Did you know that locks first existed over 6,000 years ago? They certainly weren’t anything like the locks we have today. While they provided some level of security, they were mostly faulty, inconvenient to use, and downright bulky.
Now, you might be wondering: how did locks transform from what they were 4,000 years ago into what they are today? We’re going to get into the specifics of that question below. Without further ado, here’s the history of locksmithing as told by a River Forest locksmith.
The Origin of Locksmithing
Based on historical documents and archaeological discoveries, historians believe the history of locksmithing to date back to 4,000 BC in the countries of Egypt and Babylon. While the locksmithing of that time was nowhere near as sophisticated as the locksmithing of today, it was suitable for producing functional, stationary locks.
The locks of ancient Egypt and Babylon were large, bulky, and made from wood. Their corresponding keys were equally as bulky, and much less complex than the keys we have today. Nonetheless, they did provide a reasonable level of security.
In the thousands of years following the creation of the original locks, lock technology spread throughout the world, making its way to countries such as Greece, China, and Italy. All the while, lock technology was improving, resulting in smaller, more discreet, and more secure locks than what had previously existed.
0 – 1000 AD
For thousands of years, locks were made solely out of wood. This would change around 870 AD. This time marked the arrival of metal locks. Made by craftsmen from England, these locks were simple but effective. Generally constructed out of iron or brass, they would soon make their way to the rest of Europe, and to China as well.
As you might expect, keys had progressed with locks during this time. Made out of metal, they were used in a number of different ways. Whereas some keys were turned, others were pushed in or screwed.
1001 – 1500 AD
By the 14th century, locks had become more than functional tools. At this point in time, they were being designed as art pieces as well. Manufactured by skilled and experienced locksmiths, they often possessed intricate shapes and details.
In fact, the wealthy classes would use these locks to demonstrate their social status. A house adorned with an intricately designed lock was thought to be owned by aristocrats.
1501 – Present
There were few changes in locks throughout the middle of the second millennium. While locksmiths experimented with a variety of different designs, functional innovation was put on the backburner.
This would change in the 1700s. During this century, locksmiths began shaping locks in such a way that their security and durability capabilities improved vastly. This type of innovation would continue throughout the 1800s, hitting a high point during the Industrial Revolution of the late 19th century.
It was in the 20th century, however, that locks would transform into what we know them as today. During this century, locksmiths would invent everything from the cylindrical lock, to the padlock, to the door knob lock, to the exit device, and more.
In the late 20th century, electronic locks made their first appearance, revolutionizing home and commercial security capabilities. Ever since, electronic locks have been at the forefront of lock innovation, most recently leading to the invention of the smart lock.
In Need of a River Forest Locksmith?
Are you in need of a licensed locksmith? In need of a River Forest locksmith, specifically? If so, Suburban Door Check & Lock Service is the company to call.
We provide a range of locksmithing services, including lock installation, lock repair, lock maintenance, and more. Offering both commercial and residential services, we’re ready to help you.
Contact us now to discuss your needs!