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Things Your Locksmith Should Tell You: An Interview with Mark Hamilton of Elmer and Son Locksmiths

By Mark Hamilton

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

Elmer & Son Locksmiths began in 1941 in what was originally the home that Elmer and his family lived in. The house was eventually converted into a modern locksmithing business, complete with a 1200 square foot showroom where we have over 50 new and used safes on display, along with commercial and decorative lock hardware. The original storefront was converted into the only museum in the region dedicated to locks and safes. We have become the security hardware center for the Chicago Southland and Northwest Indiana communities. Our customers include residential, commercial, and industrial. We are proud distributors for some of the top manufacturers in the security industry. Including Schlage locks, LCN door closers, Von Duprin exit devices, Locknetics access control hardware, Medeco high security locks and Mesker hollow metal doors and frames.

What are some of the services your company provides?

We offer the following services to our community:

- Residential
- Residential locks repaired
- Locks rekeyed
- Deadlocks installed
- Key duplication
- High security "laser cut" automotive keys
- Transponder & VATS automotive keys
- Virtually every foreign & domestic automobile keys
- "Ace" type or "tubular" style alarm keys
- Skeleton or bit type keys
- Safe deposit keys (authorization letter required from bank)
- Lockouts
- High security locks
- Mailbox lock replacement
- Decorative Hardware

- Access Control
- Stand alone single door
- Multi door networked systems
- Wireless entry systems
- Audit trails
- Magnetic locks
- Keypad & proximity readers
- High security locks
- Master key systems

We provide professional installation of all types of commercial & industrial hardware, below is just a short list of what we install:
- Locksets
- Door closers
- Exit devices
- Electric strikes
- Latch guards
- File cabinet & desk locks installed
- Bank Service
- Safe deposit boxes opened, changed and serviced
- Vault and safe combinations changed

It is rumored that a lot of locksmiths do undercover work for the cops. Is this true?

Our company works in conjunction with law enforcement officers involving evictions, safe openings and making keys for confiscated vehicles.

Aren't keys stamped "do not duplicate" still duplicated often? Why do some keys have this stamp?

Many times manufacturers stamp keys "do not duplicate" merely as a deterrent. Only patent protected keys are able to be duplicated by an authorized manufacturers' dealer.

What are some signs that my potential locksmith is a scam artist?

He or she has an (800) number with no listed address for their business and arrives in an unmarked vehicle. They also quote an extremely low rate for a job only to inflate the price once on the job site. A certified locksmith should be willing to show their credentialing license or perk card verifying the authenticity of their company, a properly marked vehicle, and a uniform with the company logo prominently displayed.

Although they may be more expensive, why is buying a good lock better than buying a lock from a big-box store?

The big-box stores usually only offer a residential type of hardware; whereas, many locksmith stores offer a wider variety of products from residential to commercial to industrial grade for a more custom-fit product tailored to the customers' needs.

Do you have any other tips for securing my home?

The best way to secure a home is good-quality deadlocks with reinforced strike plates. Also, auxillary locks on patio doors and window locks help in home safety. Simply keeping shrubbery trimmed and lights on timers are easy tips.

What is the best way for people to get in contact with you?

They can call us at (78)755-5273 or visit our store @ 3001 Chicago Road, Steger, IL or locate us on the web at www.elmerandson.com.

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About The Author

Mark has been in the industry for over 25 years and therefore can assist with any...

Phone: 708-755-5273

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