The Men of Locksmithing History

Locksmithing is seen as an important craft even in the ancient times when hard-working locksmiths spent a great deal of time doing file work and shaping screws to make a functional lock and key.

Innovation in Locksmithing started in 1778 when Robert Barron patented a double-acting tumbler lock; another man, Joseph Bramah, made a great contribution to  the industry by creating the Bramah lock which remained unpickable for 67 years.

James Sargent, another notable locksmith, invented the key-changeable combination lock in 1857, and his invention became the prototype of contemporary bank vaults.

Other noteworthy locksmiths are Jeremiah Chubb, Samuel Segal, Harry Soref, and who would forget the father and son locksmiths, Linus Yale Sr. and Jr., whose last name became a household name for locks.

  • Jeremiah Chubb patented his detector lock in 1818. It won him the reward offered by the  Government for a lock which could not be opened by any but its own key.
  • James Sargent described the first successful key-changeable combination lock in 1857. His  lock became popular with safe manufacturers and the United States Treasury Department. In 1873, he patented a time lock mechanism, the prototype for those used in contemporary bank  vaults.
  • Samuel Segal invented the first jemmy-proof locks in 1916.
  • Harry Soref founded the Master Lock Company in 1921 and patented an improved padlock in  1924 with a patent lock casing constructed out of laminated steel.
  • Linus Yale, Sr. invented a pin tumbler lock in 1848.
  • Linus Yale, Jr. improved upon his father’s lock in 1861, using a smaller, flat key with serrated  edges that is the basis of modern pin-tumbler locks. Yale developed the modern combination lock in 1862.


  • Locksmithing is not just exclusive to the western world in ancient times. Artifacts from Asia, specifically in China, that dates back to early 20th century proves that locksmithing is a trade known all over the world.
  • Locksmithing today is easier because of the advancement of technology; however, criminals are also getting more creative in their ways.

Locksmiths in history have labored for long hours to provide us the best lock products and solutions that we are thankful for in this age. Today’s locksmiths are doing the same to ensure that our cars, homes, and offices have the maximum protection. Seek the advice of an expert locksmith, contact Value Locksmith.

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