Lunes, Pebrero 18, 2013

Locksmith History: How it All Began

Did you know that locks and keys were utilized long before the birth of Christ?

Locksmithing, the science and art of making and defeating locks, is mentioned frequently in the Old Testament and in ancient mythology. In chapter 3 of the Book of Nehemiah, it is told that when repairing the old gates of the City of Jerusalem, around 445 B.C., they "set up the doors thereof, and the locks thereof, and the bars thereof." Locks back then were large and crude in design and yet their mechanism of operation was the backbone of the modern pin-tumbler locks known all throughout locksmith history. At this time, metal locks were very rare and expensive. Most locks were made of wood.

The earliest known example of a mechanical lock was discovered among the ruins of the palace of Khorsabad in Nineveh. Due to its widespread popularity all over Egypt, this lock has been referred to as an Egyptian door lock. It made use of a crossbar fixed into two surface mounts that were completely enclosed. Only a small opening was saved for the key. Moveable pins were adjusted by gravity into cavities on the crossbar and locked the door. As the key enters the lock, it would move hidden pins out of the way and allow the crossbar to be removed. The Egyptian door lock is widely considered to be the forerunner of the modern pin tumbler style of locks that encompasses locksmith history.

         The early Greek civilization made use of a lock that worked by fastening the wooden bold and staple to the inner side of the door. A sickle-shaped wooden or iron key was used to manipulate and lift the bolt. However, this lock provided little security compared to other types, making it less popular for any locksmith. N1 has museums that display ancient locks that were used in Greece.

        The Romans crafted the very first metal locks based on Egyptian principles. They fabricated pins of different shapes and sizes with keys and keyholes. Most of these keys were uniquely designed with hints of bird and flower ornaments. The Romans also invented the ward locks, which with minor modifications are still very much in use today. Wards are spurs around the keyhole, which prevented the lock from being opened without the proper key. However, ward locks can still be easily picked by a skilled locksmith. W11 historians also state that miniature keys, which could be worn as rings, were also very popular in Rome back then.

         In the 14th century, with the population boom, millions of locks were needed to secure growing properties. Locksmithing became very popular, setting benchmarks on how to design locks whose strength and design were up to par with what they are protecting. The earliest locksmiths were always kept on their toes by thieves and burglars. Locksmithing was already a prominent occupation. Guilds were becoming more prominent and in order to be accepted as a master locksmith, one had to come up and submit a working lock and key. As guilds gained control over locksmiths, including their techniques and practices, corruption increased. As a result, locks designed by master locksmiths were not used on homes, but were displayed in social halls and libraries instead. Consequently, some well designed locks and keys came into existence without technological or security advances.

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