In the sci-fi blockbuster trilogy, Matrix, there is a character on the lines of a professional locksmith called the Key Maker who assists Neo by opening doors that determine the future of the matrix system. This reel life take on a locksmith is quite true to the importance of such a job profile in the real world. An expert at the art of making and breaking locks, a professional locksmith is an indispensable skilled expert in any society or community. Technology may have changed the way locks function and look, but the role of a professional locksmith has remained pivotal from the inception of civilization.
The most ancient locking system lock can to be traced back to the Egyptian civilization that existed 4,000 year ago. The first lock and key system was discovered during the reign of Emperor Sargon II in the year 704 BC. The term ‘smith’ in locksmith refers to the one involved in shaping metal to create useful objects or to be part of a more complex structure. The terminology locksmithing is used to define the process of assembling and designing locks, locking systems and their respective keys.
Historically, professional locksmiths have been involved in the design, development and manufacture of locks and their respective keys and job orders could range include personal locks, house security locks, automobile locking systems and major locking solutions for big organizations. But with advancement in technology and industrialization each aspect of a professional locksmith’s job profile has become a specialization. For instance, small and personal locks are manufactured through mass production through assembly line production systems. Today, professional locksmiths are of two types; Neighborhood locksmiths who handle household or personal or small time security concerns.
Professional locksmiths who because of exceptional workmanship or family heritage have established specialized organization that provides locking systems and solutions to big companies and corporations like banks and other financial institutions. The evolution of locksmithing has led to the introduction of educational courses that teach the art of locksmithing and certify professional locksmiths. This once hereditary profession which determined caste and class is now a well structured subject that imparts the skill set required for locksmithing to anyone interested in becoming professional locksmiths.
Technology has played an important role in the evolution of the lock and key industry. Most locks today function electronically had use unique mediums as keys. Use of a pin number to unlock an electronic lock is quite common nowadays. The use of biometrics is slowly becoming popular when it comes to new-age locking systems and solutions. Thumb impressions, voice recognition, face recognition, eye check are now popular ways of the new-age locking system.
Technology and innovation may have changed the way lock and keys are perceived, But next time anyone wants to make or break a lock, the first person to be called would be a professional locksmith.