The most secure period in locking history

The history of locks is a very interesting one and the practise of locking valuables away has been used since ancient Egypt. For thousands of years locks weren’t particularly strong and could usually be broken or unlocked quite easily. This changed in the 1770s when British inventor Joseph Bramah created his safety lock. The device was so complex and Bramah had such confidence that he even offered a contest with a 200 guineas prize (approximately £20,000 by today’s standards) for anybody who could break it.

The Bramah lock was followed by the Chubb detector lock, another complex product that seized up if someone attempted to open it without the actual key. Once seized, a second key needed to be used and rotated backwards to reset the lock.

Both locks dramatically improved standards and ushered in an era of “perfect security” where people could have complete confidence in the safety of their valuables. The secure feeling lasted until 1851 until American locksmith A.C. Hobbs broke both locks. He opened the Chubb lock in just 25 minutes by using the mechanism against itself. When it seized he picked it backwards to learn more about how it worked, eventually finding all of the information he needed to open it successfully.

The Bramah lock was more challenging to crack but after 52 hours of working on it over a 14 day period Hobbs finally succeeded. The security lock that had defeated countless people for 70 years was beaten and with it came the loss of the confidence in a “perfect” secure solution. The following 160 plus years have brought countless new locking techniques but we have never been able to attain the same level of confidence.

Nowadays locks still serve a vital purpose but there is still the inherent risk that they could be tampered with or breached. Fortunately newer safety systems are in place to work alongside them to increase protection. Society itself has also changed a great deal in this time.

Modern locksmiths are trained to open all kinds of lock and give people access to their properties and vehicles if they find themselves locked out. They provide an important service and many of them can also offer security advice. If you need the services of experienced locksmiths in Northampton, we are here for you. From helping you boost security in your home to providing useful guidance, we can offer all the help you need.