LockNet: Stories From a Family-Owned Busines

locknetOne of the best things about working for a family-owned business is the stories everyone tells about LockNet. We have several employees who have been here for over twenty years, so there is no shortage in fascinating tales of what life was like when the Millers began their adventure into the security industry.

It’s even better when that particular family-owned company has been in the same industry for years on end, which means we have stories dating back to the 1920s!

LockNet and the President

Back in 1920, John Miller began working for Diebold safes and was the Superintendent of Bank Vault Erection. (Sounds fancy, right?) With a love for the security industry, it was only natural for John’s son Harry to follow in his footsteps. The only thing? Harry took his love for security even further.

Harry began fiddling with locks at an early age and was soon a professional lock inventor and safe cracker. He even started his own security business called Lockmasters Security Institute. Here he taught FBI agents and other law enforcement agents the art of cracking safes and picking locks.

He became so great at his craft, he was one of the most renowned locksmiths in the Washington D.C. area. He had yet to meet a safe he couldn’t crack.

You know who else lives in Washington D.C.? The president of the United States.

It should come as no surprise that the day eventually came when the president just could not get into his safe. (I like to imagine a bit of panic on his face because he’s the president and I’m sure there were critical documents in that safe…) Of course, he called Harry Miller.

When Harry got the call from the White House, he did what he would do for any other call. He quoted the job and gave the president what he thought was a fair price. The president agreed to the terms and scheduled a time for him to come work on the safe.

When Harry arrived to manipulate the safe, it took him maybe less than five minutes to crack it open. Of course, the president was shocked and couldn’t imagine paying the sum of money quoted for a job that took so little time.

In fact, he was so surprised by how little effort the job took, he refused to pay, though he had initially agreed to the amount.

Harry, having been in the business for enough years to have encountered situations like this before, calmly closed the safe and locked it. If the president wasn’t willing to pay the agreed-upon sum, he could find someone else to manipulate the safe and retrieve the items.

As you can imagine, telling the president he can’t have the items in his safe didn’t go over very well and the two men were eventually able to agree. Everything ended well, and both parties left happy. Harry was able to get paid for his services, and the president was able to retrieve his valuables from the safe.

LockNet and the Sure-Fire Blowtorch

This next story is a bit more recent.

I know I said the Miller family has been in the security industry for decades but what I haven’t yet mentioned is their knack for inventions. A few members of the Miller clan have dabbled in inventing products. One of their products was the Sure-Fire Blowtorch, developed by Chad’s grandfather, Harry Miller. (Yep. The same guy who stood his ground with the president of the United States.)

When Harry sold the company in 1983, the Sure-Fire blowtorch was one of the biggest sellers. After that, the product faded into the past. That is, until 2013, when a gentleman in Indiana began to have problems with his Sure-Fire Blowtorch.

He sent his blowtorch along with a note that read, “Dear Sure-Fire, I have tried several different tanks, but the flame will not stay lit. Please repair or replace.”

At this point, the company that distributed the Sure-Fire Blowtorch no longer existed, but somehow that little blowtorch made its way back to LockNet and the Millers. Benson Miller, son of the inventor, took a look at it and said, “I’ll tinker with it and get it fixed for him.”

It didn’t matter the blowtorch was no longer in production.

It didn’t matter that the warranty had expired.

Benson was kind enough to take it home with him and get it repaired. He returned it to the gentleman in working condition.

He didn’t have to bother with the item. He could have easily passed by without a second glance, but he didn’t. Fixing it was the right thing to do and I like to hope the gentleman had a big smile on his face when that blowtorch arrived in the mail in working order.

I say it all the time, but it makes a difference working for a family-owned business. Sure, I may get a funny story or two out of the employees who have been at LockNet for years, but it’s really about knowing I work for people where “the right thing to do” is just the standard course of action.

Do you have any fun stories where you work? We’re always up for a good tale! Leave them in the comments, or you can contact us here.


About Whitney Danhauer

Whitney Fay is the Content Manager at LockNet, handling content creation, presentation development and manages all of the social media for LockNet. She has a ridiculous amount of pop culture knowledge that has yet to make her rich and famous. You want to know that one actress in that one movie? Ask Whitney.

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