the implementation of the most reliable security solutions is incommensurable.

In order for a person to become a locksmith, he or she needs to spend a few years studying the trade in a special trade school and receive certification at the end of it. Licensing and apprenticeship will also ensure higher chances of getting hired sooner rather than later. The faster a lock technician can learn how to install or repair all existing brands of single or double cylinder deadlocks, rim, mortise, electronic or smart locks, the faster they can finish their training and be ready to get out there and offer their services.

Lock picking is another critical aspect of the trade. Any good lock technician must know how to safely and quickly pick any type of lock with the help of expert tools and equipment. They must also know how to replace stolen, lost, broken or jammed keys in locks or ignition switches and ensure damage-free services every time.

Special Tools Locksmiths Use

Lock technicians use a number of professional lock picking and repair tools, including pliers, tweezers, hook picks, slim jims, key duplication machinery, bolt cutters, torsion wrenches or pick sets. They also need to be ready to manufacture new locks or keys on the spot and replace broken parts to restore the functionality of old, broken or jammed locks.

Locksmiths can also be asked to handle the installation and repair/maintenance of electronic alarms, and they need to use the right tools for it.

Education Requirements

People interested in becoming locksmiths can attend a technical/vocational school or get on-the-job training for up to 12 months. There are certain states in the US that legally ask locksmiths to have a license in order to work. For example, the Masters Locksmiths Association and the Associated Locksmiths of America are just two of the most popular licensing bodies in the trade.

Locksmith Job Outlook

The profession has a positive job outlook. Given the more advanced types of security systems, locks and keys we will be using in the upcoming years, the need for experts who can fix, repair, replace maintain these systems and provide us with professional advice.



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