This 17th-Century Smart “Detector Lock” Would Baffle Any 21st-Century Thief

Keyless smart locks, fingerprint passcodes, voice-activated control; these are just a few examples which show how far home security has come over the years.

However, while it is true that the technology has been continuously developing, the need for increased home safety Рand solutions to provide it Рis not anything new.

In fact, precursors of today’s smart locks¬†can be traced back to circa 1680. One of them is now¬†in the collection of the¬†Victoria and Albert Museum¬†in London.

The “smart detector lock was made by¬†British locksmith John Wilkes in¬†Birmingham, England,¬†more than three centuries ago. However, its clever mechanics and details are likely to stump most of today’s burglars.

Read on to learn more about it.

The Smart Detector Lock Is Packed with Clever Security Features

John Wilkes’ craftsmanship and attention to details when devising the detector lock are impressive.

The lock was made of brass and engraved steel and has a cast steel key. Such a lock was most commonly fitted to the door of private closets where expensive valuables were kept.

It was also used on doors of rooms where important business meetings took place. So, the locks’ special security features were meant to mislead those who wanted to gain unwarranted access and make entry as difficult as possible.

  • The image of a soldier holding a pointer is beautifully embossed on the lock cover, with the man’s front leg concealing the keyhole.¬†The leg operates on a pivot and swings¬†forward¬†to reveal the keyhole on the press of a button.
  • The door-bolt is released to secure the lock by tilting the man’s hat. When coupled with a turn of the knob, the same action opens the lock.
  • The use of the key combined with the additional actions needed to operate the lock creates a two-factor security system; a mechanism meant to provide double protection which is still found in locks today.
  • When turned inside the keyhole, the key activates both of the lock’s bolts. Fully shooting the main bolt requires a¬†further turn.

smart detector lock

Another aspect you may find interesting is there’s an engraved inscription on the front of the lock. The marking reads:

“If I had ye gift of tongue
I would declare and do no wrong
Who ye are ye come by stealth
To impair my Master’s wealth.”

Of course, the engraving doesn’t exactly fit the conventional sense of a security feature, but it does support the purpose of discouraging potential thieves and it’s an exciting addition nevertheless.

You can have a look at all these spectacular details in the video below:


The Lock Allowed Owners to Know if the Door Was Opened in Their Absence

Modern locks provide high-tech solutions, such as remote viewing via an app and real-time alerts, to make it possible for homeowners to keep an eye on their properties when they are away.

Homeowners who lived more than 300 years ago also wanted to know what was going on at home in their absence.¬†Although it can’t compare to what today’s smart locks offer, Wilkes’ lock model encompasses a sophisticated feature which addresses that need, as well.

And it’s most likely the most intriguing part of the entire smart detector lock.

You see, the reason it’s called a detector lock¬†is that it counts each time it is unlocked by rotating a disk.

The number indicated by a pointer on the numbered disk told the owners if the door had been opened in their absence (and how many times).

The numbers on the counter dial go all the way up to 100. When the dial reached 100, the main bolt can be locked – but not released.

A tiny button on the lock (strategically placed on the man’s jacket) allows the dial to be reset.

One Last Thing Before You Go

The need for home security is a defining part of modern civilisations and it’s safe to say it will continue to be so. This, of course, makes room for new devices and innovations meant to meet new challenges and make life easier.

But there’s no denying the significant role which past locksmiths, such as John Wilkers, have played in shaping the industry.

If you enjoyed learning about this smart detector lock and want to know whenever we post a new article on our blog, then make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

How Smart Home Technology Can Help You Save Money

The popularity of smart home devices has increased in the last few years and for good reason. They not only keep our home safe and give us peace of mind, but they can also help us save money.

Even though smart home technology can be a little bit pricier than your regular home devices, on the long-term, it can prove to be a solid investment.

Are you curious to find out how to save money with smart home tech? Then keep reading to find out what type of devices can help you with this.

1. Smart LED Lighting

Smart LED bulbs not only last a lot longer, but they also use way less energy than incandescent light bulbs.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, you can save up to £35 per year on your electricity bills by simply switching to LED lighting.

There are many different companies you can buy smart lights from. The majority of them allow you to control the lights remotely through your smartphone, even when you’re not at home.

This means you can check at every moment if you’ve left the light on and turn it off, if necessary.

smart home technology

2. Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats can help you make better decisions when it comes to how much heat you’re using. This type of smart home technology can also make recommendations on how you can cut back on heating and save money on your energy bills.

They can be remotely controlled which will help you manage the heating settings more efficiently, even when you’re not at home.

First Utility and EDF Energy, two major energy suppliers in the UK, are encouraging people to switch to smart thermostats. A few months ago, both companies offered smart thermostats devices for free to those who decided to sign up for their services.

3. Remote Power Management

On a daily basis, we don’t realise how much energy we’re actually using even when we don’t need it. We leave the lights on, electronics, appliances and other devices plugged in.

According to the Co-operative Energy, we can save up to £80 a year by simply switching off electronics, rather them leaving them on standby mode.

So even if you forget to turn off certain electronic devices before you left your home, you can control the power of your outlets through a smart device.

4. Smart Showerheads

We all love spending a few extra minutes in the shower, whether we want to relax in the evening or we need that extra boost in the morning.

The downside of this activity is that a lot of wasted water is going down the drain or money for that matter.

Smart showerheads are able to manage the water flow, so it helps you minimise the water consumption. Some devices will even display how many gallons of water you’ve actually used.

According to Express, the average water bill in the UK can go up to £405 for households per year, so a smart showerhead can truly be a money-saver.

What Type of Smart Home Technology Will You Be Using?

smart home technology

We hope this article will inspire you to take action and start saving money by taking advantage of smart home technology.

