Locksmithing

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Locksmithing began as the science and art of making and defeating locks. A lock is a mechanism that secures buildings, rooms, cabinets, objects, or other storage facilities. A key is often used to open a lock. Means of opening a lock may include a security token or two-factor authentication for greater security, such as requiring both something you know (a combination) and something you have (a key or keycard).

The oldest known lock was approximately 4,000 years old and was of Egyptian make. It was found in the ruins of the Emperor Sargon II's palace in Khorsabad. It used the same pin tumbler principle employed by many modern locks.[1]

Contents

Terminology

A "smith" of any type is one who shapes metal pieces, often using a forge or mould, into useful objects or to be part of a more complex structure. Locksmithing, as its name implies, is the assembly and designing of locks and their respective keys.

Work

Historically, locksmiths actually made the entire lock, working for hours hand cutting screws and doing much file-work. Today, the rise of cheap mass production means that this is no longer true, and, though a few expert locksmiths are also engineers and capable of sophisticated repairs and renovation work, the vast majority of locks are repaired by swapping of parts or like-for-like replacement, or upgraded to modern mass-production items. Until more recently, safes and strongboxes were the exception to this, and to this day large vaults are custom designed and built at great cost, as the cost of this is lower than the very limited scope for mass production would allow, and the risk of a copy being obtained and defeated as practice is removed.

Although fitting of keys to replace lost keys to automobiles and homes and the changing of keys for homes and businesses to maintain security are still an important part of locksmithing, locksmiths today are primarily involved in the installation of higher quality lock-sets and the design, implementation and management of keying and key control systems. Most locksmiths also do electronic lock servicing, such as making keys for transponder-equipped vehicles and the implementation and application of access control systems protecting individuals and assets for many large institutions.

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