Category : Locks
Posted on May 23rd, 2017 0 Comments
The first locks were made out of ropes, and looked totally different from today’s lock technology. They first originated in the Mesopotamian kingdom of Assyria, and converse to this advancement, the Egyptians invented the first mechanical lock, a pin tumbler made of wood. Between then and now, there’s been a massive variety of locks invented, with many different particular structures and functionality. Here’s a brief guide to them, as prepared by the lock history experts at Chicago Locksmiths.
These locks require a sequence of numbers to be turned in either one or multiple dials. Usually, single dial locks that revolve are more secure than toggling multi dial locks that are often used in briefcases. This type of lock are sort of easy to crack in any case, since they have been around since the mid 19th century.
These padlocks require a key to be opened, and while some of them can be rekeyed, many of them can not. If you lose the key, the shackle will need to be cut or picked.
TSA Approved Locks
When you’re flying inside the USA, the TSA has approved a series of padlocks that can secure your luggage, but are supposed to only be accessible through a key that TSA agents carry. However, these are really not as secure as they might want you to think.
These locks are somewhat more secure than the usual standard spring lock, and can’t be opened unless a key is utilized to turn the lock cylinder. They are often used in homes and outside doors in combination with a slightly weaker lock for security.
Single Cylinder Deadbolts
These locks use a key on the outside and a thumbturn on the inside. They can have additional flip guards installed surrounding the thumbturn to prevent it from rotating when the guard is in place.
Double Cylinder Deadbolts
These are the more secure type of deadbolt. They require keys on the inside and outside of the locks, but can be a safety hazard in the event of an emergency that requires the quick exit of your home
Lockable Thumbturn Deadbolts
These deadbolts are recommended for locations that need maximum levels of security. They allow doors to be opened from both the inside and the outside. These can be considered somewhat of a hybrid between single and double cylinder locks.
Jimmy Proof Deadbolts
These deadbolts are usually found on double doors or in apartments. They have a strong, simple surface mount that’s easy to install, and the deadbolt in these interacts with the jamb bracket, making them extra impervious to excess force – especially compared to the normal deadbolt.
These locks are often combined in residential exterior doors with deadbolt locks. They are simple and not that secure since the cylinder is housed inside the knob rather than the door. These knobs can be easily taken off doors with hammers or even just a strong enough grip, making them only really a good choice for residential interior locks.
Lever Handle Locks
These locks are most commonly found in commercial locations, and on interior doors. Their lever can be rotated on a single side against a key cylinder, and are mor/e insecure than knob locks.
These are the type of locks that you most often see on ATMs or vending machines. When these locks are opened, it is physically removed from the device itself, making them incredibly replaceable and substitutable. These locks work with either dead latches or spring latches. Spring latches relock automatically as soon as the T handle is snapped back in place.
Other types of Cylinder Locks
These include mortise cylinders and rim cylinders – both slightly more secure than deadbolts, and both utilizing hybrid security technology. Mortise cylinders are side threaded and screw directly into mortise hardware that’s located inside the door. Rim cylinders, however, have extended tailpieces that stick from their backside through the door into the lock on the other side.
Interchangeable Core Cylinders
These locks are often used in business, school, or institutional settings as they are easy to replace without any complicated disassembly. These locks work with one of two kinds of keys. Standard operator keys are used to lock or unlock the lock, and control keys take the entire core of the cylinder out of the lock – allowing you to replace it by simply inserting a new core into the hardware. These locks are available in both small and large format interchangeable cores.
Rim Latch Locks
These locks are like rim cylinders, but contains latch on one side of the door with a latch lock on the other side. They can automatically lock when the door shuts – and are commonly utilized for this feature in apartment complexes. However, they are not meant to resist heavy force – so should always be combined with another stronger type of lock.
These low security locks are often found in filing cabinets or mailboxes. They are made of a base and a cam – the key is inserted in the base, and the cam acts as a latch tail.
Digital locks are used in cars and hotels, but now they are widely used in many security contexts. They range from taking everything from a swipe card to a code input. They are easy to rekey through simple programming, yet are somewhat vulnerable to hacking. Smart locks can be remotely controlled through dedicated smartphone applications wherever you might be located, making them a widely popular option for both residential and commercial settings.
Posted on January 4th, 2017 0 Comments
In order for commercial buildings to stick to official fire prevention and building codes, it’s essential that you have proper exit devices in place in order to keep all building occupants safe.
These rules change based on how many occupants are inside the building. Door exit devices are usually installed on the side of the door that swings out to open, in order to prevent any sort of unauthorized access while allowing for full free egress.
These systems were first implemented in the USA after a slew of deadly building fires, notably the terrible Uroquois theatre fire of 1903. Exit devices were made to open outwardly, to accommodate the rapid flow of people who may be rushing to leave a building.
