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From Conventional to Digital Locks: Technological Evolution in Locksmithing

December 2, 2019

Locksmith services play a huge role in making sure that the locks of our properties are secured enough. Security has been the primary objective of lock makers when creating locks. Time after time, these locks go through a lot of advancements and transformations to enhance security features and other mechanisms that can make them effective and efficient.

Compared to the locks found today in the market, conventional locks are simpler yet a marvellous feat back then. The following is the timeline of the technological evolution in locksmithing. 

600 BC: Before opting for metal, ancient keys were made up of wood. The key is a large prolonged material that can lift the movable pin tumblers to open the bolt. The bolt is locked when the pin tumblers enter in a specific position that latches the door. This type of lock is normally used in Assyria and Egypt.

100 to 200 AD: From a simple tool for locking the door, the Romans found a way to lift the symbolism of a key on their society. Romans modernised the wooden key through the inclusion of metal on the build material. As soon as they achieved the desired key form factor, the Romans then flaunted it as a symbol of security.

16th to 17th century: From enhancing security, places in Europe wanted to improve the design and looks of the locks. Locks during Medieval Europe are well decorated and get away from the past two designs that were bland and normal looking.

Late 17th century: Possibly the start of a new era for locks, the John Wilkes Detector Lock offers security features that changed the future of keys. This lock has a mechanism that can lock and unlock a door. This type of lock has a ticking mechanism with a number dialler which can be used to unlock the door. 

18th century: After almost 100 years, Robert Barron invented a follow up to John Wilkes’s lock. This key, which was introduced in 1778, can raise the lever of the tumbler to lift the bolt when locking or unlocking the door. Six years later, Joseph Bramah engineered a lock that offers security against manipulation. This lock operates with a tubular key and is known to be the first high-security design lock in the world. 

19th century: From enhancing security and avoiding manipulation, the lock made by Jeremiah Chubb in 1818 wants you to cling on hope. This lock has a four-level mechanism that will be locked out if a wrong key is used. To access again this lock, a special anti-lock key is required to reset the lock. 

In 1865, Linus Yale Jr. pioneered the key and lock design that is still used today. His design is known as the modern pin tumbler lock. His design features a smaller flat key that is inserted on a lock with pins of varying length. 

20th century: The dominance of Yale’s lock design still prevails up to now. However, more options come out with the digitisation of locks. The first digital lock is designed in 1975. This lock uses a pre-programmed magnetic stripe card that is encrypted to open a lock.

From stripe cards, the succeeding digital locks use a keypad, number code, biometric scanners, Bluetooth, and many others.

The evolution of locksmithing services has paved the way for more secure properties all over the world. If you want to know more digital locks, we can help you here at Glenferrie Locksmiths.

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