Jacksons is believed to be one of the oldest lock manufacturers in Australia. Its beginnings date back to late in the nineteenth century when Englishman, Francis Jackson, decided to settle in Launceston, Tasmania.
Francis was born in Wolverhampton, England in 1851. He became an apprentice locksmith with Mr B. Smith in the same city, and later worked as a foreman with Chubb, England's premier lock manufacturer at the time. He married Polly Smith, the daughter of his former employer in 1872. They had seven children. Lily, Ben, Florence and William were born in England and Thomas, Sydney and Annie were born in Launceston, Tasmania.
In 1879 he was accepted by the Japanese Government to travel to Japan to teach artisans in Tokyo, the art of lockmaking and the manufacture of brass fittings. When his contract was finished in December 1882 he sailed to Australia and decided to settle in Launceston. His wife and four children arrived in 1883 on the sailing ship Glen Goil after ten weeks at sea.
In 1883 Launceston, with a population of 12,000, was in the grip of a depression with wages about 50c a day for those able to get work. Francis rented a shop and opened his own business at 74 Charles Street, but for the first 6 months did not earn the $1 a week rent. Fortunately business began to pick up when the local railways started ordering point locks (large padlocks), which he sold for 68c each. When he was able to open the 'unpickable' lock on a safe at Beaconsfield Bank, after a bank robber had thrown away the keys, he gained a lot of prestige and work with other banks. His reputation as a locksmith and lock maker continued to grow.
As well as lock manufacturing and lock repairs, Francis Jackson carried out all types of repairs to household and office goods, installed electric bells, repaired sewing machines and guns. He became a gifted tradesman in this field.
He was responsible for the preparation of 2 display cases of hand made cabinet, safe and padlocks in the 1880's and won medals for their quality at exhibitions in Melbourne, Launceston and Wembly (England). We still have these cases on display. Lock parts were largely made from cast brass and as a result the locksmiths had to learn to file the parts into shape perfectly.
In 1910 Francis took his son Davis Sydney into the business, and 'Syd' was later to become the managing director. Syd was to become a member of the Australian Federal Parliament at its foundation in 1919, and spent a lot of his time in Parliament or assisting many local charitable and business organisations.
During these times James Eric Scott (Eric) managed the business and when Syd Jackson died in 1941, ownership was passed on to Eric Scott. When Eric died in 1956, he left the business to his four sons, Eric, Herbert, Bruce and Neil, who were all working at Jacksons. The business at this time was located at 106 Cameron Street Launceston, and working space was getting scarce.
In 1966 a factory was built at 171 Ravenswood Road Launceston for the manufacture of locks only. In 1991 it was decided to divide the old 'Jacksons Lock & Brass Works Pty Ltd' into companies related to their type of activity. The lock factory was named 'Jacksons Lock Manufacturing Pty Ltd'.
To survive for over 100+ years, significant change has had to take place. In the early post war years, large quantities of cabinet and padlocks were produced, but competition from other countries increased with the lowering of tariffs. This drove the development of specialised locks and improved production methods. Ownership of the company remains in the Scott family to this day.