Correctly Installed Exit Devices
There’s 3 commonly used varieties of exit devices that get used today: mortise lock exit devices, vertical rod exit devices, and rim lock exit devices. Rim locks are the most commonly used variety, and are named after the rim lock latches commonly sold in the early 1900s in the East Coast and in the Midwest. These locks get mounted on top of the secured area of the door frame, and have a latch that is positioned over the surface strike.
Mortise lock exit devices are made of a mortise lock sans deadbolt, which are usually attached within the door’s pocket. As the push bars get pushed in, the tail shaft (otherwise known as a spindle) turns which releases the latch bolt and lets the door open.
Bolt type exit devices are fairly new mechanisms; when they are locked, they cause the deadbolt latch to move to touch the strike, minimizing the space between the bolt and the strike.
All exit devices are either non fire rated (panic bars) or fire rated exits. Panic bars are made up of a door latching mechanism, and an activation mechanism that causes the door to unlatch, opening up in the direction of the egress opening whenever a force is placed on it. The panic latch has to have an unlatching force which is a maximum of 15 pounds, and it has to be able to get operated by any regular person, as opposed to someone with specialized training.
Fire Rated Exit Bars
These door latches can get fitted onto fire proof doors, and help provide a barrier for smoke or flames. These doors are self-closing and automatically latching, but they can’t ever get locked from opening to the outside while anybody is inside the building.
Posted on December 23rd, 2016 0 Comments
Locks serve a primary purpose of helping protect valuable possessions. From The ancient locks made of rope knots, to contemporary electronic locks, there’s a plethora of lock types in both history and contemporary society. In this blog entry, I’ll review some of the most widely known and popular types of locks.
These popular freestanding locks were first invented in ancient Babylon and Egypt, and are greatly portable. The first modern padlock was patented by Harry Soref in 1924, after founding the Master Lock company.
These padlocks require a specific sequence of numbers in order to unlock – they may have a single or many dials – however single dial locks are more secure than multi dial locks. This type of lock was invented by James Sargent in 1857, and updated by Linus Yale Jr., of the famous locksmith company. These locks aren’t the most secure, as they can be easily picked or broken into.
These key operated locks vary wildly – some can be rekeyed, others cannot – so if you have the non rekeyable variety, and you lose the key, the shackle will have to be broken.
These locks are approved by the Transportation Security Administration for luggage securing – they can only be opened by TSA employees to inspect luggage. Unfortunately, these locks are notoriously easy to pick.
These ultra secure locks are often used in homes or outside doors along with a somewhat less secure lock. They are widely based off the jimmy proof lock invented to deter and prevent burglars from entering homes and offices.
Single Cylinder Deadbolts
This is the most commonly used deadbolt in homes in the USA. They can be installed with an additional flip guard which prevents the thumb turn from turning, preventing it from being able to get picked.
Double Cylinder Deadbolts
These even more secure deadbolts require a key on the inside and outside of the lock, but can be a safety hazard if there’s an emergency that requires a quick exit – so they are prevented from being able to get installed in many residential situations in the USA.
These deadbolts can lock doors from the outside and inside, and is a combination of single and double cylinder deadbolts, that has a key cylinder on one end, and a thumbturn on the other.
Jimmy Proof Deadbolts
These deadbolts are most commonly found inside homes and apartments, and are easy to install as they are surface mounted – and are much more resistant to strong force or interference than the usual deadbolt.
These locks are found on doorknobs and are commonly paired with deadbolts. They are a rudimentary type of spring lock, and aren’t the most secure, as they can be easily knocked off the door.
Lever Handle Locks
These locks are commonly found in businesses or institutions and are most often used in interior doors – but they are also rather insecure, as they can be somewhat easily broken off.
Mortise Cylinders and Rim Cylinders
These are a secure alternative to deadbolts, and can be found on sliding glass doors or in retail environments. The difference between mortises and rim cylinders is that the latter has an extended tailpiece that is threaded through the door into the lock, while mortise cylinders have a side-thread, and are directly attached to a mortise hardware that gets installed into the door.
These locks are used in institutional and large commercial settings, as they can easily allow for key changes without full deinstallation. They are operated with either standard operator keys, which can lock and unlock the lock – or control keys, that remove the main core from the lock, allowing for a replacement core to be inserted.
These low security screw based locks are the type that can usually be found in mailboxes or filing cabinets – the ‘cam’ is the back part that operates as the latch for the screw base.
These locks are operated electronically, with either a coded card that gets inserted, or the entry of a numerical pin code. The codes can be easily changed, but they can be hacked, so they aren’t impervious to all burglary attempts.
These locks operate in conjunction with a programmed code on one’s smartphone – through an application commonly included along with the purchase of the lock itself.
