The History of Lockmasters

Miller 3 Generations How many of you remember how Lockmasters got its start? Let me take you back over 60 years and tell you a little about our history.

During the 1940's Mr. Harry C. Miller worked in Fairfax, Virginia as a specialized locksmith/safeman, etc., primarily on service to different United States Government Agencies.

As a prime contractor to the Department of Defense, he would be on call to install, service, and open different types of safes, vaults and security containers.

During those years with his father, Mr. John C. Miller, at his side, he perfected special types of locking mechanisms that would meet the special needs of the Government for the protection of classified information.

These mechanisms were as follows:
• Safemasters 40 Pinch Proof Extension
• Safemasters 181 Sliding Deadbolt
• Electro-Mechanical Access Control
• 1950 Changeable Combination Padlock
• Manipulation Proof Combination Locks

It was the last two products that created the need for Mr. Harry Miller to seek out a facility that had a reputation for precision quality, engineering, and financial strength. On the recommendation of his father, he approached Sargent & Greenleaf in 1949 as a place to have his products mass produced to meet the requirements placed upon him by his customers.

In 1950-51 Mr. Miller gained control of Sargent & Greenleaf and immediately started on a path of improvement, invention and growth.

Being very much aware of the need to educate the locksmith and safeman on his products, he created what was called the Sargent & Greenleaf Lock Service School. Along with Mr. Jim Taylor, who joined Sargent & Greenleaf from the United States Government as Chief of Physical Security Evaluation (PSE), they started getting people together in places such as California, Chicago, Rochester, Washington, D.C., and New York to conduct Resident Training on Manipulation, Service, and Installation of Combination Locks.

By 1953, the demand was so great from the industry, and their time away from managing Sargent & Greenleaf was becoming a serious problem, they decided to separate the training from S & G.

In 1954, Mr. Miller, Mr. Taylor and Mr. Leonard Singer formed Lockmasters, Inc. for the express purpose of providing education by correspondence on Safe Lock Servicing and Combination Lock Manipulation. With Mr. Miller, Mr. Taylor, and Mr. Singer's vast expertise on mechanical locks along with Mr. Singer's finesse in writing, organizing, etc., (after all, Mr. Singer founded the Locksmithing Institute and the Locksmith Ledger); Lockmasters, Inc. got its start.

In 1957, Mr. Singer left Lockmasters, Inc. which was located in Rochester, New York from 1955 to 1972.
At that time, Lockmasters, Inc. was relocated to Satellite Beach, Florida to create the worldwide Resident Training Programs. Under the leadership of Mr. Miller and Mr. Taylor they brought in Mr. Rex Parmelee as General Manager to guide the school in its new ventures. Having joined Sargent & Greenleaf in 1960, Mr. Parmelee brought a wealth of knowledge of what was needed to expand the educational programs of the school.

After a complete renovation of the new building, training of a new staff, securing of modern equipment, Mr. Parmelee started the Resident Training Program with the first class in September of 1973. Once that got underway, new and exciting programs were developed and implemented such as;
• Safe Deposit Box Correspondence Course
• Safe Deposit Lock Identification Manual
• Time Lock Servicing
• Manipulation Flow Charts
• Guide to Safe Labels
• Harry C. Miller Lock Brochure Collection
• International Resident Training On-Site
• Re-implementation of the Tru-Center Club
• Lockmasters Tool and Equipment Division

In 1974, Mr. Taylor sold his interest to Mr. Miller to enable him to start his venture Precision Lock and Taylor Resources, Inc.
Lockmasters, Inc. continued to grow by leaps and bounds, and in 1982 Mr. Miller made his decision to retire from active participation in both Sargent & Greenleaf and Lockmasters, Inc. At this time Mr. Miller sold Sargent & Greenleaf to a group of investors from Indiana, and sold Lockmasters, Inc. to his son Mr. J. Clayton Miller. It was then that Lockmasters, Inc. was relocated to Nicholasville, Kentucky.

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