Door-To-Door Combat

Oct. 19, 2016

Any locksmith worth their salt can field strip a cylindrical or mortise lockset, repair it, and quickly have the lock back together and operational.  Mortise cylinders are no different. Unless the cylinder is hopelessly worn out, any cylindrical lock malfunction can be easily remedied.  New pins, new springs, new keys and the lock cylinder is ready for another twenty or thirty years of service.

The secret to lock repair has always been that almost any mechanical product can be reduced to its smallest individual parts.  Original lock manufacturers plus aftermarket manufacturers simplified repair by furnishing literally every serviceable replacement part.  In the worst case, cast iron housings or worn hubs can be brazed back to usefulness.  The question with mechanical locks is not if it could be repaired but rather how long it would take to repair and how much labor time to charge the customer.  

Business thinking must change as our industry moves into the realm of electronic locking devices.  Spring-operated levers and turn knobs are slowly being replaced by circuit boards and miniature electric motors.  When the cover is removed on most electronic security products, there are no movable parts to fix. It either operates or it doesn't operate.

Locks with names like Sager, Clinton and Welch can still be found offering security and functionality in buildings dating back a hundred years.  Meanwhile, electronic products often meet their demise after only a few years.  The word 'discontinued'  is becoming part of our vocabulary.  There is no way to put a shiny new escutcheon plate on an electronic lock.  When an electronic lock fails, the easiest choice is replacement.    

Electronics can offer many more electives such as date and time settings, one-time usage or keyless entry.  But good old mechanical locks have their advantages too. When a door is locked, it is locked, and mechanical locks cannot be hacked.  The tussle between using mechanical or electronic lock systems will go on for a long time.