The following advertisement taken in 1953
Vehicles from ERA that A-1 Raiche Locksmith opened there doors
Proudly Serving the Kankakee Community
History of locks
known lock was found by archeologists in the Khorsabad palace ruins near
Nineveh. The lock was estimated to be 4,000 years old. It was a forerunner to a
pin tumbler type of lock, and a common Egyptian lock for the time. This lock
worked using a large wooden bolt to secure a door, which had a slot with several
holes in its upper surface. The holes were filled with wooden pegs that
prevented the bolt from being opened.
A brief history of locks in America
In even the earliest
buildings, locks were used to protect possessions. A great many of them
consisted of just a wooden bar mounted on iron brackets. The only thing that
has not changed over the centuries is that whatever you lock up, someone else
will try to open. This is well illustrated by the epitaph on a New England
An ancient locksmith died of late, and
did arrive at Heaven's gate; He stood without, and wouldn't knock, because he
meant to pick that lock!
During the period of the 18th
and 19th century many technical developments were made in the locking
mechanisms that added to the security of common locking devices. It was during
this period that America changed form importing door hardware to manufacturing
it and even exporting some. New applications for cast iron, brass and clay
completely changed the appearance of the locks that could be bought. The
development through the years of locking devices was carried out by hundreds of
individuals all over the world. To put America's locks at a reasonable price
you must only realize that the Chinese had, in common use before the year 1000,
a strong, small lock, operated by a relatively easy to carry key. In the years
before dynamite was discovered in 1867, the key was everything. Without the key
a thief had little hope of opening a locked strongbox or door. For this reason
the shape of a key as well as number of wards cut into it were varied to meet
the needs of the material being protected. Blacksmiths in the Colonies made
many locks, as well as their other products. They could not keep up with the
demand for locks as the country expanded even though some specialized in just
lockmaking. These men were known as Whitesmiths as they filed and polished
their products, unlike the blacksmith who left the surface much as it came from
forge. Lockmaking required the skills common to the Blacksmith plus lathe
turning, spring tempering, rivet and screw making, precise fitting and hole
punching. Sometimes in the same shop, brass casting was done for the knobs and
escutcheons that were used. The First American iron works was erected at Sagus,
Mass in 1646. Brass Foundries and Iron furnaces, as they were called, such as
Hopewell, Isabella and Warwick Furnace all near our business in Chester County
Pennsylvania produced a multitude of common and specialized products. But like
the Whitesmith, the demand was greater that they could meet. It is for these
reasons that is safe to assume that over 80% of the Iron locks and more that 90%
of the Brass Locks used in this country before 1800 were imported.
Molded Edge locks produced in England
were popular with people of means for their main doors through the late 1700's
both here in America and in England. Just as the Dutch, German, Swedish,
English and French carpenters built houses of a type that they knew in their
homeland, so did the locksmith create locks that were familiar to him.
The plate latch is based on an English
pattern. There are many different latches designed by different countries, each
one unusual in it's own right. The Dutch elbow latch, the Moravian latch, the
French mortised locks with lever handles of brass and many more. Iron locks,
thumb latches, bar latches, key locks, stock locks, Carpenter patent locks and
other devices were used in great quantity.
On Carpenter locks, they were widely
used in the East and South and they were all made in England. The latching bar
that lifted through a brass rimmed keeper is the patented design and the patent
was issued in 1820.
In all there were about 20 companies
producing these locks, under license, from Carpenter. To confuse the historians
that like to have clear cut dates on everything, according to the noted Pa.
restoration architect, G. Edwim Brumbaugh, the house at Pottstown, PA known as
Pottsgrove Mansion was fitted with Carpenter Locks when it was built in the
1750's. It is strange to note that this lock as common as it is in this
country, is, as far as we know, completely absent in England. Could it be that
they were all made for export?
If a date were required to be set for
the ending of handcraftsmanship in locks, I would use 1840. This corresponds to
the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in this country, and is followed
closely by mass production. In 1831, Frederick T. Stanley established the first
factory for the manufacture of, not the making of, locks in New Britain Conn.
Others had at that time, produced items such as locks, hinges, bells, utensils,
nails, screws, and all the hundreds of things that are hard to find today. Mr.
Stanley's shop was set up only to make door locks. In the years to follow the
Stanley name, Frederick or his cousins William and Henry, were associated with
other now famous American lockmakers, including Seth North of North and Stanley;
Henry Russel of Russel and Erwin and Philip Corbin of P&F Corbin.
Between 1840 and 1900 patents were
issued by the hundreds to these men and others for improvements of locking
devices or decorative trim. The leader in the decorative hardware field, known
then as compression bronze, was Russell and Erwin. One of the most noticeable
developments of the period was the widely used Mineral knob in White, Bennington
brown and Black. These knobs were patented by John Pepper in 1851. Mr.
Cornelius Erwin of Russell and Erwin helped him form "The Mineral Knob Company"
to produce these knobs. These knobs were used on thousands of locks.
Corbin developed the unit lock, which
was installed by cutting a notch in the edge of the door, sliding the unit it
and fastening the trim on both sides. In 1833, J.A. Blake patented the
grandfather on the tubular lock of today. This was installed by drilling only
two holes into the door.
Walter R. Schlage of San Francisco was
awarded 11 patents for the development of the tubular lock. Mr. Linus Yale, his
son and employees added to the problems of would be thieves with the non-ending
stream of improved bank locks that they made.
Mr. Samuel Segal, former New York City
policeman, is credited for the first jimmy proof locks, and has over 25 patents
to prove that he didn't stop when he built the first one in 1916.