There are plenty of manufacturers you can choose from, so you can definitely find the device which suits your needs and your home environment.

Don’t forget to check our blog for more articles on smart homes.

Should You Consider Installing Fake Security Cameras?

According to the Guardian, the number one deterrent for burglars and car thieves are CCTV cameras. This statistic is important for all homeowners because it means that by simply installing security cameras, they can minimise the chances of a break-in.

You may have heard fake security cameras¬†(or dummy security cameras) can serve as an¬†alternative to the real ones, which is why we’ve decided to talk about their performance in today’s post.

Let’s start with the benefits of having a fake camera installed.

The Pros of Installing Fake Security Cameras

  • They are extremely inexpensive. You may be tempted to purchase a dummy security camera because of the cost. If you want to keep the investment to a minimum, it can be a good alternative.
  • They are easy to install. Fake security cameras don’t have any wires and you also don’t need to configure any receivers. The only thing you need to do is figure out where you want to place it and mount it with a few screws.
  • They are better than nothing. Inexperienced burglars probably won’t tell your cameras are fake, so they could represent a temporary solution if you can’t invest in real ones at the moment. Generally speaking, it’s better to have fake ones than none at all.

Now, let’s look at the cons.

The Cons of Installing Fake Security Cameras

fake security cameras

  • They are easy to spot as being fake. Even though you can find dummy security cameras which have the appearance of real ones, experienced burglars will know how to spot if yours is fake. Some come with a flashing red light to draw attention and convince a potential burglar the camera is real. The reality is most real security cameras don’t have a blinking red light which will give it away in an instant. Then, there’s this obvious giveaway –¬†fake cameras don’t have wires, which is something extremely easy to spot. The final aspect which makes dummy security cameras easy to distinguish from real ones is they will simulate action tracking. The issue with this is that it will only move sporadically, instead of following the person’s every move, which is what real security cameras do.
  • They don’t provide peace of mind. Even though CCTV cameras¬†deter burglars, you can’t be 100% sure dummy security cameras will work just as well. Because of this, you will always be wondering if they are truly effective.
  • They can’t provide any evidence. In case someone does break into your home, you won’t be able to provide footage to the police in order to identify and catch the person who did it. Essentially, a dummy security camera may have the purpose of deterring¬†burglars if they can’t figure out it’s fake. However, the less evident the law enforcement will have, the more time consuming it’s going to be for them to catch the intruder.

Why Not Invest in Real Security Cameras?

fake security cameras

As you saw from this article, the advantages of considering a dummy security camera mainly refer to the low price and its easy set-up, rather than providing peace of mind and improving your home’s security.

Protecting the property should be a top concern for all homeowners, which is why investing in a real security system needs to be a priority.

If you want to ask us questions about the security system which would best fit your needs and your residence, give us a call at 0800 0612 677.

3 Telling Signs Which Indicate Your Lock Has Been Tampered with

Break-in attempts are never good news for homes or businesses. That is why it is a good idea to be watchful for possible signs of intrusion.

One of the first things you should take notice of is to see if the lock has been tampered with.

Keep in mind that if the break-in was unsuccessful during the first attempt, there might be a second time where the burglars will be better prepared.

That is why knowing a few signs of a possible break-in can help you better deal with these situations in the future.

Here are 3 red flags you should be on the lookout for.

1. Scratches

Wear and tear are commonplace for locks which see frequent usage. However, scrapes and deep cuts near the edges of the lock may be a reason for suspicion.

Say, for example, if your deadbolt lock appears to be slightly out-of-place or there are scratches along the keyhole, then you may be dealing with a case of lock picking.

Scratches may be a sign that the lock has been tampered with

The purpose of lock picking is to manipulate the tumblers of the lock device to get to open the door without the original key. This is done by using a wide array of tools.

Among these tools, picks and screwdrivers with sharp points can often press along the edges of the lock. This can lead to the appearance of shiny metal scratches on its surface. That’s why they may indicate the lock has been tampered with.

A great solution for problems as this one is to discard the use of conventional locks and opt for installing smart locks. They offer an increased layer of protection by eliminating the need for a key.

2. The Lock Doesn’t Function Properly

If there aren’t any noticeable signs of damage, you may notice something may be odd about how the key turns. This could be an indicator the lock has been tampered with.

A faulty key is a symptom of bumping and snapping, which are common tactics used by burglars.

Bumping involves using an improvised key which fits within the target lock and then striking it with a blunt object in order to force the tumblers to release.

Snapping is an even simpler method, where it involves the use of a hammer in tandem with any tool which can hold the protruding part of the lock. This is done so as to get the lock to break, rendering its security useless.

Lock snapping predominantly occurs in locks which match the Euro Cylinder profile, typically found in uPVC doors.

3. Damaged Lock

Brute forcing is a hasty method of breaking-in and one which leaves visible signs of attempted burglary.

It is the tried and tested option for many amateur housebreakers. Due to their inexperience in picking or “snapping”, many will resort to physically damaging the lock in¬†order to get it to turn.

This generally involves drilling through the lock, using a crowbar to damage the body of the lock or kicking the door itself, with the intent to unhinge it. As a result, signs of debris, scratches, splinters or a dented lock are giveaways for this type of break-in attempt.

Situations as this one cause a lot of distress – obtain peace of mind by installing Yale’s smart HD CCTV cameras. They are ideal for maintaining surveillance of the premises and do an excellent job at deterring burglars from attempting a break-in.

Lock Has Been Tampered¬†with? Here’s a Solution.

If you take notice of any of these signs, then there is a chance you may be dealing with a burglar. Are you willing to risk a second round?

For further information, contact us online or give us a call at 0800 0612 677, our locksmiths are at your disposal 24/7.