Locksmithing Yesterday and Today

Jan. 2, 2018
This is an exciting era for locksmiths who keep abreast of the technological advances and change their job descriptions to match the times.

People living in the 1800's surely thought inventions such as horse-drawn wagons, steam engines and kerosene lanterns would never be improved upon. Likewise, as a newbie locksmith years ago it seemed to me that key-operated ignition locks, pot-style door closers and change combination jobs would always be there. Once installation and repair techniques were learned for existing security products, locksmiths expected to be set for life. In those days locksmiths owned the security business. Words such as security and locksmith were synonymous.

So what happened? Vehicles with gasoline motors replaced horse drawn wagons. If a car is not in use it does not have to be fed. Noisy, noxious steam engines for trains were replaced by less objectionable diesel engines. Trains were then superseded by airplane travel. A Thomas Edison invention of usable light bulbs signaled the emergence of electricity. As a result, the evolution of inventions caused many job descriptions to disappear while completely new job types took their place.

Locksmithing is no different. Door closer repair business I once depended on for a majority of my income has disappeared. Normal wear and tear usage caused auto locks of yesterday to require occasional servicing. Electronic automotive lock systems of today have no moving parts, thus less servicing is normally required. The list goes on.

Discard and Replace is the new mantra. Customers have grown to expect that new products will have new features. As older products fail customers often prefer replacement over repair.

While locksmith businesses remain the leading consumer destination for traditional procedures such as key duplication or lockouts, parallel business segments have moved into the sale of new security products. This is an exciting time to be in the security business but only if you keep abreast of the developments and change your job description to match the times.