You may only think about a locksmith when you have an emergency like being locked out of your house, but in fact, this is a profession that offers many services and has a long history. Locksmiths have been around for at least 4,000 years. Babylon and Ancient Egypt were among the first civilizations to have this profession.
The earliest locks were made of bulrush fibers braided into rope. Next came wooden locks that used a pin tumbler and a wooden key that pushed upwards. This type of lock has been found in multiple cultures including Egypt, China, Rome and Greece. In Rome, wearing a key as a ring was a status symbol that told everyone the wearer was wealthy enough to need things locked up.
Metal locks appeared around the 9th century, and their invention has been attributed to craftsmen in England. From those first simple metal locks, design became ornate and was influenced by Gothic and Renaissance design. Locksmiths were in great demand, and the best were known throughout Europe. Royal families hired them to design castle locks and other ornate locks.
The Industrial Revolution changed everything. Locks became something manufactured as part of mass production. Locksmiths lost their position as artisans, but locks, which had remained much the same in design for centuries, became more sophisticated from a mechanical standpoint. The result is the locksmiths we are familiar with today who are skilled in metallurgy, electronics, woodworking and more. They may work in security, investigations or other fields and are able to do far more than unlock your house in an emergency.
History of Locksmithing, historyofkeys.com
An Ancient Profession: The History Of Locksmithing, historycooperative.org
Locksmiths throughout history, onlinelocksmithcourse.com