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On the Construction of Locks and Keys by John Chubb

Locksmithing, Blacksmithing, Metalcraft, Locks, Keys, Construction, Chubb, metalwork, security, antique, collectors, tools, education
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CONSTRUCTION OF LOCKS AND KEYS. 17 APPENDIX. NOTE A. " In a country where a large class subsist by robbery, and where the means of effecting it securely, is the constant study of skilful and ingenious thieves, the only means of baffling them, and of protecting .the ordinary depositories of valuables, from their felonious attacks, are to call in the aid of the greatest mechanical skill with reference to locks and fastenings, and to exercise unceasing care and vigilance. The bank robberies, during late years, show that they have been planned with extraordinary sagacity, and have been effected with a degree of skill, which proves that they are not undertaken by ordinary thieves. The large amount of money which the housebreakers are confident of obtaining, in the case of a successful burglary at a bank, induces them to act with a degree of skill and caution, proportionate to the expected booty, and it is for this reason, that an unsuccessful attempt to rob a bank is seldom heard of. When "aset" is made at a bank,every information is, in the first place,sought for, by the burglars, of the means of security adopted, and it has been ascertained, that many weeks, and even mouths, have been occupied in this manner. Attempts are made to tamper with the servants, and an acquaintance is formed, if possible, with some of the female domestics. If, upon inquiry, it is found that the means of security are so numerous and inviolable, as to give no chance of success, the matter is quietly dropped; but if any opportunity presents itself, no time is deemed too long to wait, for the proper moment when the bank may be entered, the misnamed safe, or strong room be opened, and a clean sweep made of all the convertible securities and money it may contain. " There is no harm in calling attention to these circumstances, even though they may appear trite enough; for we have recently had our confidence in the apparent security of an iron strong-room door very much shaken by the inspection of an instrument most ingeniously and skilfully constructed, expressly for the purpose of tearing out the centre locks of iron doors. It is in the possession of Messrs. Chubb, of St. Paul's Church-yard, and was presented to them by the Commissioners of the Metropolitan Police, by whom it was taken from some burglars. It is impossible for us to describe this instrument (which, we understand, is well known to the thieving fraternity by the name of the " Jack-in-the-Box"),* without the aid of an engraving; but as Messrs. Chubb are polite enough to allow it to be inspected, we recommend our readers to call and see it. It is small in compass, so that it might be easily carried about the person, and yet it has the power of lifting three tons weight; and the pressure being applied to the key-hole of an iron door of the ordinary kind, it will force the door open in less than fifteen minutes! We have seen a portion of an iron door, on which an attempt had been made by this instrument, but which was defeated in consequence of a new arrangement of the lock, invented by Messrs. Chubb, which has removed the parts of the door on which the instrument must press, as a fulcrum, before it can act. But even in this case, the iron * Vide page 23.

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