The history of the lock really makes very interesting reading, with the first known device made of wooden bars and described as being in an Egyptian temple at Kamak which dated from 2000BC. Similarly, the Greeks are credited with the invention of the keyhole, where a small sickle shaped implement could be inserted and twisted through a small hole in the door which dates back to around 1300 BC.
Nowadays historical locks are purely aesthetic of course, although some ancient locks can still be found in use in historic colleges and university buildings as well as churches. Most of them however, are kept in private collections or museums such as the ‘Beddington Lock’ which is exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Museum. This lock accompanied Henry VIII on his travels across the kingdom and was installed on his chamber door wherever he stayed in the country to guarantee his security and privacy.
Many different types of historical locks can still be found on church doors, depending on their age, location and use. They may be rim locks, mortice locks or even padlocks, either constructed entirely from metal or made of wood and iron combined. Whilst historic buildings still may have old wooden locks, insurance companies today dictate that security is tighter with modem 5-lever mortice locks now installed to meet insurance requirements.
We know how important security reviews are these days with companies such as Yale and Avocet advising us about the threat of lock-snapping, which has become an increasing concern over recent years. Secured By Design safety guarantees therefore continue to be important to both installers and homeowners, as combating burglaries and preventing crime remains a focus in what many describe as challenging times.
As technology advances it would be easy to think that we are safer, yet we regularly see statistics regarding burglaries and break-in crime increasing. Fortunately, trained locksmiths can perform master re-keying on homes or business complexes but surely it has to be about educating the homeowners and landlords to ensure that security is reviewed regularly? We are told, that whether old or new, if a burglar is determined that they can find their way into properties and buildings like a master craftsman, cunningly discovering everyone’s weak spots.
Whilst many consumers do not consider evaluating their locks until something unthinkable has happened, perhaps a compulsory review should be introduced by insurance and mortgage companies. While initially it could cause an outcry about personal freedoms, surely regular replacement of old locks, or locks of a certain age, would make a lot of sense all round? In theory that may sound great for business, and even though the digital locking world is moving forward at a fast pace, with bio-technology being introduced, that must offer substantial reassurance. Yet, how do we ensure that those with smaller budgets can also be catered for when protecting all they hold most dear?
With everything moving across into the digital world it would seem that mobile apps will undoubtedly supply a few good answers, whether through clever technical coding linked to our iphones or useful directories such as the mobile friendly website recently launched by the MLA.
On the lighter side as we close this month, there have been some interesting anecdotes regarding lockouts and replacing old locks. One of the more humorous stories we heard about recently, related to replacement keys for some university students in America, all of whom had duplicate keys cut to a particular students room – every day when he left for lectures, they would let themselves in and move certain items around in his room. Starting with small items first, they eventually moved onto the bigger things, such as his bed or the wardrobe as his paranoia set in! Now that surely called for a review and replacement?!