What is a Master Key?

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We all have dreams. Not the goals and aspirations type of dreams but the ones that you get in your sleep. The same goes for me; I also dream, especially of lock picking. And I’ve had them all. Here are a few of them:

The Picks Melt

A repetitive dream is one where the picks and the wrench go in the lock, and when I start the work, they dissolve. It was as if Uri Geller himself was picking the lock. The first time it occurred, I was left with that throughout the day⁠—accepting that Geller was extremely proficient and not only a sorcerer. But lock picking would also be a bad dream for him. All things considered, this is a common dream for me.

Public Nudity

Psychoanalysts will reveal to you that longing for open bareness is exceptionally normal and run of the mill. Indeed, mine is intensified as in my dream, I was on a vocation (‘on work’, not ‘at work’!) and the family bolted out are viewing. When I realised that I was stripped, the group grew—the family and the neighbours, at that point the whole road. Eventually, all individuals from my past are there⁠—teachers, menaces, landowners, even VIPs. And birthday suit or not I couldn’t get that lock open.

The Tool That Doesn’t Exist

This one is the most upsetting. In this dream, I have an apparatus, a key that opens each lock like magic⁠—a master key of sorts. When I wake up from this dream, I mull over it. I pursue the life of me to work out the method, the instrument, trusting that maybe in my state of fantasy, I had by one way or another handled all my insight and experience and made something magnificent. Tsk tsk, it was only a fantasy.

Well, I’ve said enough regarding my fantasies. How about we break it down and get the hang of something. We should keep it basic.

What Is a Master Key?

So it is with the name master key. Practically every day I will be asked if I have a master key for locks. A Chubb master key, a Yale master key, a master key for postboxes (truly, genuinely, I get asked this. The laws are sure about this, don’t mess with Her Majesty’s boxes!) But then any locksmith deserving at least moderate respect will realise that master keys exist, that they’re extremely valuable, and furthermore what they are and how they work is somewhat fascinating. Locksmiths in Belfast are knowledgeable of this especially Lock Doc N.I.

A master key is a key that can open any lock in a specific building or area if (and this is important) the locks have been made to have a master key. Here’s an example: you own lodging and there are 20 rooms, each with its own special lock and key. None of the keys will open more than the lock that it was cut for. But then, if you lose your key or lock it in your room, the landowner can take his “lord key” and open your room. This one key can take a shot at all 20 locks.

How Does a Master Key Work?

If you don’t know how chamber locks work, here’s a gist. There’s a progression of pins, each in pairs of two, driven into the attachment (the bit you put the key into) by a spring. This keeps the fitting impeded and not turn, keeping up a bolted entryway. Inserting the correct key causes the split between the two pins of each pair to sit along the bit between the attachment and the lodging (called the shear line). The peaks and troughs of the key lift and drop the pins in a progression of various heights to accomplish this. When the split is along the shear line, the fitting will turn with the key. Use the wrong key and the parts between the sets of pins will be lifted and dropped to the wrong heights, impeding with the shear line and keeping the lock bolted.

So how does a master key work? It’s very straightforward and brilliantly sensible. In a group of locks arranged for an ace key, the pins are not by pair, but rather triplets. There are three pins to each stack. This implies there are two splits in each stack, which means there are two statures the pins can be lifted to clear the shear line and permit the attachment to turn, which means there are more than one potential keys for each lock. Of one arrangement of parts is indistinguishable for every one of the 20 locks in a group, one key (the master key) will take a shot at them all! Smart!

More Advanced Master Key Frameworks

As with apparently everything on the planet it gets more confounded. You can have further developed master key frameworks. Imagine you are overseeing an organization. You have three offices, each with its own set of locks. You, as the overseeing chief, need an ace key that can open each lock in each of the offices. The supervisors then need a master key that can open any lock in their respective office but not in the other one. Of course, the staff need a key that can only open their specific lock.

The standard continues as before. All the locks in the whole framework have pins in stacks of threes. The main thing that should be worked out is the ‘second’ sticking⁠ so that aside from the one great master key that can open everything, the master keys in each of the offices can’t open locks in the other ones.

Presently if that got your nogging running, remember that there are locksmiths alive who are working out more intricate master key frameworks. For example, how might you want to repin the locks for a four-level master key framework? Or at least how would you work out the underlying sticking? This framework would involve a great master key (GMK), a master key (MK), a sub-master key (SMK), and of course, the individual keys. Give it a try, I dare you.

People regularly approach me for a master key for their locks. I trust now that you can perceive a reason why that is impossible. Unless, of course, they are glad to have every one of their locks supplanted by ones with pin stacks in threes⁠—a master key framework!

So there you go. In the event that you need an ace key for a gathering of locks⁠—for example, an inn, or storage spaces, or carports⁠—you’d have to purchase a lot of locks that offer the choice of being ‘aced’. That is, they have three pins in each stack and two potential keys⁠. If you need this service in Belfast, contact us at Lock Doc N.I. Our company has 24 hour locksmiths in Belfast.

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