An article on page 42 of the March 2007 Ledger describes a new codeable lock system from Strattec. This lock system can apparently only be coded once. Sidebar parts are set in a neutral position. Parts are then snapped into position forming a permanent key cut combination as the key is turned in the lock for the first time.
An Internet article recently announced a similar lock system which will be used by Master Lock for towing security products, residential door hardware and tool boxes. This lock system is said to be re-codeable. Strattec and Master Lock reportedly worked together in order to produce this new product. According to the same internet article, locks can be rekeyed “without the aid of professional service.”
Another website, www.weiserlock.ca, shows a Weiser “Smart Key” lock. One homeowner shown on the website was quoted as saying that he could, “rekey my lock in minutes.” A video shows how the old key can be turned 90 degrees and a special tool then inserted into a hole in the lock plug. The old key is removed and the new key is inserted and turned to the key removal position. The key combination is quickly changed without lock disassembly. During a call to the factory, a representative stated that the locks are now being sold in Hawaii , plus parts of California and Florida .
Quick-change locks are not new. There is the U-Change rekeyable system, the Hampton key-changeable system, the EZ changeable key system and the Instakey rekey system. Easily recordable combination locks such as the CCL Sesamee, Ilco Simplex and various suitcase locks have been available for years which allowed owners to change their own combination in seconds.
At first glance recordable products seem to be one more way for consumers to bypass normal locksmith channels and do their own work. At the same time almost every locksmith can remember the many times they have worked on luggage where the customer has forgotten the combination. Customers in the field are also a great source of income when they try changing a recordable lock, only to end up with the lock in a neutral condition and no operating key or combination.
If companies such as Master Lock do offer several different products, locksmiths could make the sale and key alike the group of purchased items while the customer waited. The jury is still out, but recordable locks appear here to stay as another ‘changing' item on the locksmith landscape.