The 17th Century “Smart Lock” That Would Amaze Any Modern Thief

Keyless locks, fingerprint authentication, and voice recognition passcodes are just a few examples of how far the security industry has come over the years. However, while it’s true that technology and locksmith services have been rapidly developing to satisfy the increasing need for home safety, not everything we see in the market is new.

As a matter of fact, the locks from where today’s smart locks were inspired can be traced back to circa 1680 locks, and one of them is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Orlando locksmith believes that British locksmith John Wilkes made the first smart lock in Birmingham, England, more than three centuries ago.

The device was named the “Detector Lock” and even though it was invented in the 17th century the clever mechanics and details of this lock would stump most of today’s burglars. The craftsmanship and attention to details of John Wilkes when designing the detector lock are beyond impressive.

This bolt was usually used on the door of private closets to protect expensive valuables. It was also used on the doors of rooms where important meetings were held.

Style and functionality

The design and functionality on this bolt are intertwined beautifully into a masterpiece that is both aesthetically appealing and secure. Wilkes design was made of brass and engraved steel.

The lock cover has an image of a soldier holding a pointer embossed exquisitely on the lock cover with the soldier’s leg concealing the keyhole. The leg operates on a pivot and swings forward to reveal the keyhole on the press of a button.

A vanguard security features

Many features of the detector lock were thought to mislead potential thieves and make entry difficult to those who wanted to gain access to unauthorized areas.

The detector lock has a two-factor security system; a mechanism meant to provide double protection. By tilting the man’s hat on the cover, the door bolt is released to secure the lock. When turned inside the keyhole, the key activates both of the lock pins completely securing the lock. If this action is followed by turning the knob, you can open the lock.

Monitoring access?

monitoring access

Modern locks provide remote access and real-time alerts which makes it convenient for homeowners to keep an eye on their property while away. Like today’s locks, three hundred years ago, people wanted to know what was going on at home in their absence.

Even though Wilke’s lock model can’t be compared to today’s locks, this lock has a sophisticated feature that addresses the need of monitoring and it is by far the most intriguing feature of the smart detector lock.

The reason is called detector lock is because by using a rotating disk it counts each time the device is unlocked. This numbered disk has a pointer that indicates the number of times a door had been opened in their absence. Once the counter reached 100 dials, a tiny button on the lock would reset the counter.

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