When we are taking a peek into the history of lock manufacturing in America, we tend to only focus on a few very important people. These people are Hobbs, Yale, Sargent and a couple of more people. These are the most important people who developed the art and created the direction for the years of mechanical security devices ahead of them. Therefore they are indeed worth our attention and praise in this article.

Early years in history

In between the years of 1793 and 1795, someone called Thomas Pye came to the United States of America along with his family and some money to create the industry of lock making in the country, all the way from the Great Britain. He wanted to bring over the British ideas of locks which were most advanced and modern then, into America. He created himself a factory in New York City with the money that he had brought and he made beautiful and perfectly functioning hand-made locks for people to purchase.

His business soon caught on and everyone was following his success story. It was so successful that he had enough to even let his sons reap from what he sowed. His sons were Simeon, William and Thomas Junior. They too learnt from his tricks and his trade and he also raised them to be one of the best locksmiths he knew. Eventually, Simeon and William joined in to contribute to what their father built for their family.


William was excellent in lock making and he had a very practical and logical thought process. He loved to experiment and create new ideas to try out with his job. He also enjoyed the competition they were getting in New York with the locksmith business and he worked to make it fall to his stride. He created a name for himself and their family business in the locksmith market and industry and is remembered for it till today. As a reward for his hard work, he received the 3rd and 4th ever USA patents in the year of 1818. But both his patents unfortunately were lost to the fire at the patent office in the year of 1836.

Along with the patent office fire, his own factory also faced a fire and a lot of losses. Despite all that, his ideas only kept growing and he started everything on his own all over again, which lead to his eventual success. He started the William Pye Patent Lock Manufactory all by himself. In a few years time, he had saved enough money for him to move to another new place in the city of Manhattan.

After the fire to his factory, he lost almost everything that he built up till that point. The factory burned all night and also almost harmed a chapel and two housing areas nearby. This became a big issue and more than the loss made to the factory, his name was getting tainted. One of the homes around the area which was damaged was William’s own house and that added to the pain. His insurance covered less than half of the loss that he made and things were not too bright. All that he had worked for years just crumbled down overnight. But with his savings and his family’s support he rebuilt himself, his dynasty and his name.


Simeon was William’s brother and no less in talent or experience. He was working in his father’s factory instead of starting his own fortress. He worked in his father’s factory which was in Leonard Street in the mid towns of Manhattan. He worked with his father a lot more than William and in the year of 1833, his father and him both received a silver medal for the creation of a knob lock that was hand-made during the sixth annual fair of the American Society. After that, his father moved the factory and their family to New Jersey. This was when Simeon was still keen on doing business in New York, so he used to travel back and forth daily without getting tired of doing so. After his time, Simeon too passed the throne onto his own sons, Sylvester, Sanford and William M, like how his father once did to him.

It was unfortunate that William M, his youngest son, was not as ambitious and achieving as his father and grandfather. He led a messy life and had lost most of the family’s business to his vices. He married to a girl while he was still young and moved over to the town of Texas. He also had poor health, which added to the problems. He also got arrested and had to be jail a few times due to some legal issues pertaining his travelling.

Finally after his imprisonment, he moved his family and children over to the city of Minnesota, where he started anew and led a better and more peaceful life. But sadly, none of his sons were taught the art of lock making so that died down there in the lineage.

At Express Locksmith, we know much more than the history of locks. To find out which lock best suits your needs, give us a call to talk to one our friendly service representatives at Express Locksmith today.

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