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Tag Archives: locks

  • The Effect of Door Hardware on Curb Appeal

    Posted on May 17th, 2020 0 Comments

    According to a research study conducted at Princeton University, it takes only 1/10th of a minute for people to set impressions of other people; and this same fact applies to how your home, and it’s curb appeal, is judged by strangers. Lock hardware can actually make a big impression on the curb appeal of your property – and, of course, the myriad of factors that curb appeal in turn effects. In this blog entry, the lock and door hardware installation experts here at Chicago Locksmith will detail the way that lock hardware has a strong effect on curb appeal.

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  • Failsafe Vs. Fail Secure Locks

    Posted on December 13th, 2018 0 Comments

    Failsafe and fail secure locks are two different types of hardware that get installed at buildings depending on their variety of security need. Here’s a guide to the difference between failsafe and fail secure locks, as provided by the lock installation experts at Chicago Locksmith. By ensuring that you have the proper door hardware in place, you will bolstering the security that your existing access control system provides you with.

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  • Red Flag Door Issues

    Posted on May 28th, 2018 0 Comments

    All mechanical devices have issues from time to time – hopefully minor ones – and door locks are no exception. Most home or business owners will say that their door locks have experiences issues once in a while, and the way that they react to these issues when they pop up determines how seriously the issues will impact the security level of their homes or businesses. Here’s some red flag door lock issues that should be addressed immediately in order to protect the security of your property – as prepared by the residential security experts at Chicago Locksmiths.

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  • 5 Best Electronic Door Locks

    Posted on March 23rd, 2018 0 Comments

    Now that huge advancements have been made in residential and commercial locksmith based security, there’s a huge variety of electronic door locks available on the market. This wide variety of locks come in an equally large variety of makes, models, sizes, and boast a huge amount of different features. In this brief blog post, the home security experts at Chicago Locksmiths will help you determine what the best electronic door locks for your home or business are.

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  • Famous Locks of History

    Posted on July 13th, 2016 0 Comments

     

    Famous Lock Related Incidents of HistoryLocks have existed for thousands of years – just in different forms. In this blog post, we’ll survey some of the most notable moments in lock history.

    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.

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  • Padlock History

    Posted on April 17th, 2016 0 Comments

    Padlock History

    Locks are a matter of ancient history – they have existed for thousands of years, since the beginning of society. As history has progressed, the structure and construction of locks have changed. The invention of the padlock was one of the most influential changes in the evolution of locks. The important idea at the center of padlocks is the invention of a lock that can be added and removed from a separate device. Padlocks are simply detachable locks that can be secured with a shackle – which is put on a hinge or springed slide. In this brief blog post I’ll underline some of the important history and etymology of padlocks.

     

    The Etymology of the word ‘Padlock’

    Some theories imply that the prefix ‘pad’ means gate, with the implication that padlocks were originally made for locking gates. The prefix ‘pad’ could also imply foot traffic, or walking, implying that these locks were originally crafted to guard gates that led to paths. In the United Kingdom the term ‘Pad’ is also associated with ‘panniers’, baskets used with animals. This implies that perhaps the term padlock originated to describe the locks that merchants would place on bags of their wares that they would attach to animals to carry. The last theory asserts that the term came from Vikings in an English settlement who would use these locks to keep their livestock secure inside containers known as paddocks.

     

    Ancient Rome

    The most ancient padlocks currently on record date to 500 BCE, in the Roman empire. This artifact has around body made of iron, with a bolt that can be moved with a key. Many other Roman padlocks are made of two parts with a rectangle body, with a separate shackle and V shaped spring – the two far corners of the ‘V’ are pinched in order to allow the shackle to move. This construction is rudimentary but effective.

     

    Evolution along the Silk Road

    As trade routes between Europe and Asia were established, the use of locks became much more widespread as they were enlisted by merchants. By the year 25, the Chinese Empire had implemented massive use of padlocks – these often made of bronze. A few hundred years later in the English province of York, Viking settlements used padlocks to protect their livestock. Leading archeologists argue that these locks were made between the years 850 and 1000 – and as I mentioned before, were used on animal paddocks. The viking padlocks are structurally similar to the Roman padlocks however the Viking ones used flat keys, rather than the “L” bent Roman ones.

