Professional locksmiths call on a variety of special job skills to generate profits. Things like basic key duplication, rekeying and lock installation are a given. Even selling safes is a common occurrence in lock shops.
In addition, there are numerous specialty areas in the security trade. Some locksmiths choose to specialize in electronic access control, alarms or CCTV; some focus on high-security automotive and others in new construction of residential homes. Each requires an investment of time, knowledge, education and equipment and each is ignored to some degree by many qualified locksmiths, usually for a variety of reasons.
At Starfleet Lock and Safe Inc. in Springfield, Illinois, owner Gene Gyure Jr. CRL has combined a group of special services to offer to his customers in addition to his commercial lock focus. He sells and services burglary and gun safes, and is certified to open, repair and service GSA containers, cash handlers and electronic safe locks. He also does a lot of safe deposit work.
If you aren’t doing safe deposit box service now, someone else is servicing those accounts. In many cases the institution is paying higher time/mileage prices by using a security service from many miles away because they don’t know you can accommodate their needs locally and economically. After all, have you ever told them?
Gyure tells them. He promotes his services by contacting financial institutions with a colorful flyer advertising his specialized safe deposit box services. He realized that with a minimum financial investment and a little education, one of the easier profit avenues often overlooked by locksmiths is promoting and performing safe deposit work for banks and hotels.
Every city of any size has hotels, banks and savings and loan companies. Small towns may have one or two banks and larger cities have dozens of banks and branches. Most of these institutions have dozens or hundreds of boxes in a vault or secured area. (Photo 1)
Gene and I recently went on a short drive to service some outlying banks in three Midwestern communities. I asked and was given permission to photograph the work but the banks shall remain nameless. These notes and photos are from our visits that day.
Safe deposit boxes come in many sizes, shapes and brands. Recognized brands include Sargent & Greenleaf, Diebold, Mosler, LeFebure, and Kumahira/Security. Some manufacturers of safe deposit box locks like Corbin, Ilco and Yale have dropped these locks from their product lineup. Other makers that no longer exist include Bates, Eagle, Herring-Hall Marvin, Miles-Osborn, Precision, Victor and York.
Standard safe deposit boxes consist of a body, cover plate, locking bolt with fences, lever springs, guard and renter levers, and guard and renter keyways. The keyway consists of a foot to move the bolt (renter side), a post and a nose. The keyway assemblies may be found as three separate pieces, two pieces or all one piece. The nose is contained by the cover plate with a rimmed horn (collar), also referred to as the nose. We will use the term nose to refer to the entire horn/nose assembly.
These locks utilize a wide variety of specifications including body size, nose height and diameter dimensions, nose width positioning, post size and directional relationship, number of mounting screws, etc. Usually one brand is not interchangeable with another, even for different models within the same manufacturer.
Although some safe deposit locks are pin tumbler, the vast majority of them are lever locks. Old and new, these boxes are usually found in nests of multiple boxes. It is common to find a mixture of sizes and brands within the same bank vault. Although the size of the boxes varies from very small to quite large, the locks for a given brand will remain consistent in a nest.
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