Waiting For Design Kinks

Feb. 18, 2019

Several years ago I had the pleasure of visiting the Silca factory in Italy. One evening a group of us went out for dinner. The restaurant building looked quite old and used very thick wooden beams for ceiling supports. I asked one of the Silca people if he could find out how old the building was. The waiter told us that the building was built in the 1400's- probably before Columbus discovered America.

Things are not made to last quite as long these days. Football stadiums built just a few decades ago have already been torn down to be replaced for even newer buildings. The demand for more and better box seats forces owners to spend millions to make the changes.

Some things do change a little more slowly. In 1936 GM introduced their six wafer sidebar locks. That system was continued on some GM models for over sixty years. A lot of locksmiths claimed that they could pick or impression GM sidebar locks but nobody I know could do it consistently. A set of tryout keys was developed but GM added a fifth depth in 1966 and the enlarged tryout set became unwieldy and only partially successful.

When it comes to electronic security, things change even faster. Lowes will reportedly be discontinuing their Iris smart home system at the end of March. We have heard that story before. How many electronic lock products can you remember which have come and gone? I can remember two in my own experience. One product had a flat screen. Users could flash a card in front of the screen and gain entrance to a parking lot. Another product was a motorized unit which operated a deadbolt in an aluminum door. Within a year after the installations both products failed and in both cases I was told that the products were discontinued. Since both products filled a unique niche there were no alternatives and I was left with unhappy customers.

They say never to buy the first year of a new car. Wait until the second year when they get the kinks out of the design. This can also hold true for electronic security items. Your business reputation is important. Depend on advice from your locksmith distributor and keep away from oddball, unproven items that look so good on the Internet.