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Monthly Archives: May 2013

  • History of Locks

    Posted on May 30th, 2013 0 Comments

    We think of locks as a relatively new invention and in a way they are.  The new innovations we have come up with has changed and improved locks so much that they are almost unrecognizable from their ancient counterpart.  And yet, locks have exists in this world for approximately 4,00 years, maybe more.  Let’s go through some highlights.

    The oldest lock known to man so far was found near and ancient Assyrian city called Nineveh.  Archeologists found it in the Khorsabad Palace ruins.  This lock was a predecessor of the traditional pin tumbler lock we know today.  It contained a wooden bolt that had several holes on top that were filled with wooden pegs.

    Next were the Egyptians who created the pin tumbler lock.  Because of this, they also created the first concept of keys.  This type of lock is the parent to the ones used today in our doors.  The Egyptian version of the lock contained several loose peg which we call pins today.  The key is inserted and the pegs move, falling into the slots of the key.  This causes the pins to align properly in order to unlock the door.

    Ancient Greece favored knots as opposed to locks.  They were known for using the Gordian Knot as a form of security.  They would use this complicated knot to lock up their doors and soon a knotted rope became the symbol of security.  This knot was supposedly created by the King of Phrygia, Gordius, who became king after he tied up his ox cart and the oracles proclaimed his title.

    In the Orient, brass and iron padlocks were preferred.  They were simple and portable.  The bolt of the lock was held in place by springs.  In order to release the bolt, a key would be inserted to compress the springs.  Many of these locks were ornately decorated.  They were often made in the shape of animals or engraved with characters.

    During the Medieval Era, locks were not used as often.  Instead, they used things called “living locks”, otherwise known as crocodiles.  Anything valuable would be stored and sealed in a box.  Then this box would either be submerged in water or placed on a small island.  This was convenient since many of the property at the time had moats.  The water contained hungry crocodiles to guard the valuables.  These crocodiles were carefully fed so that they would always be hungry.  Thus, it was impossible to steal from the water without getting attacked and eaten.

    In the 14th and 15th century, there were little improvements in locks.  Instead, the aesthetic of the locks can to the forefront.  The outside design of the lock became increasingly ornate.  Craftsmen would produce locks for cupboards and doors using detailed metalwork.  Masters of this would create a “masterpiece” lock that was never used.  Instead, it is often displayed so the world can look in and see its intricacies.

    As locks became more complicated, the art of lock picking flourished, especially around the 18th century.  In order to combat this, puzzle padlocks were created.  This can be recognized as the forerunner to combination locks.  The earliest examples of puzzle padlocks come from the Chinese.  They would have 3 to 7 rings of characters that needed to be properly aligned in order to release the catch.

    During Colonial times in America, the colonists preferred to use a type of locks called Latchstring Locks.  These locks had to be locked from the inside.  The bolt or wooden bar would be attached to a string and once the door was locked, the string would be threaded through a hole.  This was a sign of hospitality for visitors.  If the string was dangling, then they simply pulled and walked in.

    In 1844, the Yale Lock was created by Linus Yale Sr.  He used the Egyptian design on pin tumblers and improved it by adding more pins and changing their orientation.  This lock is one of the most popular types still used today.  As most doors need keys, they operate on the pin tumbler system.

    One of the simplest locks we still use, the push button lock, was created in 1920s.  Walter Schlage who created this won the “Modern Pioneer Award” for his basic yet innovative design.  Essentially, you push the button in the center of the doorknob to lock the door and turn the knob from the inside in order to unlock it.

    Locks are constantly evolving to make us more and more secure.  Yet, while locks look different on the outside than they used to, the insides still hold similarities.  Just as humans have evolved and improved over time, so have locks.  While the idea of the pin and tumbler system is still the same, its actual utilization has become more complicated with increasing number of pins.  The same goes for combination locks.

    It will be quite interesting to see where technology takes us next?  Will we continue improving on our old methods or will something new come along?  At the very least we no longer have to worry about getting eaten by a crocodile, right?

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  • Different Types of Safes

    Posted on May 21st, 2013 0 Comments

    You see all these claims about safes: fire safe, data safe, gun safe, but what does it mean?  What makes it different?  Which one do you choose?  Each safe has specific characteristics attributed to it making it compatible for different situations.  Consider you needs, then consider what each safe can provide.

    Fire-Proof Safes

    Fire-proof safes are, as the name would insinuate, meant to protect your valuables from fires.  They are also meant to protect them from high temperatures.  These safes are rated by the amount of time they can maintain a set internal temperature while withstanding an extreme external temperature.  The way fire-proof safes work is by releasing moisture contained in its insulation in order to keep temperatures below the set number.  Document safes and data safes fall under this category and are specifically targets to hold certain items.  The difference is the temperature they can stand.  Document safes maintain an internal temperature of no greater than 177°C to avoid the papers catching on fire.  Data safes go no higher than 55°C so that hard drives, CDs, USBs, etc won’t be damaged by the heat.  While the cheaper safes last for about half an hour, the more expensive and higher the grade, the longer it can withstand extreme heat.

    Burglary Safes

    Burglary safes are meant to hold up against burglars.  While no safe is burglary proof, there are some made to be more resistant.  These safes take another route to deter thieves.  The safeguards on these safes are meant to withstand attacks from the common tools used in burglary.  They are meant to discourage thieves from even trying to break in.  And even if they try, the amount of time and effort it takes will hopefully cause them to give up or to get caught.  The efficiency of a burglar safe is dependent on how long it takes to break into them.  The longer it takes, the more expensive the safe.  Some stand 15 minutes while others can hold up to 30 minutes.

    Gun Safes

    Like it suggests, gun safes are specifically meant to hold guns.  Though you can store other things in this safe, gun safes tend to be bigger so that they can hold rifles and larger types of rifles.  You can choose specific criteria for your gun safe.  Some are fire-proof and water-proof while others are might be burglary proof.  These safes have the option of being more decorative as it is possible to get them with a carved wood exterior so they resemble historical gun cabinets.

    Wall & Floor Safes

    The advantages of a wall or a floor safe is that they are hidden.  They can be fire-proof or burglary resistant or they can have the simplest form of security.  Their main defense is the fact that they are hidden from view.  Floor safes are installed into the ground and then covered.  If done right, you can walk over it without ever knowing it’s there.  Wall safes are often hidden behind paintings or pictures.  They can also be installed in closets and concealed by clothing.  It is another added security measure on top of the ones that come with your safe.

    Different safes cater to specific needs.  For example, jewelry safes are made with a jewelry box like interior including wooden drawers and fabric lining to hold your valuables.  Their security is no different, but they tailor to a particular situation.  It is important to know the advantages of each safe in order to find the right one for you.  Two of the most important features are fire-proofing and burglary resistance as these are the two situations most likely to arise.  Other traits to consider is whether the safe is resistant against water damage and microwaves.  Once you’ve picked the right safe, you can have the peace of mind knowing that your valuables will be protected no matter what emergency arises.

    Buying and Installing a Safes in Chicago

    In Chicago, Il Chicago Locksmiths offer a wide range of safe and the great thing they also do safe installation in Chicago. Stop by our location.

    Chicago, IL 60647


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