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09 April

History of locks, part 5

Well here we are. In his poem, The Waste Land, T.S Eliot wrote that April was the cruellest month. That was clearly before he realised that in 2016, April would see the fifth and final of my blog miniseries on the history of locks. If someone had also told him that the previous four were still all available on this site, so that after today he could binge-read all five in a row to his heart's content, well, I think he'd have changed his tune and declared another month the cruellest. Perhaps January - that's never the best, and we were only two fifths of the way through our lock history back then. 

Anyway, that unnecessary preamble leads on to the final of this particular set on blogs. We have previously looked at Ancient Egyptian and Ancient Roman locks, the locks of Robert Barron and Jermiah Chubb; and last month we looked at the contribution made by Yorkshire-born Joseph Bramah. This month however, we'll cross the Atlantic and look at possibly *the* most famous name in modern lock history, and a name synonymous with locks today - Yale.

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06 March

History of locks, part 4

Well, if you disregard the snow we've had today and the fact the temperatures have gone oddly Siberian,  it seems that spring is just around the corner. As well as the arrival of daffodils and lambs, this means the arrival of the fourth of my blogs casting a glance at the history of lock development - I imagine they'll give each arrival equal time on Springwatch. As ever, if you need to catch up on the story so far, the first three are still up on this site if you fancy a Netflix-style binge read. You will find less crystal meth here, reassuringly.

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07 February

History of locks, part 3

Well hello again, fancy seeing you here. It's February which means Valentine's Day is on the horizon. I admit this doesn't massively impact on my work as a locksmith unless I get a call-out to romantics who are experimenting with handcuffs for Valentine's Day and have found themselves chained to a bedpost in flagrante. And if you think I came up with that hypothetical story purely to try and increase the number of visits to this blog via dubious Google searches, you'd be entirely correct. (Apologies if you've come here expecting some 50 Shades of Grey style action, that'll have to wait for another day). 

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10 January

History of locks, part 2

Happy New Year everyone. Now the festive period is safely out of the way, the tree's in the attic for another year, the bin collections are back to normal, and that last mince pie is going stale in the cupboard, it's time for a real treat. Yup, it's the second in our series looking at the history of locks. You'll remember of course that we started this in December with the first part, and I thought I'd respect tradition in following up with part two - after all, best not confusing things this early in the year. 

I could now do a brief catch up of the story so far, as the BBC no doubt do with their adaptation of War and Peace. However, you'll be pleased to know the story of locks won't last *quite* as long as Tolstoy's epic, and there's certainly less Russian names to get your head around. Plus, of course, I'm assuming that you've thought of little else over the last month anyway, other than the information I gave last month about Ancient Egyptian locks. It probably even distracted you from the Christmas edition of Downton Abbey, but there's no need to thank me, really.

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13 December

The beginnings of locks

The Ancient Egyptians, hey? What did they ever do for us? Well actually they did a Pharoah amount when you really Sphinx about it, and I’m not just talking about the terrible puns they enabled to occur in this sentence which I’m sure you’re already (King) Tutting about. Sorry, I’ve finished now, Mummy’s the word. 

But anyway, they did A LOT. As well as the Pyramids, hieroglyphics, Mathematics, and even toothpaste; one of the Ancient Egyptians’ most exciting inventions from my point of view was the humble lock. Yes, next time you turn your key in your front door, secure your bike outside the shops, or lock your car in the multi-storey, spare a thought for  the ancient Egyptian inventors who, it is believed, came up with the very first example of a lock, created around 4,000BC. 

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15 November

Rotherham locksmith advice on social media

If you've been following my blogs for a while (and if you have you probably deserve some sort of medal) then you're realise that the main topics I cover have been those relating to the security of property - doors and windows, locks and fittings and what not. That's pretty much a no brainer, of course, what with me being a locksmith - after all, a blog concerning the life cycle of a butterfly would probably have raised eyebrows. I won't be quite going that far today as lepidopterology isn't quite my thing, but I will be veering a little away from my usual path as today I talk about online security. 

Following the recent Talk Talk data hacking, online security has been much in the news, but the topic I'm addressing is that of social media and what we share on sites such as Twitter and Facebook.  Fear not though, I won't be going too deep into the technological stuff - the only geekery in my life is lock-related, and I can barely differentiate between a terabyte and a terrapin, other than to know you'd rather the former dwelt in your laptop than the latter. 

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12 October

Rotherham security advice

I don't know about you, but I've been enjoying the series of poetry programmes on the BBC recently. Yes, really! Just because I'm a locksmith it doesn't mean I'm not allowed to like poetry, y'know - don't judge a book (or poetry anthology) by its cover!

Anyway, the programmes got me thinking about poetry related to this time of year. There is of course the famous mists and mellow fruitiness of Ode to Autumn by John Keats, for which I, as a renaissance locksmith obviously have a soft spot because the author's name sounds rather similar to  keys. But moving on, another of my recommendations is Autumn Song by Dante Gabriel Rossetti  I find the whole poem really quite evocative, full of metaphor and meaning. Google the whole thing if you've never read it, but the first two lines go:

Know’st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the heart feels a languid grief

"Hang on," I can sense you're thinking. "Isn't this a locksmith blog? If I wanted poetry I'd switch on chuffing  Radio 4." Well wait a second, I'm getting there. Because I'll now seamlessly (or not so seamlessly) segue to the subject at hand - Autumn, and more specifically the more unsavoury aspects it brings. To illustrate, I'll dreadfully mangle Rossetti's first two lines above to the following:

Know'st thou not that the sound of a thief                                                                      Will cause a household misery and grief.                                                                          

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19 July

Security advice for garden sheds

Like me, you've probably noticed an odd phenomenon the last few weeks. A burning ball of fire has appeared in the sky, the garden frost has disappeared, and central heating systems throughout the region have mysteriously been deactivated whilst a whole range of scarves and gloves have disappeared into hibernation for the next two months. Yes, whisper it quietly but an actual British summer has emerged. 

However, as well as the reduced heating costs, daydreams of holidays, and evenings spent in the garden sledging the Aussies as you listen to the Ashes, the summer does unfortunately herald some not so welcome happenings. And I'm not just talking about the topless men in ASDA sweating over the fruit and vegetables. (STOP doing that by the way, and put on a shirt). 

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17 May

Avoid becoming a victim of a Rotherham burglary

Flicking through the local news sites this week, a story in the Rotherham Advertiser caught my eye. It described a recent case at the Magistrate's court which saw a man charged with carrying out three burglaries in Doncaster on the same day - one at a property in Brinsworth and two in Herringthorpe.

Now, whilst I rather enjoy kicking back to the strains of Crowded House's Four Seasons in One Day, Three Burglaries in One Day is a far less appealing prospect. Reports such as these immediately cause my blood pressure to spike, not only due to the usual human empathetic reaction we all feel, but also because I see at first hand the effects that these burglaries have on the victims. 

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10 April

What do locksmiths do?

We're rapidly approaching the Easter period so here's your theological starter for ten - Who is the patron saint of locksmiths? Yes, there is one, honestly. If you buzzed in and said St Peter then I'm afraid you've lost ten points. He may be the doorman at the gates of heaven, ticking you off his list, or ticking you off and sending you away, but if he has any problems with the blessed locks sticking or snapping, that's well above his pay grade.

In this instance he'd have to call upon the services of the actual patron saint of locksmiths who, as I'm sure we all knew, is St Baldomerus. Old Baldo (as he was almost certainly known amongst his social circle) was a French monk of the 7th Century who was a locksmith by trade before being called from above to devote his life to prayer and contemplation.

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