Ziptide, September 2016

Sept. 1, 2016

Bit Key Question


I'm looking to see if bit keys are around any more and if so where can I get one like it?  Thanks.

Steven Parrish 

Via email

Bit keys are still popular in Europe, but bit key locks were discontinued after 1945 in the United States.  Ilco still makes bit key blanks and some older locksmith shops may still have key machines to duplicate these kinds of keys. You will never find a bit key precut today. (The photo shows a partial selection of bit keys in an Ilco key blank directory (Several additional pages list bit and barrel keys.) Visit for more information.

Unless there is some special reason, my suggestion is to only use that bit lock for the latch function and install a modern cylindrical deadbolt above for security.

-  Gale Johnson

Looking for Specific Products?

Here at Locksmith Ledger, we get a lot of questions from readers who are looking for sources for specific products. We are always glad to help, but we also have a couple suggestions for locksmiths who need that part after hours.

Our website,, has a search box in the upper right corner of the home page. We recommend typing in the product name or type there.  Results will likely take you to our online Buyers Guide or to magazine articles about that particular product/company.

In print, please check our 2016 Security Register, which includes a product index an extensive alphabetical listings of both manufacturers and distributors serving the locksmith industry. Next month’s magazine will include our Know Your Distributors listings, which provide greater detail about locksmith distributors, including information on product categories, brands, value-added services and shipping policies.

Looking for a specific distributor? Our annual Know Your Distributors listing, a 20-page chart carefully compiled by information provided to us by the distributors serving the locksmith industry, is available for download at

We welcome updates from distributors throughout the year, for both our Online Buyers Guide and upcoming 2017 Security Register. Please email [email protected] with any new information.

More Questions? Visit Discussion Forums

Got a challenging question about a recent installation? Our online discussion forums might just have the answer you need. 

Post your questions at and see if your colleagues or our editors can provide an answer.  Forum topics include Ask An Expert (moderated by editor in chief Gale Johnson), General Locksmithing, Electronic Access Control, Safe Servicing and Automotive Locksmithing. 

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The editors of Locksmith Ledger welcome reader input. Share your comments and suggestions on any of our articles or general industry trends and topics. Share your opinions on relevant topics like locksmith licensing, the shift from key to keyless for both automotive and residential, and the state of our industry in general. Let us know what works and doesn't work for your business.

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