This short article gives an insight into the secretive world of locksmithing and what the profession is all about.
Locksmithing is one of the world’s oldest professions; the earliest locks as we know them today date back to ancient Egypt – these were constructed mostly of wood or stone.
Locksmiths used to be responsible for creating locks; hence why the word ‘smith’ is in the title, as a ‘smith’ normally creates something – nowadays lock creation is mostly a machined and automated manufacturing process, so the role of a locksmith became more of a professional who opens, services, replaces and fits locks. Key cutting also forms part of the role.
Most locksmiths start out as general locksmiths. General locksmiths take care of your common residential and commercial needs and requirements. Some locksmiths also service cars, these locksmiths are otherwise known as ‘auto-locksmiths.’ Most auto-locksmiths are specialised, as car locksmithing is almost a whole new profession in its own right. Some locksmiths are full time employees of a security company, and provide services to private clients.
Another interesting facet of locksmithing is safe opening, safe installation and servicing – which some general locksmiths tend to on the side of their main source of work. Some do however specialise in safes. A safe engineer is a pure safe specialist, however many have experience working as a locksmith.
Mobile locksmiths are locksmiths who offer services to a customer at their location or address. Shop based locksmiths usually work 9 -5 and provide key cutting, high security key cutting and other security products such as CCTV, access control etc, they sometimes offer an emergency locksmith service out of hours to boost up their income.
A common misconception is that a locksmith does not install new locks, and this type of work is more suited to a handyman or joiner. Well the reality is that this service more often than not falls to the locksmith, as the handyman or joiner rarely supply the lock and are not often available on a 24-hour basis. Not discrediting either of these trades, but most general locksmiths are well versed in lock installations of many types.
Lock picking is probably the most well known locksmith skill – when people think locksmith, they think lock picking – It does form a fundamental part of locksmithing, and most general locksmiths should be well versed in lock picking and should be able to gain entry without damaging property. Good practise is that a locksmith should attempt all non-destructive avenues of entry before resorting to drilling or destructive methods.
Overall, the locksmith trade has good and bad eggs operating, just like all occupations. The key is to check if the locksmith company /locksmith you are dealing with value their reputation and service to their customers. They should be based local to you and the company should display their information in a professional and easily understandable manner.
Hopefully this short article has given a bit of insight into what the trade is all about, thank you for reading.
Luke Ettorre – Director and Emergency / General Locksmith