     

    Mid-Millennium England

    The most drastic changes to the structure of the padlock happened as they became more widely used in England. This evolution was spearheaded, funnily enough, by the use of smokehouses to preserve food. Before refrigerators, citizens needed methods of preserving food for long harsh winters. Smoking meat and fish became a method of rendering food much more impervious to the elements – and as food was in high demand, smokehouses would have to be locked to prevent the food from being stolen. These padlocks were made of wrought iron, and had custom keyways – warded with notches that matched keys. These padlocks however widely disseminated, had structural issues – they could be forced into, and it would be incredibly difficult to figure out if the lock had been picked.

     

    Eastern Europe

    In Eastern Europe – in Slavic areas like Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, etc..) the advent of the screw key padlock provided an alternative to the smokehouse padlock. This cylindrical key has to be twisted into the lock, and if it aligned properly it could be taken out without having to turn it the opposite way, at the same time stretching an internal spring which would retract the bolt. By around 1910 both screw key locks  and smokehouse locks stopped being as popular.

     

    1800s Scandinavia

    Invented by the Swedish inventor Christopher Polhem, the Scandinavian lock consisted of a series of rotating disks with side grooves that would match with a certain key – additionally grooves on the outside of the disks had to align in order to release the shackle. Created in the 1870s, these locks continued to be manufactured until around the 1950s.

    Also invented in Scandinavia, Cast Heart padlocks, made of brass or bronze, were made with a keyway drop, to protect it from being impacted with particulate matter, and could be easily carried. They were widely manufactured due to their usefulness in incredibly cold or icy climates.

     

    Industrial Revolution and Advent of Electricity

    During the 1870s, the Cast Heart lock became widely replicated with cheap materials. Many businesses began using the cheaper locks, even if they were less effective. During this time period, Yale was creating the first padlock that was made of modular components that could be replaced – allowing for rekeying. As electricity came to use, manufacturing of solid metal locks became cheaper and easier – and modular locks became a trend on an industrial level. Shrouds that cover the shackles also came to use.

     

    MasterLock

    In the 1920s the Master Lock company released their tumbler and pin based padlock -and manufactured them in droves. The simplification of cast dieing processes made it a possibility for companies to manufacture locks with ornate molds and designs – however due to this embellishment causing functional issues, this trend has mostly disappeared. However, padlocks have become ubiquitous – to the point of becoming a universal symbol of security. Even if new designs of more useful or efficient locks are made in the future, the impact of the padlock will live on in semiotics.

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  • Security Tips for the Recently Moved

    Posted on January 25th, 2016 0 Comments

    new home

    Moving into a new home can be a scattered time, where there’s a seemingly endless list of things to take care of. One of the most important things that you can do is make sure that your property is secure and safe for everyone inside. Here are some essential home security tips for those who have recently moved.

     

    Test your Alarm System

    Your new home should have already had an alarm system set up inside it at some point – which the realtor likely pointed out to you before you bought it. If the preexisting system is still functioning well, you should change the access code so only you or other members of your family can arm or disarm it’s functions. Once you did that, you should contact a local security alarm service, and have them send an expert over to verify if the system is working correctly. This entails testing every sensor (including fire, carbon monoxide, and smoke detection,) and making sure that the automatic notification systems in the alarm are working well. We suggest discussing your expectations and needs for a security system honestly with a professional technician, so you can potentially receive helpful professional tips about how you can enhance or utilize your existing system to meet your specific needs.

    If you’re moving into a home that was just built, ask your real estate agent if it’s already been pre-wired for a security alarm system. Most new houses are – meaning all you’d have to do is contact a local burglar alarm company and have them install the control panel and sensors, so that your home security can be monitored. If the home is so new or so old that it doesn’t have any existing wiring at all, there’s many options for easily-installed wireless alarm systems that can provide your family with the security they deserve. It’s worth keeping in mind that many insurance companies provide discounts on homeowner’s insurance if you have a monitored security alarm system installed in your home. Determine if your home qualifies, and your alarm company will willingly send all applicable information to your security company whenever you ask.

