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The Shakeout of the 1930s
Small lock manufacturers, centered around the Chicago area, came and went: Chicago Cabinet Lock, Baird Lock, and Best Lock, to name a few. In Detroit a new lock company was begun in the early 1920s by a former purchsing agent from an automobile accessories store, Edwin P Hurd. Hurd began by making pin-tumbler padlocks and spare tire locks in his garage. By 1932 his company was making the locks for Ford. Three years later most of the automobile locks in America were being manufactured by three companies: Briggs & Stratton, Yale, and Hurd.

Lock Companies - Page 2

Manufacturers of Early Locks and Switches for Antique Automobiles

Hurd Lock Company Chicago Cabinet Lock Company Baird Lock Company Best Lock Company Chicago Lock Company
With only a grade school education, Edwin Phillip Hurd had been a salesman and purchasing agent for E. Mack Morris, a Detroit automobile accessories dealer, when he began manufacturing locks in his own garage in 1919. By 1924 he quit his job to concentrate on his lock making business. In 1926 he applied for a patent for his spare tire chain lock.

Besides the chain locks, Hurd also made solid padlocks. Hurd locks were made with great precision, machined from brass bar stock and used pick-resistant pin-tumblers. His business was built so well that not only did it survive the great depression, but in 1932 he began supplying the locks for the new Ford automobiles of that year. Thus began a long relationship with Ford Motor Company.
The Chicago Cabinet Lock Company was formed in 1916 by Edward Payson Baird. For Baird, this was his third different career direction, having first been a manufacturer of clocks in Plattsburg, New York followed by a stint with the manufacturing of long distant telephone equipment in Chicago. Baird appears to have gotten his start in locks with his involvement with the King Lock Company to whom he assigned three different patents for locks and one for a key making machine.

By 1921 Baird had become dis-associated with Chicago Cabinet Lock Company which showed new officers - W. C. Shinn as president, and L. B. Shinn as secretary. At the same time, E. P. Baird had formed yet another new lock company, Baird Lock Company.
The Baird Lock Company first appeared about 1921 and was involved in the manufacture of automobile accessory locks. This was Edward Baird's third foray into lock manufacturing, having been first involved with King Lock Company and Chicago Cabinet Lock company.

Edward Baird died in 1929. His son, Edward P. Baird, Jr. had died in 1922 while still in college. It appears that Baird Lock Company was a victim of poor estate planning and died with Baird.
The Best Lock Company of Chicago first appears in 1923. One of the four principals was August Manteufel, an engineer who had earlier been with Chicago Cabinet Lock. Best Lock made double-sided wafer locks for the automobile accessory trade. While still in business in 1928, the company was probably an early casualty of the depression which began in 1929. William C Shinn had been a successful manufacturer of lightning rods in Nebraska before he moved his family to Chicago in the teens. By 1920 he had expanded into the manufacturing of copper cable there. In 1921 he and his son Lyle had become president and secretary, respectively, of the Chicago Cabinet Lock Company. In 1924 the two were still president and secretary, but the company had a new name, Chicago Lock Company.

The acquisition and transfer period, 1921 to 1924 also saw the end of King Lock Company. Evidence suggests that the Shinns may have acquired at least some of the assets of King Lock Company during this time.

In the ensuing years not only did the Shinns show their management skills, but they also contributed with their engineering skills, receiving patents for several locks.
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