A locksmith could make a good living rebuilding mortise locks.
The United States Post Office passed new regulations for larger-sized gangs of mail boxes to accommodate larger mail. These new regulations also required a more secure pin tumbler lock. The Master Lock pin tumbler locker locks replaced the flat steel key lock locks. This resulted in the flat steel key machine be moved to the back of the bench to be used mainly for safe deposit box keys.
On the West Coast, a major transition occurred with the change from the Schlage wafer lock mechanism to the pin tumbler lock mechanism in the key-in-knob locks.
In the 1970s and before, the restricted keyways were truly restricted.
Security for vehicle locks was also changing. The first modern-day locking steering wheel lock appeared on 1969 GM vehicles. Every domestic car model was equipped with steering wheel ignition locks by the early 70s. To further increase security, key code numbers were gradually removed from auto locks. Every step to increase security made it harder for locksmiths to originate keys but it also made each job that much more profitable.
Opening the Porsche 928 prior to the introduction of the Tech-Train tool TT-1011 required removing the windshield glass.
The SARGENT 60 Series and the Von Duprin 33 Series versions of the center case chassis exit devices were introduced in the late 1970s.
Locksmith associations became more prevalent.
As urban population increases, there is a natural tendency to want more security. The 1980s can be considered the era when mechanical high security locks became commonplace. They could also be known as the infancy of electronics for locksmiths. Some locksmiths became involved in installing automotive alarms. Schlage introduced a residential wireless alarm system.
The birth of regulation entered the locksmith world. This included business and specialty licenses and, in some states, contractors' licenses. Several states actually started to enforce these laws.
Some locksmiths began using the personal computer for keeping records, inventory, key codes, and accounts receivable. Through this effort, computer programs specifically for locksmiths were developed.
Up to the 1980s, the Slim Jim style of car-opening tools would open just about every common vehicle. Then in the 1980s, car manufacturers introduced security methods for car door locking mechanisms. For example, General Motors introduced the rigid cam and sheet metal guards to protect entire linkage rods. This initially caused quite a problem for opening the Chevrolet Beretta and Corsica. But locksmith ingenuity developed car-opening tools to overcome this problem, proving there is more than one way to unlock a lock mechanism.
In 1983, Assa Abloy AB started an American operation in Chicago.
In 1986, General Motors introduced Vehicle Anti-Theft System (VATS) in the Corvette, marrying electronic security with mechanical automotive locks. Over the following years, VATS also became PASSKey I/II and available on many General Motors vehicles.
In 1988, the Cadillac Allanté was one of the first vehicles equipped with bicycle style cable linkage.
Prior to the 1980s, many companies locks were a bit of "this and that" brands. The 1980s seemed to be a starting point of the "one company lock mechanism" concept. Even though many different brands of lock hardware could be installed, the mortise, rim and key-in-knob cylinders were becoming one brand, and more often than not, master keyed. This led to a significant increase in sizes and complexities of master keying jobs.
Schlage introduced the "L" mortise lock.
The 1990s were the end of the automobile vent windows. Also coming to an end were key-operated passenger door locks, keyed glove compartment locks and keyed trunk/tailgate locks. In 1995, Ford introduced the Passive Anti-Theft System (PATS) into specific models of the Taurus and Sable. Luxury vehicle manufacturers are using keyless systems with proximity cards to unlock and affect the starting operation.
Commercial and institutional locksmiths will be needed to install mechanical locks and master key systems for many years to come.