The Origin of Locks

Ever found yourself in that scenario where you’ve been out for the day and it’s gone great only to arrive home to find you cannot find your keys anywhere?

You panic as you frantically search your bags, your pockets and anywhere else where you could have placed them only to find nothing at all! It’s a common situation we’ve all likely to have encountered at some time in our life and being able to be a phone call away from a Locksmith in order to get us back in to our homes is often something we take for granted.

Could you have imagined being in this situation years ago or could you even imagine if there were no Locksmiths to gain entry to our properties when we found ourselves in this situation. I mean, apart from carrying out work which would mirror that of a scene from “The Shining” whilst we break down our doors shouting “here’s Jonny” to try and laugh rather than cry at the situation, would we really have any other options?


So… Where did it all start? Let us take to you back to beginning

Locksmithing believe it or not is one of the oldest professions someone can learn. There is evidence of locksmithing descending back to around 4000 years ago in Ancient Egypt. Obviously, back then locks were not as complex as modern day set ups that you see – locks were simplistic and usually made from wood however they worked similarly to how they work today with a wooden key moving the pins inside the lock to keep valuables safe.

As time moved on so did the development of security and locks… welcome the introduction of METAL LOCKS and accessories. Amazingly, locks barely changed over the following 1,700 years and the next development was said to be introduced around the 18th century. Locks became more soughed after by the general public and this development lead to them being more effective and durable. Back then Locksmiths had to learn how to craft their own designs and systems, being proficient in shaping and filing materials to create bespoke individual locks and keys. You couldn’t just pop down to your local DIY store and purchase a padlock or lock if you needed one.  Locksmithing truly was a skilled craftsmanship.

In 1788 Mr. Robert Barron invented the double acting tumbler lock. Barron was an English Locksmith who developed a lock that used several levers instead of the previous two and also involved levers falling into slots which required a particular position in order for the lock to open. This was later developed further by Jeremiah Chubb to become one of the most iconic brands for locks “Chubb”.

The next development in the evolution of locks was in 1848, when Linus Yale, Senior. invented the modern pin-tumbler lock. In 1861, Linus Yale, Junior. was inspired by the original 1840s pin-tumbler lock designed and developed by his father and furthermore inventing and patenting a smaller flat key with serrated edges as well as pins of varying lengths within the lock internally, the same design of the pin-tumbler lock that we use at present. Pin tumbler locks, for those who maybe unaware of the difference are commonly used today in cylinder locks and a lock you may come in contact with throughout everyday life and are not even aware of how long these took to develop to give you the security you may or may not take for granted today!

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