Patent locks and keys, Randolph Douglas

Contributed by Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

Patented locks and keys from the 19th century as displayed by Randolph Douglas c Derbyshire County Council

People want to keep possessions safe, so locksmiths like Chubb came up with ingenious solutions to beat the thievesThese locks were originally displayed by Randolph Douglas in his own museum, the House of Wonders. A friend of Harry Houdini, Douglas was a skilled locksmith. He amassed a big collection of locks, keys and restraints. This case contains patented locks by Joseph Bramah, Odell and Strutt, made between 1784 and 1852. The Chubb locks include detector padlocks and a combination latch; the Parson balance lever lock is the first made entirely by machinery. There were locks even in ancient Egypt; in Georgian times even the middle classes in England were keen to keep their homes and possessions safe from housebreakers. Locksmiths met the challenge with ingenious latches, wards and even alarms within the confine of the lock, applying extraordinary skill in metal working and technical ability to overcome security problems, a forerunner of the modern security we apply in our lives. Indeed, Chubb locks are still a standard of security.

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  • 1. At 12:03 on 28 December 2010, LocksmithBristol wrote:

    It's a shame that the Chubb name is disappearing from our locks, to be replaced in the main by Union. Fortunately the locks themselves will remain unchanged, but it is confusing enough for locksmiths, let alone the public!

    There is still plenty of innovation in modern locksmithing; the era of 'Security by Obscurity' is rapidly coming to an end, thanks in great part to the internet, with new tools and techniques being developed to exploit the weaknesses of common locks.

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  • 2. At 16:09 on 7 January 2011, Victuallers wrote:

    Find out more about Randolf Douglas and his friendship with Houdini

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  • 3. At 16:09 on 7 January 2011, Victuallers wrote:

    Biography of the locks owner -

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1784 to 1852


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