Famous Locksmiths

Throughout history, there have been a few locksmiths that left their mark in the industry.

Robert Barron

He is credited for making the first major security improvement over the warded locks in England. He patented the first double-acting tumbler lock in 1778.

Joseph Bramah
He was from England. He wrote "A Dissertation on the Construction of Locks". This dissertation exposed the many weaknesses of so-called thief proof locks as many of them could be picked by a good specialist or criminal with some training in locks and keys. He patented a barrel-shaped lock that was the first to use the rotating element in the lock itself in 1798.

Jeremiah Chubb
In 1817, the British Crown offered a reward to anyone who could make an unpickable lock. In 1818, he patented his lock and won the prize. His lock had many improvements over Barron�s lock. Jeremiah�s lock was further improved by his brother, Charles Chubb and Charles� son, John Chubb in several ways. The lock was considered unpickable until it was picked open in 1851 at the International Industrial Exhibition in London by an American locksmith, Alfred C. Hobbs. He picked open both the Bramah lock and the Chubb lock in less than half an hour.

Abraham O. Stansbury
He was an American physician. In 1805, he was granted an English patent for a pin tumbler lock that was based on the principles of both the Egyptian and Bramah locks. The lock design was granted the first lock patent by the US Patent and Trademark office in 1807.

Blake Brothers
The three American Blake brothers were granted a patent for a unique door latch that had two connecting door knobs in 1833. They formed Blake Brothers Lock Company in 1834.

Solomon Andrews
This New Jersey locksmith developed a lock that had adjustable tumblers and keys, which allowed the owner to re-key the lock anytime in 1836.

Andrews and Newell
These two American inventors were granted patents on an important new feature in the lock design � removable tumblers that could be disassembled and scrambled in 1850s.

A. C. Hobbs
He patented "Protector" locks. This locked was picked in 1854 by one of Chubb�s locksmiths.

Linus Yale, Sr.
He lived in Middletown, Connecticut. He patented his "Quadruplex" bank lock in 1844. In 1848, Yale patented another pin tumbler design based on the Egyptian and the Bramah locks. His son improved on the lock designs.

Linus Yale, Jr.
Son of Linus Yale, Sr. is credited for the most important modern lock development in the history. He was a mechanical engineer and lock manufacturer. He improved upon his father�s lock designs using a smaller flat key with serrated edges that are the basis of modern pin-tumbler locks. Yale Mortise Cylinder Lock, U.S patent 48,475 was issued on June 27, 1865 to Linus Yale, Jr.

Samuel Segal
A former New York City police officer invented the "jimmy proof rim lock" or "interlocking deadbolt" in 1916. He holds over 25 patents.

Frank E. Best
He received his first patent for an interchangeable core lock in 1920.

Roy C. Spain
He and his team introduced the Medeco high-security cylinder in 1967. This lock was picked by Bob McDermott, a New York City police detective in 1972. In 1988, his company received a new patent for "biaxial" key blanks.

Reference: Phillips, Bill; The Complete Book of Locks and Locksmithing, fifth edition, McGraw Hill, 2001
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