History of locks

Courtesy of Link Locksmiths Sydney – 24 hour emergency locksmiths

Since the creation of the first locking mechanism some four thousand years ago, continual research and development by engineers and mechanically minded individuals, has led to improved designs and a wide variety of locks being developed for a wide range of applications including residential, commercial and automotive.

Traditionally locks were made of wood, then with the invention of brass, steel and other metals, locks could be manufactured of higher quality components and more intricate designs.

The evolution of lock technology has taken centuries of continual development to get to the level it is at today, with many talented individuals and mechanical engineers improving and refining their predecessor’s original design.

The Egyptians were, according to historians, the first to create a locking mechanism manufactured out of wood some four thousand years ago. The lock was of simple but effective design and required a key to operate it.

Unfortunately with the early designs, the keys were quite basic and a major flaw was that criminals were easily able to gain access to locked rooms by copying the simple key design. As lock and key designs evolved it became harder for criminals to copy keys and gain access to restricted areas. Now there are hundreds of different types of keys for the multitude of locks that exist including, Abloy, Bi-Lock, inline pin tumbler, tubular keys, transponder keys, cruciform keys and more. Information on lock history compiled by Link Locksmiths – Need 24 hour emergency service in Sydney? Call us now

The evolution of lock and key design included the introduction of security measures such as metal “wards” being built into the lock. Wards are protrusions that jut out from the metal casing inside a lock, causing the key to jam before it reaches it’s full rotation, stopping it short of actuating the lock. Wards included end wards, side wards and bullet wards, all of which would have to be skillfully filed into the key before it would work the lock.

In addition to filing the wards into the key correctly, one also had to take into account the height and length of the flag, and any bitting (cuts) that operated levers, making it substantially more difficult for criminals to make a copy of the key. Warded locks are still around today and can be purchased from locksmith’s that specialize in architectural hardware. They should only be used on internal doors, as they don’t offer the same level of security as a lever lock or a double cylinder deadlock. If you are interested in the history of locks then please visit your local library for some great resources otherwise if you need a locksmith in the Sydney metropolitan area please call our hotline, also available for emergency work 24 hours.

Historically blacksmiths were responsible for producing locks, although with the invention of machinery locks are now mass manufactured and the only hand made component in the production process is final assembly. Major lock manufacturers are now turning to China for production, it is gradually becoming all the more rare to find a locally manufactured product, although they still are available.

To pin point a specific point in history where the end of hand made locks came about most sources refer to the 1840’s. This is the decade in which the industrial revolution was born in America, not too long after the revolution, mass production came into effect, and blacksmithing was slowly phased out of lock manufacture. The cost of manufacturing locks also started reducing as the benefit of economies of scale from mass production was passed onto consumers. Nowadays it’s possible to have a locksmith supply and fit an insurance rated double cylinder deadlock, Whitco or Lockwood, for around $260 plus GST. Need a professional locksmith to supply and install a deadlock in the Sydney area? Call Us now. If you have an emergency call our hotline to speak directly to a tradesman, on call 24 hours.

Along with the industrial revolution came the manufacture of screws, bolts, hinges, architectural hardware, doorknobs and various other products. This era lent itself well to the engineers of that time as it enabled them to design more complicated and secure locking mechanisms that could be manufactured en masse all within a certain tolerance. This kept variation between locks at a minimum. Nowadays the most advanced locks can be bought for a price that is affordable to most households so a greater level of security is more easily affordable than ever before.

Patents were being granted in volume to the engineers of the 1840’s and onwards as most improvements and developments in lock technology were surfacing in this booming period. Their intricate designs could now be produced en masse allowing engineers and designers to produce high security locking mechanisms in volume. Locksmiths sydney