     

    Check all locks and window latches

    This might seem obvious, but it’s not that hard to forget to re-key all of the locks in your new home. This is something that should be done as soon as possible after moving in. Not only should you re-key your front door, but also your side doors, back doors, and gates. It’s particularly important to re-key these entrances, because they’re likely somewhat covered and shielded, making them ideal spots for a potential burglar. It’s also important to check all of the window latches and locks in your home, as they can often wear down over time.

     

    Pay mind to what’s around your home

    Not only should you be mindful of your security system and functioning locks, but you should also be mindful of the area directly surrounding your home. If you put yourself in the mindset of a burglar, it’s easy to imagine not wanting to be seen – to get inside and outside of a house as quickly and quietly as possible. It’s important to keep your property well landscaped – meaning burglars wouldn’t be able to hide behind trees or unkempt shrubs or bushes. By trimming obstructing plant life, and displaying visible signage that announces that your home is protected with an alarm system, you can manage to both prevent and deter potential burglars at the same time. Follow these rules as soon as you move in, and relax knowing that your home is well protected.

     

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  • Methods to Avoid Locksmith Fraud and Scam

    Posted on July 20th, 2015 0 Comments

    scam and fraud
    Several locksmith companies that are not legitimate have sprout to offer these services to people who genuinely need these services. Several people have fallen trap to them and incurred losses in terms of money, time and their efforts, either in pursuit of these defrauding companies or while in pursuit of the services. Legitimate companies that offer locksmith services may bear similar names in order to broaden their chances in the business directories. The following tips offered by the Federal trade Commission can assist you in identifying and avoiding scam:

    Check on company’s specific name

    It is important to be cautious of the companies that use generic terms while answering calls. For example, a company may use “locksmith services” instead of the specific name of the company. A locksmith should provide the name of the business failure to which you should look for another locksmith.

    Ask for identity documents

    Once the locksmith arrives, you should en-quire for their identifying documents and where applicable, ask for the locksmith license. In cities such as Texas, California, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Alabama are some of the areas that require all locksmiths to have the locksmith license.

    Inquire about the charges

    Before the locksmith starts the task, it is vital to know about the cost of the services. These costs include the extra charges such as mileage, service call and the emergency hour costs. Some of the locksmith will tend to overcharge if you do not en-quire in advance.

    Find a reputable locksmith company

    Getting references from other people who know of legitimate locksmith companies and with a good reputation will help you avoid scam. Knowing the addresses and the location where the companies are based is good even before you need their services. Jolt down these details for future use when you will require the services.

    Compare the prices

    The on-site price and the on-phone prices should be the same. If the prices differ, it is only safer to halt the contracting for the service. It is most likely that the locksmith has intentions of defrauding you money or the company you contacted has sent a different person who is likely to be a fraudster.

    Ensure the vehicle is marked

    Mostly, legitimate locksmiths will use clearly labeled vehicles such as company names and labels. If the locksmith arrives in your home or the site with unmarked vehicle, do not trust them as they are likely to be illegitimate.

    Do not allow replacing or drilling of the lock

    If the person insists that they drill or replace the lock, it is safer to look for another locksmith service provider. A legitimate and a highly experienced locksmith will have the tools and the skills required to perform the task and can effectively unlock any type of door.

    If the above mentioned tips are well observed, this means that you are less likely to fall trap of locksmith scam. Being on the lookout will help you to easily identify some of these behaviors that are used by illegitimate locksmith companies or individuals.

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  • Preventive Steps in Home Security

    Posted on February 20th, 2015 0 Comments

    Chicago Locksmiths security blog

    Your home is supposed to be a place of safety and refuge. Yet an alarming rise in home invasion robberies around the country is leading many homeowners to believe safety and security is an illusion. It doesn’t have to be, if you’re willing to come to terms with reality and do something about it.

    It’s difficult to say for certain how prevalent home invasion robberies are as compared to residential burglaries. This is primarily due to the fact that FBI crime statistics don’t differentiate between the two. Nonetheless, a home invasion is inherently more dangerous because of the tendency of the perpetrators to use violent force.

