the priceless contents of the Museum, and providing security to the various
internal departments at the U.S. Mint in San Francisco is the responsibility
of Captain Leonard D. Lauderdale and his Security and Safety Staff. All
employees are required to wear photo ID badges some of which are coded to
operate card-activated electrified door locks. In February of 1979 a small
steel plate called a "CorKey," similar in size and shape to the
military "dogtag," was coupled with the badges on the same strap
clip to become the key to more than 100 internal doors of the various departments.
Lauderdale explains: "We previously had a regular metal key system.
Many keys were reported lost and we had to have new ones made, but we
knew that our personnel could have keys made too. Nothing happened, but
if for 89 cents you can get a duplicate key made you don't know who has
your keys. Whenever we had to change locks we sent them out to a locksmith
it was too much of a hassle! When an employee left we asked for
their key back, but if they said that they 'lost it' it wasn't worth while
to make an issue of it, and we either had to change locks and keys or
live with the potential compromise of our system".
"We had one of the types of door hardware that the CorKey System
adapts to so all we would have to do was take off our old key-in-knob
door knobs and slip on the Cor-Kit locks. "Aside from a few special
doors that we could adapt ourselves, there was no added cost for installation."
Control System that the Mint obtained includes stainless steel magnetic
keys that operate in low-cost mechanical locks adapted to fit without
modification on major brands of door lock hardware. Available also is
a kit for encoding the keys and combinating and servicing the locks. Instructions
include step-by-step procedures and a section on Masterkeying.
to the locks adapted to door knobs there are single and double cylinder
deadbolts, single cylinder deadlatches, replacements for rim cylinders
used with night latches and "jimmy-proof" auxiliary door lock
and locks that operate electric switches for control of door releases,
elevators, parking gates, and alarm shunts. The key is basically a magnetic
card encased in steel. It has the coding capability of the magnetic card,
and the durability of the metal key. In addition, the key can be re-coded
countless times with equipment in the kit.
assigned Lead Police Officer Lee Harrison the job of implementing the
system. Officer Harrison had never worked with locks before and had no
locksmith training. He recalls: "I took the Encoding Kit and a couple
of the locks home with me and read through the Instruction Book following
the examples of coding the keys and the locks. I worked out the Master
coding requirements for our whole building and then coded all the keys
and combinated the locks myself"
key has a serial number and each division has a list of their people who
have keys. For the first time each one knows who has access to their areas
with some assurance that the magnetic coded CorKeys can't easily be duplicated.
When they need another key they request it from Security. We pull the
file card containing the code for the various doors the key is to open.
Then we use the card and the Encoder Gun in the kit to code the key."
"One thing I like is that all the keys look alike. You can't tell
by looking at the key if it is a master or a key to a single door. Employees
can't compare the keys anymore and only our Security Department knows
what the codes mean. We lost a few CorKeys in one department and decided
to change the codes. I went back to the instruction book and learned how
to "re-validate" the keys to a new code and how to change the
locks to match. Once the Cor-Kit lock code is changed, any remaining old
keys are locked out. ThenI I got back all the old CorKeys, erased them
and put them back in stock. I'll issue them again with new codes when