If you Google "History of Padlocks," you'll receive over 998,000 site choices in a split second. Padlocks in some form have been around almost forever.
One of the limitations that existed for years with any keyed padlock was the fact that it had to be on a different key from door locks in a building. For the most part, padlock keys were smaller than standard knob and deadbolt keys. You couldn't key a padlock to a door lock key and you couldn't key the door lock to the padlock key. The only solution was to carry separate keys.
Another problem was that the common padlocks, those manufactured by a padlock company instead of a door lock manufacturer, were keyed at the factory before the padlocks were riveted together. Rekeyable padlocks didn't exist in the old days. Most of the padlocks were impractical to service.
Padlock manufacturers did offer master keying choices that were controlled by the mathematical limitations of the padlock cylinders. In a four pin, four depth system you would get 256 theoretical key changes. After eliminating the Top Master Key and other undesirable and uncuttable keys, you would have a very limited padlock master key system to offer your customer.
According to the American Lock website, John Junkunc, a railroad machinist from Hungary, arrived on our shores in the early 1900s with the determination to achieve the American dream of free enterprise. He invented the first dial combination padlock because of constantly misplaced keys. Over the decades he built the company on a strong foundation of handcrafted padlocks and was a leading innovator of padlock construction.
Today, the line of American padlocks and products has been restructured and revised after being purchased by Master Padlock Company L.L.C. in 2005.
American Lock Commercial Products focuses on Commercial Grade aluminum, brass and steel bodied padlocks and the American line of rim, mortise and key-in-knob cylinders.
Today, in addition to a full line of field serviceable padlocks that are rekeyable to other padlock keys, the locksmith has the option of offering his customers commercial quality padlocks that are compatible with a house or office key.
American Lock offers three padlock models that are door key compatible: A3600 Series, A3700 Series and A3800 Series. These three padlock models vary in material, size and available options. Let's take a close look at all three:
A3600 Series & A3700 Series
The A3600 Series padlocks are constructed with a one and three-quarter inch wide by three-quarter inch thick solid brass body that resists corrosion in harsh environments. The dual ball bearing locking mechanism resists prying and pulling the shackle from the locked position. The 5/16" diameter Boron alloy steel shackle is available in four different lengths with the model number of the lock indicating the shackle length.
Model A3600 indicates one and one-eighth shackle length (Photo 1), A3601 indicates two-inch length, A3602 indicates three inches (Photo 2) and A3605 shackle is five inches long. (Photo 3)
The A3700 Series padlocks are constructed with a two-inch wide by three-quarter inch thick solid brass body that resists corrosion in harsh environments. The dual ball bearing locking mechanism resists prying and pulling the shackle from the locked position.
The 5/8" diameter Boron alloy steel shackle is available in three different lengths with the model number of the lock indicating the shackle length. Model A3700 indicates one and one-eighth length, A3701 indicates two-inch length and A3702 indicates three inches long.
Both series offer optional brass shackles for increased corrosion resistance. (Photo 4)
Custom laser engraving is available in up to six different areas (front / back / top / bottom / left side / right side) of the padlock to personalize and identify each lock. Other options are the CN nine-inch long zinc-plated #40 Sash Chain and the SBC nine-inch long solid brass Double Loop Chain to retain the padlock at its site.
Standard function on the A3600/3700 Series is NKR – Non-Key Retaining, but the option is NRK Non-Removable Key or key retaining.
Cylinder options include a choice of 27 available keyways to match a door security system. (Chart 1)
In addition to 26 of the most popular commercial and residential door lock manufacturers' keyways, cylinders are available in the American Lock Edge™ key control keyways. (Photo 5) The Edge Key Control system offers a full line of key-in-knob/lever cylinders (Photo 6), and rim and mortise cylinders (Photo 7) to allow a full range of cylinder servicing with restricted key control. Other Edge cylinders are available to service the full range of American Lock Commercial Products. The Edge keys are patent protected.
