The History of Locksmithing, a 4.000 Years Old Profession

history of locksmithing

Have you ever thought about the history behind this profession without which locks and keys probably wouldn’t have even existed today?

The history of locksmithing dates back 4000 years. This makes it one of the oldest profession in the world.

If you want to learn a few fascinating details about this ancient profession and how it has changed and evolved over the centuries, then all you have to do is keep on reading.

A Few Words About the Origins of Locksmithing

It is believed that the history of locksmithing began in Ancient Egypt and Babylon approximately 40 centuries ago. At that time, locksmiths created one of the first versions of the lock we know today.

The device was made out of wood and used pins of different lengths to prevent the lock from opening without the right key.

The only way the pins could be moved was by inserting a bulky and cumbersome wooden key into the lock, which pushed it upwards.

These wooden devices were largely used to protect goods from thieves who were known to attempt to steal along ancient travel routes.

Later on, in the 15th century, the ornamentation of the keys used to open the locks started being more and more important. So, locksmiths were not only in charge of ensuring the functionality of the key, but also its aesthetics value.

Locksmithing was far from being an easy profession.

In fact, during this time in Europe, being a locksmith could get someone hanged. In France, for instance, locksmiths needed to follow draconic rules stipulated in special guidebooks for the trade.   

For example, one French guild specified that a locksmith could only make a key during the day and in the presence of the person who requested the key and who was the owner of the lock.

With Metal Came Revolution

history of locksmithing

During the period of the 18th and 19th centuries, the history of locksmithing was largely influenced by the adoption of advanced metallurgy.

Making the transition to metal, locksmiths were able to begin creating devices which were more durable and more sophisticated.

This part of history was marked by several famous locksmiths who created designs which helped increase the security of standard locking devices.

  • Robert Barron: patented a double-acting tumbler lock in 1778.
  • Joseph Bramah:  patented the safety lock in 1784, which was deemed as unpickable at that time.
  • James Sargent:  invented the world’s first successful key-changeable combination lock in 1873. It was widely used by safe manufacturers.

A historical process which had a tremendous impact on the history of locksmithing was the Industrial Revolution.

Locks and keys went into mass production. Cheap, industrially-produced locks and keys took over the market.

So, locksmiths went from being manufacturers and suppliers to maintaining and repairing the industrial locks.

Locksmiths also began to specialize in replicating keys for clients who wanted more copies of the locks created in factories.

History of Locksmithing: Locksmiths Today

Modern locks are more sophisticated than ever and so are the services provided by locksmiths today.

history of locksmithing

There are a vast array of services locksmiths can provide customers, such as:

If you need the services of a professional locksmith now, we can help. Our dedicated locksmiths are ready to assist you 24 hours a day.

You can book a locksmith today by reaching out to us at this number: 0800 0612 677.