Do you know what material was used to create the first locks? Do you know who invented the first automatic door bolt? Do you know how Cothron's got its start? Our latest blog post covers this and more
Locks and keys have been around for thousands of years, and the history associated with the industry and some of its main players is fascinating. From early wooden locks and the reasoning behind certain security features to famous locksmiths and family-owned businesses, read on to learn 10 neat facts about the world of locksmiths.
1. Locks have been around for more than 6,000 years, as an early version was found at Nineveh, the capital of ancient Assyria. These security features started out with carved wooden designs and became more advanced in the 18th century, due to metal works.
2. Famed escape artist Harry Houdini was a locksmith, and Nick Hoffman, the chief curator at The History Museum at the Castle (previously The Houdini Historic Center), spoke on the topic. "This bobby pin from his collection has clearly been adjusted, bent open, and maybe he was using it to sort of practice an escape. So this is just a really, really neat thing to see…this manipulated bobby pin to pick a lock." Hoffman continued, saying, "One of the things he loved to do is palm the keys to make some sort of lock pick. So he would put some sort of clay in his hands and then very carefully, when he had the key, push it down into his palm and then that clay would take the form of the key and then he could have his carpenters and other assistants make a pick."
3. Linus Yale Sr. opened a lock shop in the 1840s, leading to the creation of a pin tumbler lock. His son, Linus Yale Jr., joined him, enhanced the design, patented the Yale cylinder lock, and then started Yale & Towne in 1868.
4. In 1857, James Sargent started the James Sargent Lock Company and went on to provide the U.S. Treasury Department with safe locks and to invent products like the first time lock for bank vaults.
5. Originally, Samuel Segal was a police officer, which led to the original Segal lock in 1912, as a way to help protect people from "jimmying" doors open.
6. In the early 1920s, the Master Lock Company was established by Harry Soref, known for his laminated steel-cased lock patent.
7. The first automatic door bolt was created by William F. Banham in 1926, due to break-ins he and his wife experienced. After that, he started up his own company – which later became Banham Security – and agreed to pay people £25 if they could pick his new lock.
8. Cothron’s was founded by Mr. Olen Cothron in 1948, and it started out as a small kiosk on Congress Avenue. Today, the company is one of Central Texas' premier security providers and is still family owned and operated: Olen’s son, Steve, serves as the CEO; Steve’s children, Angela and Andy, are head of accounting and high security, respectively; Angela’s husband, Daniel Powers, is the brand’s operations manager; and Daniel’s cousin, Vanessa Len Herrera, is the dispatch supervisor. There are several parents/children and siblings (not related to the Cothrons) that are employed by this business, too!
9. As a leader in locksmithing and security, did you know that Cothron's also makes and sells custom tools? These can be used for installing latches, swing bolts, locksets, paddles, and levers, as well as for opening door knobs and lever sets.
10. Many think locksmiths just help people get into their locked cars and houses. While that is certainly part of the job, services go far beyond this. Cothron's, in particular, provides:
--a wide range of commercial doors and frames, with a specialized crew that tackles everything from new installation and construction to remodels, repairs, and replacements.
--safes of all types, which can be delivered, installed, rented, serviced, and repaired.
--electronic security options ranging from alarms and video surveillance cameras to keyless entry and employee access.
--a hardware counter with supplies like keys, mechanical & electrical door hardware, and door frames.
--locksmithing, which – in addition to lockouts – includes rekeys, lock replacements, door realignments, installations of exit devices, door closers, fire-rated hardware & automatic door openers, and much more.
Follow us on social media and check back here for more company/industry updates, and contact Cothron’s for all your security needs!
Cothron’s custom tools include those for installing latches, swing bolts, and bored-in locksets, as well as those for difficult-to-pick locks.
As a leader in locksmithing and security, Cothron's makes and sells custom tools. These can be used for installing:
The Aluminum Glass Mortise Lock - Installation Jig was designed for use by professionals for the installation of latches and swing bolts on 1 ¾” thick aluminum and glass doors. This reversible jig is factory set so that the backset is gauged from the center of the door edge and will work with 1 1/8” or 31/32” backset locks by simply flipping the jig.
It secures to the door using self-drilling self-tapping screws so it can't slip like other jigs. Screw holes are where the AR-style universal mounting tab screws go after the jig is removed from the door.
The Pro Installer Cylindrical Lock Installation Jig was designed by locksmiths with over 80 years of experience and is intended for use by professionals for the installation of bored-in locksets with either 1-1/2” or 2-1/8” cross bore holes and 2-3/8” or 2-3/4” backsets.
The handle of the Pro-Installer has a raised ridge on the inside that sits against the door, ensuring the backset is gauged from the center of the door and not affected by the bevel. The scale etched into the handle makes it easy to position the jig above the existing lock by simply centering the latch of the existing lock at the desired measurement. The cross bore guide plates are held in place by magnets, making it easy to change backsets by flipping them around from 2-3/8” to 2-3/4”.
The Around-The-Door Tools were made for difficult-to-pick locks and were part of "Best of 2022: The Year’s Top Products," a list from Locksmith Ledger. It’s released each December, looking at the year’s most notable and most viewed new products, and Cothron’s was honored to be included.
All of these tools were created by John Ray, Cothron’s director of education, and came about as workarounds after being in the locksmith industry for 40 years. Ray’s also working on a couple of other designs, but the details are being kept under wraps for now. As he told Locksmith Ledger, though, “I haven't seen anything else quite like it out there available.”
Check back often for further updates, learn more about Cothron’s current tools here, and call 512-459-2875 for current pricing.