Most of the commercial and residential keyways are available in five- or six-pin lock cylinders. These cylinders may be ordered as part of a complete padlock assembly or as separate components. When cylinders are ordered with padlocks, the correct driver is included. Cylinders ordered separately require an 'A' prefix in front of the cylinder number to assure the correct cylinder drivers are provided.
Padlock tailpieces or drivers can be ordered separately from American.
The American Lock Commercial Products Service Manual reads, "The door hardware cylinders are rekeyed using standard .115" diameter pins. The plug is mounted to the shell with a ring retainer and use of a follow tool is recommended. In order to mount the cylinder in the lock body, a cylinder retainer plug is placed over the bible of the cylinder. The retainer plug has a threaded hole used to mount it to the lock via the toe shackle and the socket screw. This cylinder requires a special driver to be placed between the cylinder tail and the lock actuator in order to function."
For an additional charge, American Lock can re-create and expand your current key system (with your records) and do the keying or master keying at the factory to deliver locks or cylinders ready to install.
Padlock bodies will also accept a number of OEM original cylinders and after-market key-in-knob/lever cylinders from Medeco, ASSA, Schlage (including Primus), Ilco, Lori, GMS, GLS, etc.
A3800 Series Padlocks
The A3800 series padlocks are constructed with a two and one-quarter inch wide by seven-eighths inch thick, case hardened, chrome plated, solid steel body. The dual ball bearing locking mechanism resists prying and pulling the shackle from the locked position.
The 7/16" diameter Boron alloy steel shackle is available in two different lengths with the model number of the lock indicating the shackle length. Model A3800 indicates one and one-eighth length (Photo 13) and A3801 indicates two-inch inches long. (Photo 14) Brass shackles are not an option with the A3800 or A3801.
The same range of cylinder options available on the A3600/A3700 Series is available for the A3800. In addition to the 27 door key cylinders, alternate manufacturer OEM and after market key-in-knob cylinders are compatible with this padlock.
Standard function on the A3800 Series is NKR – Non-Key Retaining, but the option is NRK Non-Removable Key. Another option is the DBLC thirteen-inch long zinc-plated #2 Double Loop Chain to retain the padlock at its site. The laser engraving option is not available on the A3800 Series.
The ability to key padlocks and standard residential and commercial door locks to the same key or master key system offers a way to improve key control and add security, convenience and safety.
When you can handle a padlock cylinder and key it in the same manner as any deadbolt, knob, lever, mortise or rim cylinder means fewer mix-ups, problems or non-working keys. It also means less frustration and fewer pinning kits.
Your residential customer will appreciate the fact that you can match that padlock for the gate, garage or storage facility to their current house key. It's even possible they'd be interested in a small master key system where the house key also works the gate, but there is a separate key for the gardener that only fits the gate.
Your commercial customer will benefit from your ability to offer a wider range of products that will fit with their existing master key system. In addition, you have the option of creating a new restricted, high-security or patented keying system. These padlocks enable you to offer your customers the convenience of one key fits all.
Finally, it's up to you to let your customer know you offer this service. Most consumers still think of a padlock as a 'separate key only' choice.
Here are two suggestions. One, buy or make a display board for your counter to show everyone that walks in to get a key cut that you can offer something that the big-box home center can't. Show a knob or lever, a deadbolt and a padlock all working off the same key. Title it "Try Me!"
Two, make up a simple one-page flyer with your company information and a picture of a padlock. Insert a question such as "Do You Need a Padlock That Works on Your Home or Office Key?" Hand one of these out with each invoice or receipt. Do it on every job, even on a car opening. Offer a free or reduced set-up charge if they buy it during this service call.
Stop and think about it, if you don't promote – read sell – your company and its products and services to each and every customer, who else is going to do it?
For more information on American Lock Commercial Products, contact your favorite locksmith distributor or visit www.americanlock.com.