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Company Profile

How it began . . . . .

In 1951 Hal Cooley of Portland Oregon was issued United States Patent # 2,566,017 on an electric switch operated by a "membership identification card adapted to serve also as a key". Cooley had learned that members of clubs often do not pay their yearly dues on time but they all have "Membership Cards". He reasoned that if that card could not only identify the member but also unlock the front door of the club, and if the code of the lock and cards could be easily changed, delinquent members would be denied entrance until they paid their dues and received another card with the new code.


Cooley installed his "Cardkey Lock" at the door to a club, and provided "Cardkeys" for all the members. One lock and hundreds of cards! For the first time the Club had control of the cards they issued, AND better door security. Previously, members had been given a regular metal key to the door but they made copies, and the Club lost control of the keys and seldom re-keyed the lock because of the cost and inconvenience. Cooley sold his patents to a small California company, "Cardkey Systems" who promoted the inventions to the thousands of fraternal and social clubs in the United States.
Cooley could hardly have imagined that his invention would give birth to a new industry providing coded cards and locks for the control of entry into restricted areas. It became known as: "CARD ACCESS CONTROL"

How it grew:

Not only Clubs needed control of their keys, so did Hotels, Industrial Plants, Universities, Hospitals, and the Government. During World War II, Defense Plant workers had been required to wear Identification Badges. Now badges were also coded to give the worker access to his parking lot and the areas he was cleared to enter. These coded badges could be sold to Industry for ten times the price a Club paid for its Cardkey. Soon many companies entered the business, even IBM. The simple card and lock became computerized and printed out the number of the card being used to open a door, and where and when it was used. If a card was lost or stolen it could be individually deleted from the system so that person could no longer enter. If he tried to enter an alarm would sound. Then cards took on the function of Time Cards. Card Access Control was deep into the world of Hi-Tech and High-Prices.

By 1968 the basic Cooley patents expired but "Cardkey Systems" had purchased new patents on an improved type of magnetic card, lock and card reader from inventor Bruce Sedley who joined the company and for the next eight years directed the development of his devices into the High Tech era.

When Sedley left "CARDKEY SYSTEMS" in 1974 to become a distributor for their products, he developed a smaller card lock inside a doorknob. It could fit existing brands of locksets as a replacement for the original knob. He called it a "Card- Operated-Replacement-for-Key-In-Tumbler locks" shortened to "CORKIT™".

The card became a "CORKEY™" and Sedley founded "CorKey Control Systems, Inc." which found an immediate market for the innovative products. They proved to be: fail-safe; easy to install without the need for electricity, wiring, batteries, electric door release or a computer; required minimum service; and were affordable.

Today CorKey Control Systems products are marketed throughout the world by patent Licensees and Distributors. The products are manufactured in the United States, Hong Kong and Japan.

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