Posted on October 13th, 2016 0 Comments
There’s tons of myths out there regarding locksmiths. For the most part, locksmiths are there to provide you with honest service that really helps you when you need assistance. That being said, let’s debunk some of the most common rumors about locksmiths, so that you can feel prepared next time you may need one.
Locksmiths Never keep Key Copies
Many people assume that locksmiths keep copies of keys so that whenever you ask them to make you a spare, they can make it quickly from the copy on hand. This is simply untrue, since most locksmiths agenda is simply to provide you with service as you request it – they have to reason to maintain continued access to your home, business, or vehicle. When you give a locksmith your key to make a copy, they trace it’s pattern onto a blank key, and give them both back to you when they are done. You can watch the entire process as it’s happening, so you know that they’re not making another copy at the exact same time.
They don’t only do house calls
Most locksmiths offer a whole panoply of instant solutions that include residential locksmith services, as well as automotive and commercial services. They don’t just perform house calls. They come to any home ready with an entire arsenal of equipment, ready to install commercial locks at an office, or even ready to repair a vehicle’s ignition.
Depending on which locksmith company you decide to work with, you can certainly find one that works on a 24/7 basis, around the lock. Locksmith emergencies can happen at any time of day or night, so the right locksmith will be available exactly when you need them.
Grades of Tools Vary
If all locksmiths used the exact same kinds of tools, none of them would be very distinct. In order for locksmiths to maintain a competitive edge amongst their other competition, they have to use the best tools available on the market coupled with the absolute best customer service. A truly great locksmith will use a broad arsenal of professional grade tools to work on deadbolts, electronic locking systems, personal safes, garage doors, and almost any kind of locking mechanism.
There’s a stereotype that locksmiths don’t provide accurate over the phone estimates for their services, but they absolutely do. Only professional locksmiths, like Chicago Locksmiths, will give you a price estimate over the phone – and scam locksmiths out to gouge prices almost never will.
Remember these rebuttals of locksmith related myths next time you’re searching for a truly professional service!
Posted on July 23rd, 2016 0 Comments
People are often polarized to one or the other side of the lock spectrum, arguing for the sole benefits of maintaining manual or electrical security systems in their homes or businesses. These arguments often follow alongside the conversational progression of dogma – in that they are single minded in their argumentative approach. The benefits of maintaining an electric lock system doesn’t cancel out the benefits of a mechanical system, and the benefits of a mechanical system doesn’t cancel out the benefits of an electronic system. In fact, both these systems have unique benefits that when combined can highly strengthen the security infrastructure of homes or businesses. In this blog entry I’ll detail the benefits of both.
Benefits of Electronic Locks
This is a matter of convenience. Instead of having to dig through your bag or pockets for your keys when you’re arriving home tired, or leaving home in a rush, you can simply input a code (or in some cases simply shut the door) and rest easy knowing that your home is being adequately protected. These systems often work according to fail safe principles – they have backup batteries that will keep the doors protected even in the case of power outages that take other electronic systems off the grid of operation.
Benefits of Manual Locks
Manual locks are fantastic not only because of their classic visual appeal, but for their sturdiness and resilience. While many electronic lock systems are designed with fail safe principles nowadays, it wouldn’t hurt to have a strong manual lock system bolstering the solid protection of the door in the event of a power outage or any major security risk situation. With manual locks, making sure that the whole family or business has access to your space is super simple; it’s as easy as making a copy of the key to give them.
Posted on July 13th, 2016 0 Comments
Ancient India Locks
During the reign of the Emperor of Annam, expensive valuables were locked inside large blocks of wood that were kept on islands or inside an elaborate pool inside the courts of the palace. They were protected by a crew of crocodiles called guardian angels, that were fed so little that they were always starving – to go inside the water would mean you would get eaten.
Gordian Knot Locks
Rope cords made of fiber were used to secure doors for hundreds of years. The famous Gordian Knot, tied by GOrdius, the King of Phrygia, was secured to his chariot – it was foretold by oracles that it’s untying would be accomplished by the man who would go on to conquer Asia. When Alexander the Great couldn’t untie the Gordian Knot, he cut it apart quickly with his sword – giving way to the expression “cutting the Gordian knot” – meaning providing a swift solution when other lighter methods don’t work.
The Gothic Ages Locks
During this time period, locksmiths created beautiful ornamental locks with vast intricacy. THey would emboss, engrave, chafe, and etch onto metallic locks, creating security devices for the finest courts throughout Europe. Castle doors would be secured inside ward locks, domes that would often be covered in mythical symbols and characters, as well as metal coloring, known as the Niello process.
