The creation of this new lock put many skilled metal workers to work as skilled locksmiths who would design and cast beautiful and intricate locks and matching keys. With these craftsman now being employed to create the most secure lock, many excelled at creating new complicated designs. But right behind their innovation came the developing craft of skeleton keys which resulted in a legion of people who valued lock picking as skill and the pressure to create an unbreakable lock.
The New Era
As to be expected, with the industrial age there was a leap in lock technology and tech across the board. A man named Robert Barron patented the double acting lever tumbler lock. A lock where, like the egyptian lock, pins had to be lifted but all at different heights. He dubbed it the most secure lock on the market, according to it’s continued popularity, people still believe him to this day. While adding more levers did render the lock difficult to break, it was not impenetrable. Barron had started an idea, to add more variables made the lock harder to break, so every other locksmith set out to do the same.
A Lasting Product
The next craftsmen to create a new lock ensured its utility for many years, so many that this lock is still sold in London to this day. This lock works by inserting a cylindrical key that presses a series of wafers in the locking mechanism that acts much like Barron’s lock. This proper key pushes the wafers to the appropriate depth and forces the bolt to disengage. The man was so confident in his new lock, he offered 200 gold guineas to anyone who could pop said lock. It remain unpicked for 61 years, until renowned American locksmith Alfred C. Hobbs broke it by the end of 51 hours.
This lock, called the Brahmah lock – despite its superiority, did not give any other locksmiths pause on creating different models. In 1817, a burglary prompted the British government to hold a competition for another creation of a better lock. A lock that could not be opened without the corresponding key. The significant prize money went to Jeremiah Chubb who improved upon Barron’s design with a complicated re-done set of lever locks. The new built-in re-locking feature, of the detector lock, would jam if you used the wrong key. This lock remained unpicked until Alfred C Hobbs opened it at the Great Exhibition.
This feat of lock picking marked the end of England’s reign over the security industry. With Hobbs on the horizon the great American ingenuity would soon gain the top ranking of the lock business.
The history of locks is a rich tapestry of weird facts that you can consume with us. Find out more with our next blog entry as the story of triumphant locksmithing continues. Affordable Locksmiths is happy to educate our readership about the history of our industry. If you have any questions about updating or refitting your locks, please feel free to contact our locksmiths!