The story goes, that in the early 1800s, the British Crown offered a substantial sum to whoever could build an "unpickable" lock. Jeremiah Chubb patented a lock and won the prize. Later, his son, John, and his brother, Charles, improved the design. This was the "unpickable" lock, until in 1851, Alfred C. Hobbs, an American, picked the lock in half an hour. Hobbs was not a burglar; he was a locksmith participating in a competition. The talented Mr. Hobbs was also the first person to pick the Bramah lock, which was an amazing feat. Hobbs' lock-picking successes sparked a series of improvements in the design and engineering of locks. It is somewhat ironic that the best way to improve locks is by destroying their purpose. Luckily, there have been, and currently are, honest, talented and smart individuals like Mr. Hobbs who provide locksmith services and improve the offerings of our profession. If you find this story interesting, I suggest you consider reading Locks and Safes: The Construction of Locks by Alfred C. Hobbs and edited by Charles Tomlinson in 1868.
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