At the dawn of the 20th century the owners of an automobile didn’t worry about locking themselves out of the car. Cars didn’t have doors!
The door, today, seems like an essential part of any car. Likewise with four-wheel brakes, headlights, and a windshield, other items that early automobiles lacked.
Doors provide security, privacy and comfort to the passengers, and a bit of frustration when you lock your keys inside. But, surprisingly, for some auto manufacturers doors were a luxury item. For a few companies’ doors were an option into the early 1920s!
According to several automotive historians the first American automobile with doors was the 1904 Oldsmobile Model R. It had two doors that were hinged at the front edge but there was no locking mechanism since it lacked windows or a fixed roof.
The first American automobile owners that had need of a locksmith were those that purchased the Buick Model 10 produced from 1908 to 1910. It had four doors that were equipped with locks that could be operated from inside or outside. But as it had a cloth top, it wasn’t exactly theft proof.
The first closed car in America was the Cadillac Model 30 produced from 1909 to 1914. It was a sophisticated and elegant vehicle with locking doors and a fully enclosed body that protected the passengers from the weather and noise. As an FYI it was the first American automobile to all-steel body.
As with cars, and doors, automobile door locks evolved over time. Likewise with the skills of the locksmith.
Automotive historians point to the 1920 Hudson as the first car with a modern type of door lock that used a metal key matched to a specific lock cylinder. These locks were more secure than the latches and locks used previously. But now if the key was lost or stolen, the car owner would have to call a specialized locksmith to make a new key or to replace the lock.
Locksmiths have been around since ancient times. But automobiles with locking doors marked the dawn of a new era for the trade.
Locksmiths played a role in the innovation and improvement of automobile door locks over the years. And they also developed new techniques and tools to deal with different types of locks and keys, such as wafer locks, pin tumbler locks, and tubular locks.
And now companies such as A & G Towing in Bullhead City, Arizona are adding new skills and equipment to meet the need of customers with transponder or smart keys. Automobile door locks and skills needed by locksmiths are more advanced and sophisticated than ever before. And they continue to evolve.
At A & G Towing we can assist if your car is equipped with remote keyless entry or more traditional problems such as lockouts, broken keys, jammed locks, or lost keys. Our team of professionals are available to assist anytime that you need a locksmith for home or auto.
Written by Jim Hinckley, Author of Jim Hinckley’s America