People have always had a need to protect their homes and possessions from intruders and thieves.
Because locks are the primary method for safeguarding our property and belongings, it’s no surprise that locksmiths have always had an important job to do.
Locks come in all shapes and sizes, from basic padlocks, to the most up to date state of the art technology such as retinal scanning, but the very first lock was made from wood over 4000 years ago. These wooden locks were invented by the Egyptians who pioneered the technique of using falling pins to control the movement of the security lock. The bolt was freed from the lock position with the use of a large and cumbersome key, and had to be manually lifted upwards to displace the pins.
In early roman times, rich families kept their valuables in secure boxes in the home. It was common practice for rich men and women to wear keys as rings on their fingers, not only so they could be kept handy at all times, but also as a way of displaying their wealth. Keys were status symbols, signalling to others that the wearer had jewellery and cash worth securing.
The first locks made from metal began to appear around 870 AD, and it’s believed they were made by English craftsmen.
The American lock industry really began in the mid 1700s. With the founding of the Republic and new prosperity, there was a growing demand for sturdy door locks, padlocks, and locks for safes and vaults. Between 1774 and 1920, American lock makers patented around 3,000 varieties of lock devices; amongst these was the patent for the “domestic lock,” by Linus Yale, and a new type of cylindrical pin tumbler lock developed by Walter Schlage.
For a long period of time, locksmiths were skilled metal workers who created by hand the dozens of individual pieces necessary for a lock to work, and hand forging the keys to open them. Today, modern manufacturers produce 99.9% of commercial locks, and the job of the locksmith predominantly involves repairing locks and giving advice around security issues.
Purchasing new locks for your home or business can seem like a daunting task. Although the look and cost of the hardware are both important concerns, the main consideration must be the level of security the new locks will provide. There’s a vast array of choices available on the market today, and making decisions about which hardware to purchase can be difficult if you don’t have the expertise. Follow our simple guide to help you make the right choice for your property.
Exterior doors are vulnerable targets for intruders. For this reason, both front and back entrance doors, and garage doors will require a higher level of security than those inside the property.
Most front and back doors use a keyed entry function, and are fitted with handle sets. There are three main options for exterior lock hardware.
Single cylinder deadbolt
A thumbturn allows the door to be easily to be easily opened from the inside. When the handle or knob is turned, the door will open freely. However, in order to gain entry from the outside, a key is needed to unlock the door.
Double cylinder deadbolt
This works in a similar way to the single cylinder deadbolt, but a key is needed on both sides of the door. This type of lock is recommended for glass doors such as patio doors. Should an intruder manage to break the glass, the handle on the inside would not open without the key.
Auxiliary deadbolt/Mortise lock with dwelling entry function
These are often installed for added security. A deadbolt is a one inch solid bolt that can only be retracted with a key or a thumbturn. It is a secondary lock usually located above the primary lock, although it can be used on its own.
The purpose of a Mortise Lock is to act as a combination of locks. It is dual action means that it can act as a door knob and a deadbolt. A mortise lock allows for faster exit during an emergency.
How to Choose the Right Level of Security:
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a non profit organisation whose aim is to grade security ratings for builder’s hardware, so that customers can identify the quality and durability of locksets through a series of operational and security tests.
Grade 1: The highest level of security available for both residential and commercial properties.
Grade 2: Excellent security and durability for residential and some commercial properties.
Grade 3: Basic residential security. The lowest grade provided by ANSI and the minimal acceptable quality for residential door locks.
The BHMA (Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association) product number is another way of checking the grade of any particular piece of hardware. This number gives information about the product category, the material used and the function of the hardware.