The history of lock picking

Ever since locks were invented, people have been trying to pick them. It sounds obvious – yet in a way it is important to remember this when we talk about security.

Earlier this year Smartfrog heard an interesting podcast by American PRX podcast 99% Invisible, which explored the history of lock picking. Naturally this piqued our interest! Reportedly the ancient Egyptians made the earliest known locks, while the ancient Romans then developed a more sophisticated lock system: ‘warded locks’.

Roman Mars from 99% Invisible said there was a time in the 1800s when there was such a thing as ‘perfect security’. There were chests and locks that nobody – not even the most revered of locksmiths and lock pickers – could break into. One such lock, which was famously invented by British engineer Joseph Bramah in 1785 even attracted the attention of the British Government, who called out for a lock to be developed that provided impenetrable security as well as an alert system if somebody tried to break in.

The kind of lock that was then developed was one that seized up if an intruder tried to pick it. However since the average front door lock does not include such a complex vault-like mechanism, an extra layer of security is always recommended.

While this 18th century idea of ‘perfect security’ is now known to be false, and not everybody has the kind of vault system used to guard the Crown Jewels, we at Smartfrog do believe that securing and protecting your home or business need not be difficult or expensive. Taking precautions to ensure your locks are in good shape, and installing a security system like the Smartfrog solution to monitor and alert upon detection of intruders, you can sleep soundly and securely.