Top Security Figures of History

There’s been many influential security and lock related figures throughout the storybook of collective history – with some rising high above others. Here’s a guide, as prepared by the professional locksmith experts at SOS, to the key historical figures who revolutionized security.

Linus Yale Junior

Linus Yale Jr. invented the pin tumbler lock – a relative of the family famed in the eponymous university, Linus Yale Jr. invented a lock shop in New York City in the mid 19th century, and invented the first design for a modern pin tumbler cylinder lock.

Robert Barron

This figure invented the double acting lever lock in the late 18th century. This changed the trend of warded locks to locks being paired with unique keys. The first lever lock design involved insertion of akey that lifted an internal lever – and this lock first started in a single levered variety that was then improved on and doubled.

Abraham O Stansbury

The first patenter of the double acting pin tumbler lock, before Yale’s patent – which he called the “Egyptian Lock,” and was apparently based off records about locking devices used in ancient Egypt. His patent would become the inspiration and basis of Yale’s invention of the pin tumbler lock.

Joseph Bramah

This inventor created the hydraulic press, and pointed out a structural issue with Barron’s lever lock, leading Barron to double it. Bramah did, however, invent his own type of lock which is similar to current tubular locks with sliders, like car locks.

Jeremiah Chubb

This inventor created a lock that detects if there’s been an illegal open attempt. It’s a lever lock with double acting levers, but if the levers are elevated too high of a distance, they will lock in place and make it impossible for even the right key to use the lock. It can only be reset through a special secondary key – and is the first type of resettable detector lock.

Alfred Charles Hobbs

Hobbs first picked the new Bramah lock through a competition, and proved that these locks were pickable after all. His efforts cemented the fact that all locks are pickable in some way, through technical subversion of the lock’s mechanism.

Vivant Denon

This historical researcher figured out the ancient Egyptian lock methodology that would prove to be the basis of Stansbury original patents for the Egyptian lock. Denon was a famous historical figure, being the first ever director of France’s Louvre museum, appointed directly by Napoleon Bonaparte.

Henry Robinson Towne

Partner of Linus Yale Jr. in the Yale and Towne Lock Company, this figure helped make Yale the influential name it locks that it is today. He heavily criticized many of the in vogue locks of his time, and stressed the fact that all locks are somewhat pickable. His critical eye and mine helped make Yale’s products even more powerful.

James Sargent

A sales representative for the Yale and Greenleaf company, James Sargent ended up manufacturing one of the best safe combination dials of his time, the Magnet Bank Lock. When Yale and Greenleaf broke up in the American Civil War, Sargent continued working on his combination dials, innovating the form and creating the best time locks of his day – and future days.

Marc Weber Tobias

This contemporary figure utilized his skills as an investigative attorney specializing in technical fraud and helped expose many of the flaws and weaknesses of Medeco locks, allowing the company to help improve their products. He’s a major figure in the lock/security industry, and his expertise helps foster change and innovation among manufacturers.


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