A locksmith is someone who assembles and designs locks and keys for that locks. It is a very old profession, with the first lock being made in ancient Egypt some 4000 years ago. Ever since that lock there was an ever increasing need for the locksmith’s services.
First locksmiths used to make entire locks, including the keys, from zero. They could spend days on one and the same locks, hammering it away, forging springs, cutting screws, forging metal and doing most of the file work with their own hands. Mass production, however, made this sort of production obsolete and much easier for future locksmiths.
Today, locksmiths are not primarily concerned with securing and repairing locks per se but with the design of better locking mechanisms, which will make people’s homes, cars and possessions much safer. So today, locksmiths design technology that will be efficient enough to secure not just homes and cars, but also places where higher security is needed, like companies and banks.
They are also often called for many different tasks and their job varies today from designing new locks, repairing and opening them, to creating new keys and installing high security measures where required.
Mechanical locks as we know them are gradually giving way to the more advanced electronic locks. These locks offer even better protection and are more secure than their mechanical counterparts. They can be either magnetic, with a motor, electric strikes, electronic panic hardware or electric mortise. Today’s locksmith must be proficient enough to know how to operate these locks as well.
There is a lot of skill involved today so that one could be a good locksmith. He needs to combine the workmanship of a carpenter, mechanic, machinist, metallurgist and to be a proficient security expert. That is why locksmiths hone their skills throughout their careers. The training course for a locksmith last usually from 5 to 7 days, but it covers only the basic stuff that locksmiths need to know about their profession. A good locksmith shouldn’t stop at this and must accumulate new knowledge. The best way for him to do this is through the experience he will gain working. He should also follow the latest trends in security measures.
Locksmiths can be work out of a storefront, they could work out of their vehicle, employed by an institution or they could work as forensic experts and help police where needed. They also don’t have to be all-round as they can specialize in one aspect of their work. They could be safe technicians, car locksmiths, master key specialists...
A lot of countries demand that a locksmith should have a proper certificate before he can do his job. Although some do not, it is always better to hire the services of the locksmith who has these papers over the one who doesn’t if given the choice. Specialized locksmiths are also often required to have a further certification and they need to undergo yet more training then general locksmiths.