In the past few days the locksmith world has lost one of the most well-known and respected veterans to cancer, Chris Belcher.
After a career spanning for almost 30 years as an engineer in the Royal Navy, Chris turned his hand to locks and set up his own company in 1987, which solely concentrated on locksmithing and safe engineering. He ran Bel-Cher Locksmiths & Safe Engineers Mobile Service for 27 years, before handing over the business and retiring in 2014.
It was in this time that he changed the landscape of locksmithing forever by developing some remarkable, affordable, much sought after and praised domestic locksmith tools which professionals use on a daily basis.
Using his knowledge of engineering from his time in the Royal Navy, Chris was able to work out every aspect of a lock – its entire workings, and that was how he was able to develop such beneficial tools. That and a natural raw talent when it came to picking locks! It has been said that he was able to do things that others simply could not do, like pick locks with just a few bits of wire.
The tools he developed were primarily focused on mortice locks, antique locks, safe opening and repair. But he did more than just create a few tools – he looked at the problems locksmiths had daily and came up with effective solutions for them.
By doing so, he was the very first person to create a pick for locks with a detachable wire. This simple idea revolutionised mortice picking as the wire could be tilted and manoeuvred to get under tricky levers. The Multi Gauge Mortice Lever Lock Pick has been described as the ‘best pick made’ by Jason Hillier, as it enabled locksmiths to open 95% of all curtain locks with just one tool. This creation earned him the nickname ‘the Grandfather of the Mortice Lock’.
Chris also had a big input within UAP and TradeLocks, developing several tools and products for us and helping the company grow over the years. He created a patented timing pin solution to cure our Euro Cylinder lock bumping, rather than using trap pins or other elaborate solutions. This system features in all our BSI Kitemark cylinders – his genius protects every household who has one of our Kitemarked locks fitted as they have inbuilt anti-picks and mushroom driver pins, which make them highly effective against picking.
He had many accomplishments throughout his lifetime, from the tools and products he developed, to the projects he worked on and the patents he received for his ground-breaking innovations. In 2011, Chris even won a Lifetime Achievement Award from Locks and Security monthly magazine for his dedication to the trade for so many years.
Chris may no longer be here, but his memory lives on in each and every product used by locksmiths every day and that TradeLocks sell.
“Chris Belcher is a phenomenon. The locksmith industry, and UAP, will be the lesser without him.” – David Jennings, UAP Managing Director.
Rest in peace Chris, UAP and TradeLocks will ensure that your work and your legacy will live on.
To find out more about Chris and see our collection of Chris Belcher tools, all you need to do is get in touch with TradeLocks today at www.tradelocks.co.uk.