     

    Understand the Enemy

    The power behind the home invasion is intimidation. In other words, home invaders act quickly and violently in order to instill fear in the hearts and minds of their victims. This fear enables them to do as they please once inside. Often times occupants are tied up or otherwise incapacitated, allowing the perpetrators to take their time going through the home. They can steal jewelry, electronics, credit cards, cash and anything else they believe is valuable.

    The first step in preventing home invasion is understanding the intimidation factor. Never open your door to anyone who might pose a potential threat. This gives you the upper hand and prevents potential invaders from assuming you are already frightened. If you decide to speak to a potential intruder, be firm and confident.

    Understanding your enemy also means knowing why you might be targeted. Most home invasions are not random; criminals come to your home because they’re looking for something. This means you need to be diligent about protecting your privacy. Be aware that the car you drive, the clothes you wear, the way you carry yourself and the way you communicate tells criminals a lot about you. Be private and carry yourself with confidence.

     

    Preventing Entry

    Home invaders use intimidation to subdue their victims; they use violent force to enter a home. To prevent such entries, you should start by installing double key, deadbolt locks in all first-floor doors. Also be sure to use four-screw strike plates as they make it more difficult for intruders to kick your door in. Solid core and steel doors are another good line of defense against home invasion.

    The reality of home invasion is an unfortunate part of the modern world. Learn how to protect yourself and your family.

     

    Key Preventive Steps in Home Security

        Install solid core doors, heavy duty locks, and window security devices
        Lock all doors, windows, and garages at all times
        Use the door peephole BEFORE opening the door
        Use four three-inch screws to secure heavy duty lock strike plates in the door frame
        Use your porch light to help you to see clearly outside
        Never rely on a chain-latch as a barrier to partially open the door
        Never open the door to strangers or solicitors
        Call the police if the stranger acts suspicious
        Alert your neighbors to suspicious solicitors
        Hold a family meeting to discuss home security plans
        Set the home perimeter alarm at night, if you have one

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  • ENTR Smart Lock by Mul-T-Lock

    Posted on February 16th, 2015 0 Comments

    Entr Blog Chicago Locksmihs

     

    New on the market is the Mul-T-Lock’s ENTR smart lock. It has the versatility to please every security conscious homeowner. We have put together a few tips for Chicago residents to get the most out of the Entr Smart Lock.

     

     

    Biometrics for the entire Family

    Everyone who actually lives in the home should be able to take advantage of the biometric entry system to allow access, regardless of whether they have a key or code. The biometric feature can be considered a replacement for a spare key hidden nearby – one without the risk of an intruder discovering the key and using it to access the home. Also, as a convenience mechanism, this feature frees other family members from the need to rush home in the event that someone is stranded outside. Upon installation, one of the first priorities should be ensuring that every family member who needs access is programmed into the lock and able to use the biometric scanner to gain access.

     

     

    Let Traditionalists Be Traditional

    Some people are simply adverse to technology. Most of us have met people who refuse to use common electronics like cell phones because the very idea of being in close contact with something they don’t understand makes them uncomfortable. For these people, the key or remote control key fob is probably the best option. While the lock should still be programmed into the biometric system for emergencies, having an actual key for everyday use can go a long way toward making them happy with the entry system.

     

    Use Temporary Codes for Temporary Access

    In situations where someone will have authorization to enter the home temporarily, like a cleaning person or contractor, being able to give them a code to do so is a terrific convenience. The temptation is to create a generic code to give to any such persons. This is a mistake that defeats the purpose of having a programmable lock. The danger when handing over a physical key is that someone could keep a copy after no longer being authorized to enter the home. Having an active code is no different from having a copy of the key. Unless you would feel comfortable handing over a key to someone and letting them keep it forever, delete access codes for these people as soon as they have no further business using it.

     

    Someone Needs a Real Key

    Even in a situation where everyone prefers to use the electronic entry methods to enter the home, at least one person in the family should keep an actual key handy. Things over which we have no control sometimes occur. Suppose a vandal targets the home and takes his primitive pleasure in bashing the lock with a stone – the most likely part of the lock to survive this mistreatment is probably the mechanical locking mechanism.

    By following these tips, the ENTR Smart Lock can be a boon to both the security and convenience of any family.

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