The art and science of making and breaking locks is carried out by locksmiths and the profession is known as locksmithing.
Sometimes, referred to as security engineering, a well established method of cracking locks and security systems was known as lock picking. The technology behind making locks has not changed since medieval times. The basic technology involves the ‘pin tumbler’ methodology. Therefore the role of the traditional locksmith has not changed much. However, with the advent of technology in general and digital and lasers, security systems have undergone a metamorphosis. It is only natural that today’s security engineer as he is known as is more adept with laser and computer or digital systems rather than the traditional lock.
In the olden days, a single locksmith would make a lock single handedly. Hours of work with use of files and hammer would produce a single lock. Today the method of manufacturing locks have changed. A same basic design is used with one part being unique to each lock. The role of the locksmith also has evolved where today he is more in repairs rather than manufacturing.
Though their role has reduced in the area of production, certain specialized segments such as family vaults remain the domain of the traditional locksmith. Since these are exclusively designed chances of duplication as in locks which are produced in an assembly line environment.
Locksmiths work out of commercial showrooms, they may be moving around in vehicles and do in-house servicing, employed by a company or forensic locksmiths whose job is to investigate burglaries and unearth evidence for investigations.
A new breed of security engineers or electronic lock servicing locksmiths has emerged. They would work for security companies and design the entire security systems working on access control. The locksmith would evaluate the level of security, the threats and design a security plan according to the threat level. The higher the security level the more expensive it becomes. The locksmith has to do a trade-off between cost and security level for the customer.
The profession of a locksmith has also become specialized. It is common to see locksmiths who deal exclusively on domestic locks and keys, automobile locks. Many have become security consultants. There are various certification levels that a locksmith can acquire today depending on his levels of skills, areas of expertise and experience.
Master locksmith is a term coined by the fraternity of locksmiths who claim to have all round skills. However, many countries now insist on certain Certification and registration requirements before the locksmith can use the tag of Master Locksmith.
With dwindling scope of work due to technological innovations such as digital locks, locksmiths now have increased their scope of work to door hardware, door and window frames, door hinges and electric strikes.
Some common terms used by locksmiths are: Bitting, Bolt stump, Change key, Key blank, Key code, Key origination, Key relevance, Locksmith,Maison key system, Master keying, Rekey, Shear line, Slim Jim (lock pick), Tension wrench, Tubular lock pick.
Recommended site for a professional Singapore Locksmith. Writing on emergency profession in Singapore.
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