Locks and locksmiths have been around for thousands of years, dating back to ancient Egypt. Archaeologists have discovered locks used in Ancient Egypt over 4,000 years ago. These locks were made of wood as were the keys. Each lock had a unique pin pattern and a unique key.
The Egyptians used locks to protect their valuables and keep potential thieves away from them, and this is still the most common use of locks today. However, locks have changed dramatically over the years, and in other ways, they have hardly changed at all. For example, you can still find metal door locks that utilize the exact mechanisms as those used by the ancient Egyptians. At the same time, you can find locks with a computerized key and computerized digital locks with no key and can only be opened with a numerical sequence.
Locks are involved in nearly every aspect of our lives, and it will often take a qualified professional locksmith to negotiate the ins and outs of a lock. For example, when we get locked out of our car or home, it will most often be necessary to call for a commercial locksmith.
Read here to find out why commercial locksmith services are crucial for everyday life and the smooth functioning of modern society.
A Short History of Locks and Locksmiths
The oldest known lock dates back to 2000 BC in ancient Egyptian society. This was a wooden lock with a wooden key and wooden pins inside the lock. The lock featured a bolt made from wood with holes in it. To unlock the lock, users would enter the key into the keyhole, and the key teeth would pull the pins out of the holes in the bolt, which allowed the bolt to be withdrawn and the door opened.
The Romans introduced metal locks and were the first to invent the warded lock. A warded lock contains obstructions or projections that prevent the lock from being opened by anything other than a key with the corresponding pattern of notches and grooves. If a key does not match the ward, then it will not operate the lock. Wooden pins would then drop into the holes, preventing the bolt from moving.
In Ancient Roman society, locks became common place and this prompted the need for professional locksmiths who offered commercial locksmith services. Roman locksmiths would make and sell locks and keys as well as unlock locks when the key was missing or irreparably damaged.
In the middle ages, the humble key would often be a work of art featuring elaborate design and intricate detail. The actual locking mechanism did not evolve during the middle ages; and instead, they concentrated on extensive warding and concealed keyholes.
The first advancement in terms of lock security came in 1778 when Robert Barron patented a double tumbler lock. Barron’s lock had two tumblers that fitted into a bolt and stopped it from moving. The bolt was locked into place and could only be moved when the correct key was placed in the keyhole and raised the tumblers. Barron’s design became the benchmark for all lever locks.
The next significant advancement was the Bramah lock, invented by Joseph Bramah in 1784. The key that opens a Bramah lock has several different depth notches. When placed in the keyhole, the key presses onto a spring tension, which depresses a series of wafers (slides) to a predetermined depth, thus, enabling the lock to be opened.
The next significant advancement came in 1848 when Linus Yale patented his now famous pin tumbler lock, which then in 1860 evolved into a cylinder lock, created by the son of Linus Yale, Linus Yale Jr. The cylinder lock featured a small flat key with a notched edge. The notches on the key raise the pins inside the lock cylinder, allowing the cylinder to be turned and the lock to open. This is arguably the most common form of lock and key worldwide.
Commercial Locksmith Services
A commercial locksmith performs an essential service for society. Here are some examples of the types of services a modern-day locksmith will perform:
Key Copying and Replacement
Let’s face it, few things are more annoying or frustrating than losing or misplacing your keys. And this is where locksmiths come to the fore, as perhaps their most common service is cutting new keys. There are two primary reasons locksmiths cut new keys: either copying a set of keys and making a backup or cutting a new set of keys to replace an existing set that has been lost, misplaced, or irreparably damaged.
If you need key replacement, contact your chosen locksmith first, as some locksmiths may not have the equipment to perform the job correctly. Losing your keys can be considered an emergency, and an emergency commercial locksmith will typically be open 24 hours to attend to your needs.
Installing New Locks
One of the primary commercial locksmith services is installing new locks. A commercial lock installation may occur because the old one is damaged and no longer working or because you feel it is time to focus on increased security and upgrade your lock system.
If you want to upgrade your lock system and improve security, then it’s time you look into high-security locks. High-security locks are resistant to lock picking and even resistant to drilling. As an added security measure, the only locksmith allowed to make a key for a high-security lock is the locksmith who made the original lock and key.
Installing an Electronic Lock System
These days, many locks are electronic, and a significant part of a locksmith’s role is installing electronic security locks. There are several different types of electronic locks that a locksmith may install, including:
- Systems operated by remote control
- Intercom locking systems
- A card reader system
- Keypad system
The electronic locks have several advantages, not the least of which are that the locking system does not require a key, they can be reprogrammed, and they allow you to keep track of who is coming in and going out.
Installation of Safes
One of the common commercial locksmith services is the installation of safes. A professional locksmith can also help move and install a safe. When purchasing a safe, numerous different factors should be taken into account. For example, you have to consider the safe’s size, its fireproof rating, and its capacity to repel drilling, sawing, and explosives.
A professional locksmith will also repair broken door and window locks, re-key or change the pin pattern inside a lock, and install crash bars on doors.
Why are Locksmiths so Expensive?
The price of locksmiths is relative to the service you are getting. There are many reasons a locksmith may charge high prices, including:
- Locksmiths have to purchase and install high-quality locking equipment, and this cost is passed on to their customers. High-quality locks have a higher upfront cost, but in the long run, this equals out by the fact that they last longer and are more durable.
- Locksmiths offer their services with a quick turnaround time, and many operate emergency services 24/7.
- Often a locksmith’s job will involve complex procedures that only a trained locksmith can complete. In short, you are paying for a locksmith’s labor and expertise.
- A professional locksmith’s services will include the cost of insurance and licensing credentials.
Locks and locksmiths have existed for thousands of years. The locks can range from simplistic to highly complicated, meaning the locksmith’s job will also range from simplistic to incredibly complicated. Locksmiths go through specific training and use special equipment to perform their job.
Typically locksmiths will be involved in jobs like copying and replacing keys, repairing existing locks or installing new locks, re-keying locks, installing electronic locking systems, and installing security safes. All of these jobs require a specific skill set and the right equipment.
Contact a licensed professional locksmith like Alexius Denver’s Locksmiths.
Given the price of a professional locksmith, it may be tempting to try to replace a lock or design a key yourself. However, as the old saying goes, it is easier said than done. In reality, the jobs performed by professional locksmiths like Alexius Denver’s Locksmiths, a commercial locksmith in Centennial, require extensive training and specialized tools.
If you need a lock or key replaced, copied, or repaired, this job is for a professional locksmith nearest you. A professional locksmith will cost you an initial amount of money upfront, but this will more than pay for itself in terms of the frustration it will save you from if you try to do a locksmith’s job yourself.