Detex Corp. Turns 100

Aug. 14, 2023
One of nation’s oldest and largest security door hardware companies celebrates its centennial

Sustaining a successful company for a century is kind of rare these days within the security industry. The Detex Corp., one of the nation’s oldest and largest security door hardware companies, has achieved just that as it celebrates its 100th Anniversary in 2023.

The Detex centennial commemoration is ongoing throughout 2023 as the company highlights key moments in its history, hosts events for employees and customers and conducts a series of community service projects. While very few businesses in any industry withstand the test of time to reach their centennial, Detex Corp. is proud to be one of just a couple of door hardware manufacturers to claim this distinction.

“When you ponder the dramatic changes that have occurred and the breathtaking progress that has been made over the past 100 years, you must be impressed with any company that has not only survived and endured such a dynamic era but flourished as well,” says Detex President and CEO Ken Kuehler. “We are proud of our company’s rich history and are grateful for the people who have helped Detex evolve from a small watchclock maker into an industry-leading manufacturer of life-safety and security products. With constant improvement as our goal, the great Detex team will continue to move forward into an exciting future. 

The centennial celebrations and community service events are taking place in New Braunfels, Texas, where the company’s headquarters are located. These events will recognize and thank the customers and employees who have helped make Detex Corp. successful over the past century.

“We are privileged to have outstanding, loyal customers, and this year we want to take the opportunity to thank them for their continued confidence,” says Kuehler. “As we look to our next 100 years, our commitment to delivering quality products and superior support services while practicing the highest ethical standards will continue to be our business model.”

In addition to being one of the top security door hardware companies in the country, Detex also represents a variety of other major equipment lines and maintains an extensive parts inventory and dedicated service capabilities. Today, as it has throughout its history, Detex continues to serve the needs of the construction market and other industrial segments. The company also remains committed to top quality customer service and prides itself in having played a major role as a good corporate citizen in all the communities it has served.

For more than a century, Detex has earned the trust of architects and owners who rely on Detex products for the safety and security of people and property. Detex designs, manufactures, markets and ships products around the world from its headquarters in New Braunfels, Texas. Detex is known internationally for life safety and security door hardware, loss prevention and architectural hardware, integrated door security systems and guard tour verification.

Leadership Changes in 2023 

In May Detex announced that the Board of Directors unanimously approved the appointment of Kuehler as both president and CEO of Detex Corp. This followed a decision by Philip N. Haselton to step down from his role as CEO, although he continues as chairman of the board. Kuehler had been promoted to president in February of 2022 following the retirement of John Blodgett, who also remains a member of the Detex board of directors.

As president, Kuehler has been responsible for spearheading the company’s expansion and consolidation efforts as well improving operational efficiencies. He brings to the task 28 years of experience in the security door hardware market, the last 22 serving in various leadership roles at Detex, including National Account Manager, Marketing Manager, Director of Marketing & Sales, General Manager, Vice President, COO, and now both president and CEO. Kuehler holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Texas State University.

As director of marketing & sales, Kuehler helped propel Detex sales to record levels. As vice president and COO, he was instrumental in simultaneously managing the restraints of COVID and expanding operations while overseeing process improvements.

“Throughout his tenure at Detex Corp, Ken has consistently demonstrated exceptional leadership skills, a strong focus on innovation, and an unwavering commitment to our company’s success during an era of unprecedented difficulties,” the board said in the announcement, noting that it has full faith that he will build upon the company’s achievements and continue driving the company’s growth trajectory.

“His appointment reflects the Board’s confidence in his abilities to guide Detex Corp. through new challenges, capitalize on emerging opportunities, and uphold our commitment to excellence in all aspects of our business. We are confident that with Ken at the helm, Detex Corp. will thrive and reach new heights. We thank you for your continued dedication and hard work, which are the foundation of our success. Your contributions play an integral role in shaping our company’s future, and we look forward to embarking on this new chapter together.”

A Brief History

The Detex Corp. we know today has its roots in the Newman Clock Company, which began to manufacture and sell stationary watchclocks (see photo) in the 1870s. Watchclocks were used by security guards as part of their regular premises patrols. Basically, watchclocks contained a clock to keep time and some kind of paper disc or a length of paper strip which was locked inside the watchclock. Keys, each with a different shape, would be hung at each checkpoint along the guard route. Guards were required to stop at each checkpoint, then manually insert and turn the individual checkpoint key. An imprint would be made on the paper showing the checkpoint location and time of imprint, which ensured that the guard was present at each checkpoint.

Three distinct types of watchclocks have existed side by side since the middle of the 19th Century – stationary, electrical, and portable. Each offers unique approaches to assuring a guard's location when a registration is made. All three types provide a high degree of certainty that a watchman was where the registration indicates he was, and when.

In 1923 the Newman Clock Company was consolidated with Watchman's Clock and Supply Company, Eco Clock Company and the watchclock division of Hardinge Brothers Inc. and adopted the name of Newman Watchclock Corporation. A few months later the name was changed to Detex Watchclock Corporation.

The Detex mechanical watchclock line improved their products over the years and offered four basic models. These included the Guardsman tape model, the Newman watchclock, the Saf-T-Chek and the Newman Quartz models.

Electronics also affected the watchclock market so in 1990 Detex forged a partnership with Securitron Electronics to distribute the GCS line of electronic guard tour systems in the North American market. Detex Corporation discontinued the manufacture of mechanical watchclock systems on Dec. 31, 2011. Electronic Guard Tour systems continue to be a part of the Detex Corporation product line.

In 1963 Detex Watchclock Corporation introduced a new line of security hardware products. At that time 'Watchclock' was removed from the company name and Detex Corporation became the official company name. These new security hardware products formed the basis for many types of Detex products which locksmiths recognize today.

Detex Corporation acquired the F Systems Corporation in 1993. This company offered products such as access control systems and optically controlled turnstiles. This acquisition increased the amount of safety and door security solutions which both companies could offer.

Another significant event was the development of the Advantex architectural hardware product line in 1999. Advantex products include a full line of surface vertical rod, mortise and concealed vertical rod exit devices. Simplicity of installation makes Advantex products a locksmith favorite.

In 2008 Detex Corporation entered an agreement with Lockman Peck, LLC to sell a Detex-branded low energy automatic door opener. The A019 door operator series has design and installation similarities common to other Detex products. Detex Corporation acquired the automatic door operator line from Lockman Peck in 2009 and the product has been manufactured by Detex Corporation since 2010.

For more information about Detex Corporation’s centennial celebration or any of the company’s products and services, please visit