If you are not very familiar with famous locksmiths I’m not surprised! Most locksmiths just want to operate a reputable and profitable business! There are obviously famous locksmiths amongst the locksmith profession, who are known for the criminal skills they possess as lock pickers! As for famous serious locksmiths, none are really well known to the general public throughout the country.

Robert Barron

Schneider Locksmith in New York is famous in New York States, but this is a famous company, not a famous person.  A famous locksmith of years gone by was Robert Barron, an Englishman. He greatly improved the security of the lock itself when he invented the double tumbler lock in 1778.

lever tumbler lockA tumbler lock uses levers to trap the bolt in the lock. The double tumbler locks require the lever to be lifted by a given amount to allow the bolt to slide past due to a slot in the lever. This lock is still in use in the present day.

A lever lock normally uses a bitted key.  The bit is the part of the key that actually engages with the lock’s locking mechanism.Lever_lock_key_parts.svg


Jeremiah Chubb

Jeremiah Chubb, another Englishman, patented a detector lock in 1818. This  lock had six levers and won him fame and some fortune!

chubb lockChubb lock

Locks used to be made out of wood. They have frustrated, confused, confounded and amazed people ever since. Locks have made people and their companies rich and made billions of people safe and secure. Locks have changed a great deal over the last 200 years or so!

Harry Houdini

An extremely famous locksmith, more well-known for his escapology skills, was Harry Houdini. He magic shows centred on his ability to escape from, apparently, the most secure of padlocks and chains! His ability to escape was due to his extraordinary skills as a lockpicker! His audiences would look on in amazement as he escaped from more and more precarious situations!

King Louis XVI

The King of France, Louis XVI, was a somewhat surprising outstanding locksmith. However, he was more famous for being the only French king ever to be executed – by the guillotine, which chopped off his head in 1793!!

Other French locksmiths were more known for the elaborate design and artwork in their locks, which reflected the French desire for art and beauty at the time.

Linus Yale

famous locksmiths
Linus Yale

The most famous American locksmith is, without a doubt, Linus Yale, Jr. He invented the pin-tumbler lock and also founded the Yale Lock Manufacturing Company The pin-tumbler lock uses pins of differing lengths to stop the lock from opening without the correct key. His basic cylinder lock design is still widely used today, and is the most common lock on personal locks and safes. Yale’s father operated a lock shop in New York, which specialized in bank locks. Yale Jr joined his father’s business and later invented revolutionary locks using cylinders and permutations. Yale developed numerous new lock inventions during his career and became very famous for his lock products.


So, you can see that there are a number of famous locksmiths – 2 of whom – Chubb and Yale- you probably see every day when you use locks in your life!

Locksmith Careers