Colonial America Locks
During Pioneer days, home’s keys would often hang outside the door as a length of string – the doors were latched from the inside with a wooden bar or belt that would drop into a hollow area in the jamb. A piece of string was attached that would be threaded to the door’s exterior. The dangling string would signal a welcome to visitors, who could simply pull the string and open the door. This is the origin of the phrase “our latch string is always out.” as an expression of hospitality.
Spanish Architecture Locks
In 17th and 18th century Spain, there was a general dislike of locks. In order to stay safe, a block would collectively hire a watchman to patrol the neighborhood who owned keys to their homes. In order to leave or enter their home, a homeowner would clap their hands in order to signal the watchman to come.
Deep Sea Locksmiths
Charles Courtney always wanted to be a locksmith, but ended up a deep sea diver. Fortunately, he was able to meet his dreams when he started getting hired to open locked safes on sunken ships – retrieving millions of dollars for salvaging operations.
Animal Shaped Locks
Throughout history, high end locks in the shapes of animals were made in order to delight homeowner’s and frighten off superstitious intruders. From elephants and hippopotamuses, to stranger forms like flowers or even scorpions, locks of every specific shape or size exist in history.
Posted on May 23rd, 2016 0 Comments
Vehicle Identification Numbers are unique code combinations given to vehicles when they are manufactured. This code contains the most important identifying details about the car This code cannot be changed, and remains active throughout the car’s life. Consider it as your car’s DNA.
VIN numbers are made up of a serial code of 17 characters. They started being used in 1954, and different manufacturers used different formats of the code until 1981, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the United States standardized the use of these codes. This standard excludes the use of letters like: “Q, w, o, O, i, and I” from being used as they can all be easily confused with being the numbers 0 or 1.
World Manufacturer Identifier Numbers
The first three symbols of the VIN number determine the WMI (world manufacturer identifier,) showing which manufacturer made your car. The first character of the WMI identifies the area where the vehicle was made. The next 4 characters provide information about the vehicle type, the model, and the body style.
Uses of VIN Numbers
VIN numbers are incredibly helpful if you want to buy a used car. You can use the car’s VIN number to check its history report, and whether it has sustained any damage in accidents or has insurance that covers it. VIN numbers also help identify stolen cars, or specific parts if you need to have your car repaired, or your car keys copied.
Posted on May 5th, 2016 0 Comments
The center of every family is their home; it’s the space for togetherness that adds a sense of safety, regularity, and stability. Not only is the home a financial liability, it’s also a sentimental zone that you want to keep as safe as possible. There’s many options for homeowners that want to beef up their home security; all these upgrades are fantastic choices to increase the safety of your home, but many families overlook a simple risk to home security than can jeopardize all your important preparation – children.
Children can be incredibly volatile and energetic, and might not remember everything that you tell them regarding home security. The majority of children don’t even think about their own safety, much less the structural safety of their home. Teaching children to mind one’s home security system is an important task, that requires a bit of a tactical approach. Here’s some ways that children can compromise home security plans, and how you can address these risks early in order to keep your home and family safe.
Teach children about the security significance of doors and windows (taking mind not to scare them, but to firmly illustrate the lesson.) One major lesson is to teach children how to respond to a knock on the door – never to open right away, to ask who it is, how to behave when you’re home and need to be fetched, and how to respond when they are home alone. Children should be taught not to give any information to strangers who knock on the door – simply ask for a name and a purpose of visit, then get in touch with a parent.
Teach your children about closing the curtains of your home, especially in rooms where there are large, attractive, and expensive looking devices around. I’m not saying that you should become a crazy shut-in, keeping your home swathed in darkness; I’m simply saying to teach your children the value of discretion – by advertising luxury to strangers, you are in some ways inviting a burglary.
Children should be taught to keep garage doorways clear of toys, bicycles, or other objects – especially nowadays, when many garage doors are outfit with motion sensors that keep the door open if an obstruction is sensed. If a child leaves objects in the garage doorway, it will keep the door open and make your property more susceptible to burglary or theft.
Make sure that your child does not publicize or advertise any information about your schedule over the internet. Many children don’t have a filter over their thoughts, and don’t’ cast a doubt on publicizing information like what they got for Christmas, or their excitement about leaving for a two week vacation. To children, this might seem like a completely harmless sharing of information with friends, but in reality any stranger with access to this information could use it as inspiration or strategy for a burglary or home invasion. Make sure that your kids know now to place your home in the public eye – even anonymously over the internet.
Home Security Technology
Teach your children how to operate all your home security devices. This includes teaching them to arm and disarm alarms before they leave the house and when they arrive home – you want this knowledge to become instinctual muscle memory for them. Remember, all it takes is one slip up and some bad luck to instigate a burglary. Children should be taught that alarms – regardless of how fun they look to play with – are not toys, and should never be fiddled with.