Locksmithing is a trade that was established in the time of ancient Egypt. It has been in existence for over 2500 years, and it’s one of those trades which have never gone out of fashion. From the time when locks were made out of wood to now, where they are made with metals like brass, steel, or aluminum; from using standard keys to using advanced digital systems – from being just an occupation to becoming an art form- there is no end to how far locksmithing can go.
Locksmiths are often unheard of, but Harry Houdini used to be a locksmith who managed to make a name for himself. He began his career as a locksmith in London and quickly became fascinated with magic tricks. As he learned more about locks, he realized that many people were making them too easily accessible because they wanted to show off their skills. So, Harry created increasingly tricky puzzles and illusions that would require manipulating locks hidden in boxes or under jackets. He even made an elephant disappear during one performance!
Many of us have never heard the name Houdini or any other locksmith; that is because this industry does not bring fame.
But his legacy lives on in Iron Maiden and many locks today, which were designed to withstand lockpicking, thanks to Harry Houdini.
Born in 1874, Ehrich (later known as Houdini) emigrated to America and settled in New York City at 9.
It can be easy to gloss over the importance of an unknown locksmith, but if you’ve seen Harry Houdini or Charlie Chaplin during their performances on the big screen—we bet that would make you a little more appreciative.
- confined spaces,
- locked containers.
One of his secrets was the uncanny skill of maneuvering locks and picking any system. An early age apprenticeship partly explained the agility he possessed at a local locksmith.
This is because, with the help of numerous locksmiths, Houdini eventually found he could not only escape from handcuffs and jail cells but also create clever methods to outsmart buildings’ most advanced lock designs.
One of the locksmithing challenges was Nathaniel Hart, a Birmingham lock virtuoso who spent five years crafting an unbreakable lock. Like many other locksmiths, ‘William’ Hart was determined to find a way in which Houdini couldn’t escape.
Harry Houdini is one of the most famous locksmiths in history. Historians have documented his work with lockpicking and safecracking throughout his career, which began at a young age. It was not uncommon for him to accept challenges from local police and military officials to demonstrate how easily he could get past their security systems without breaking or damaging anything in the process. We hope you have enjoyed this brief look into some of our favorite historical figures who were also skilled locksmiths!