Options like keyless entry, motion sensors, and antimicrobial door hardware can help cut down on the transmission of viruses and illnesses.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been more cautious, taking extra steps to promote health and safety. Fighting off bacteria is also currently on everyone’s minds, due to recent headlines: There has been a surge of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases, an early/active flu season, a lot of illness transmitted in schools, and a shortage of hospital beds (especially pediatric ones).
A wise way to decrease the spread of germs and the chances of getting sick is with the use of antimicrobial and no-touch devices. With each interaction, there is a chance of being exposed to viruses, but this unique door hardware helps inhibit the growth of germs in high-touch areas.
With all of these antimicrobial and no-touch security solutions, experiences will be enhanced, accessibility will be boosted, and contamination will be prevented. If you are interested in any of these products, call Cothron’s today at 512-472-6273 or request service here.
Regular adjustments can help keep doors looking like new, working smoothly, and functioning in the most secure way possible.
Over time, locks and door hardware can get worn, dirty, misaligned, and overused, meaning regular maintenance is required. These small adjustments can keep doors looking like new and working properly. When maintenance is avoided, it can affect things like energy savings and, of course, overall security, and persisting issues can escalate into bigger problems.
Therefore, to keep your locks, hinges, doorknobs, strike plates, deadlatches, and deadbolts in tip-top shape, follow these five steps.
The Smart Lock Trend Is Here To Stay
From the time they can save and the accessibility they provide to the enhanced security features, it’s no wonder that smart locks are trending…and are only going to get more popular, when it comes to workplace safety, home security, school safety, and beyond!
About 70% of households in the United States have at least one smart device, based on research by the Consumer Technology Association, and one popular example is smart locks, a market which is worth $2.4 billion and is expected to reach over $4 billion by 2027.
Why are more and more people turning to innovative locks for their homes and businesses?
The most obvious answer is the ease of access. In today’s digital world, we are used to getting information, food orders, clothes, calls with family or coworkers, TV shows, and more with the click of a button…and we want the same, when it comes to getting into our houses and our places of work. Smart locks can connect to a phone and unlock only when said phone is in a certain range, or they can be controlled with a keypad, allowing entry when a specific code is entered.
Time is another factor, as Alarms.org found that 57% of people in the U.S. said smart products save them about 30 minutes each day. Instead of fumbling around in a bag for your keys, you can, for instance, punch in your keypad code instead.
Of course, security is a top reason for more than 12 million American households installing smart locks. These gadgets allow for the tracking of who enters/exists and for locking the door remotely if someone forgot to do so. They eliminate the need for a spare key, too, helping to decrease the chances of a break-in.
The locksmiths at Cothron’s – Austin's oldest and largest locksmith company – can help you choose the right lock for your doors and upgrade your security at home, the office, and beyond.
In addition, offered security systems can include burglary/intrusion detection, temperature controls, security alarms, access control, video surveillance, and security cameras from partner brands like Yale Accentra, Allegion, Assa Abloy, Brivo, and Open Options.
Call us today at 512-472-6273 or fill out a service request here. We look forward to helping you enhance your security!
People tend to think locksmithing only involves home and vehicle lockouts, but these security professionals do so much more!
Locksmithing has been around for thousands of years, and early locksmiths focused on shaping locks and keys, piece by piece, out of metal.
In today’s time, many picture this career consisting of lockout calls to get people back into their vehicles, homes, or places of work.
However, the job goes far beyond that, as these security professionals spend their days at various houses and businesses, repairing, installing, replacing, and maintaining the keys, locks, hardware, and security features on doors, cars, safes, and more.
Beyond being locked out, you may need a locksmith for the following services:
Auto (an in-store service only)
To schedule your locksmith service, fill out this form or call Cothron’s today at 512-472-6273!
Upgrading doors, locks, alarm systems, and other security equipment can improve aesthetics, functionality, safety, and more.
Within the realm of security – which includes locks, alarms, safes, access control systems, and beyond – there are always new technologies and advancements, which make for new ways to keep people safe.
Therefore, it is important to inspect doors, windows, and security equipment regularly and to replace/repair, as needed, since up-to-date solutions…
You don’t have to wait until you move or go through a remodel; you can make upgrades now…upgrades that give you more control and peace of mind. If you are looking for a stylish, functional, beneficial, and/or safe solution, contact Cothron’s today!
More than a third (36%) of U.S. broadband households that returned a smart home device did so because of set-up, installation and usage difficulties, according to research from Parks Associates. Research shows one in three connected device owners have experienced at least one technical issue with their devices.
Cothron's can help navigate you customers through the growing connected home market, providing professional installation to help take the hassle and frustration out of the equation. Our knowledgeable sales team can help you with selecting the latest smart home devices, including smart thermostats, door locks, lighting control, irrigation, and wellness. Give us a call at 512-472-6273.
More information about the Parks Associates research can be found here Parks Associates
All pre-owned safes, available at all 4 of our locations between Round Rock and South Austin, are on sale and ready to move!
We can even deliver them for you to your house or business. Give our dispatch department a call for delivery pricing and schedule.
Delivery and Installation
Most moving companies will not touch a safe. Their size, weight, and dimensions make them not only difficult to move, but also dangerous. Our trained professionals are highly skilled and dedicated to their craft. From small residential gun safes, to large jewelry and bank safes weighing excess of 10,000 lbs. our team can handle it.
Complete Delivery - We don't just stop at the curb, we deliver into your house and place the safe where you need it!
Added Service - our team can bolt down your safe, install accessories, and ensure you know how your safe operates and all of its features.
Custom Installations - If you require a more custom install, our Door and Frame division can build custom enclosures or wall cut outs to accommodate your needs.
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Locksmith News & Security Blog
As Austin's oldest and most trusted locksmith and security company, Cothron's provides industry updates and resources through its blog.