An extremely technical area, one that requires a considerable amount of talent and patience, locksmithing is essentially the art and science of creating, defeating and repairing locks. The history of locksmithing dates back thousands of years. Although the methods, tools and locks encountered by the typical locksmith have advanced significantly in the years since, they still continue to play a vital role on a daily basis.
The earliest example of a mechanically operated lock was located in Niveveh, amongst the ruins of the palace of Khorsabad - a spectacular Egyptian structure. It was estimated to be around 4,000 years old. This lock was operated by movable pins, which dropped in small enclosures - locking the door shut. However, the average locksmith today encounters far more challenging mechanisms.
The average locksmith today will face screw-in rim cylinder locks, mortice dead bolt locks and Euro cylinder locks to name but just three.
Commonly used, screw-in rim cylinder locks are very durable. They are sturdily constructed and the typical example will fit in a central casing, which can be held in with a couple of screws. An engineer, providing locksmith services, will typically face this particular lock on the exterior doors of commercial properties.
Mortice dead bolt locks are more commonly faced by engineers providing household locksmith services. Featuring a single bolt, which fits securely into the door, mortice dead bolt locks can be accessed only via a key. Homeowners, because of the considerable amounts of additional security they can provide, will sometimes get mortice dead bolt locks installed - by a locksmith - on the back doors of their properties.
Euro cylinder locks are slightly more sophisticated; the mechanism works with a series of bolts, tumblers and pins. When the user inserts their key into the door, and rotates it the correct way, the pins will become aligned and the cylinder will unlock, allowing the door to be opened.
There are a variety of different types of euro cylinder locks manufactured by security and locksmithing firms. For example, some will feature up to six pins. Amongst those responsible for providing locksmith services, the general rule is: the more pins featured in the lock, the harder it is to defeat.
What would the average locksmith use to go about defeating these locks when, for example, helping someone locked out of their home?
A tool likely to be employed when faced with more secure locks, pick guns can be operated manually or electronically - depending on which model is purchased. It allows engineers to force those locks featuring pin tumbler mechanisms open without too much trouble. However, it's worth noting that a locksmith operating this particular tool needs to have significant amounts of skill.
Recognising that many homeowners will call on locksmith services when they've broken their key off in a lock, many locksmiths will carry a key extractor kit. Consisting of a variety of thin pliers, suitable for a number of different types of locks, these kits enable locksmiths to manoeuvre the broken section of a key out from inside the lock.
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On a daily basis the average locksmith will face a multitude of lock types and use a variety of tools to defeat and repair. This article lists just a couple of these locks and tools.
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