How It All Started
Framon Manufacturing Company, Inc., was founded by Frank and Barbara Agius, officially in 1971. Below is a short history of the company and some of our major milestones (among other events!). Frank passed away in May of 2003 and Barb in January of 2021. The company was passed on to their children in 1995 after Frank’s retirement. In addition to the manufacturing business, the family locksmith shop, which has also evolved into doors, hardware and automatic operators, continues to operate in the same building. Besides one machinist, all Framon employees also work daily in the locksmith shop and test our new products there regularly. Visit the Frank’s Key & Lock Shop website – www.frankskeyandlock.com! Enjoy our new catalog and thanks for your interest in Framon products.
Framon Manufacturing Company, Inc
1955 – Frank & Barb Agius move to Alpena, Michigan from Detroit. Frank opens his own cabinetry business with Barb helping out with bookkeeping duties
1959 – As the need for custom cabinetry begins to wind down, Frank becomes interested in lock work at the suggestion of one of his salesmen. He takes Leonard Singer’s correspondence course and begins his career as a locksmith.
1967 – Unhappy with the machinery available to him, Frank designs a key origination machine for his own use. The original machine would become known as the Framon #1 Code Machine. Frank begins work to patent the new invention.
1970-71 – Word of Frank’s invention spreads and catches the ear of Sam Solomon, owner of Hugo Solomon & Sons, a locksmith supply company in Detroit. Sam and Frank agree to form a company and market the machine. Putting their names together, “Framon Manufacturing Company” is born. Several of Frank’s business associates invest in the company. The first production machine is sold to W E Phillips in New York. Framon is operated out of the family’s home in Alpena along with “Frank’s Key & Lock Shop”.
1975 – With the introduction of Medeco keys that utilize rotating pins, Frank modifies the machine to be able to make angled cuts. The Framon “#2 Dual Code Machine” is produced concurrently with the #1 fixed-spindle version. The #2 will quickly begin to outsell the #1 machine and become the company’s flagship machine for over 45 years.
1982 – After a decade of promoting his new code machine, Frank turns his attention to tubular keys. The TKM-100 machine is designed and patented.
1983 – Frank recognizes the need for a new facility and purchses property at 909 W Washington Avenue in Alpena which would be the company headquarters for almost 40 years.
1985 – Frank joins forces with Bill Reed of the Locksmith Ledger and begins touring the country providing free education to locksmiths. The “Frank and Bill Show” makes stops throughout the United States, Canada and Europe over the next 20 years. Other experts in the field will join up with the pair, including Hank Spicer, Steve Young, Gerry Finch, Jerry McNickle, Mark Miller, Michael Miller, Gale Johnson and Joe Bucha. The educational program will eventually be known as “Ledgerworld” and make more than 300 stops, educating almost 10,000 locksmiths at no cost.
1986 – Recognizing the need for an accurate flat steel duplicator, the DBM-1 flat steel key duplicator is invented. Framon now has three code machine offerings and a duplicator.
1987 – A full machine shop is added to the 909 Washington property so almost all production is done in-house. A Fadal CNC machining center is purchased as well as other basic machinery. Frank buys back all of the stock of the company, which is now family owned and operated.
1988 – Assa High Security Locks contracts with Framon to produce a dedicated machine to cut their Twin 6000 keys. The modified Framon #2 machine would be known as the PS-6000T. At this time Framon also introduces a new patented machine, the DC-300. The machine will code cut and duplicate edge cut keys utilizing space keys and depth cams. Several companies in the UK order the machine for their end users.
1990 – With the introduction of high security automotive keys, Frank works jointly with his engineer Darrel Sims to produce a small milling machine to be known as the Sidewinder duplicating machine.
1992 – Framon’s first semi-automatic duplicator for cylinder keys is introduced, known as the Express.
1990’s – Throughout the 90’s Framon introduces several locksmith tools and continue to be a leading locksmith supplier. Trade shows and education continue to be strongholds for the company.
1995 – Frank Agius retires and turns the company over to his two sons and daughter.
1997 – The KX-1 Code Machine replaces the Assa PS-6000T, adding functionality so that a user can change from one manufacturer to another with replacable cams, cutters and vises. Framon jumps into the automatic key cutting market with their first version of the FRA-2001 Computer Driven Code Machine. The machine will originate almost any edge cut key in the market.
2000’s – The turn of the century sees Framon spread into the automotive industry, competing with giants such as Curtis, Ilco, and Silca. Framon grows as a supplier of key machines for the detention industry.
2000 – The MD-1 Manual Key Duplicator is introduced. At this time Framon establishes a relationship that will last more than two decades with Gale Johnson. Gale was given permission to turn the famed Reed Code System into a computer program originally known as Computext, which was sold by the Locksmith Ledger. With the Ledger being sold, Gale and Framon partner up to turn the program into a Windows version. Thousands of locksmiths around the globe utilize the program to retrieve key codes. The program will eventually be known as “Genericode” or simply “Gcode”. Gale would pass away in early 2021 with Framon purchasing his share from his family.
2010 – Framon introduces the JD-12 duplicator for paracentric and mogul-style detention keys.
2014 – Framon partners with Laser Key Products to provide codes for their line of automatic key machines. Gcode is modified to send cutting information to the 3-D Pro, Xtreme and eventually the Elite.
2015 – Framon purchases the assets of the Blue Dog Key Company, after owner Liam Gribben passes away. Framon will move the company to Michigan, expand the product line and set up an online catalog to assist in “odd key” searches.
2018 – After almost 40 years in the same location, Framon moves to a new 6600 square foot building on the main street of Alpena. Frank’s Key & Lock Shop and Framon continue to share the same building and complement each other as sister companies. Product development is largely driven by needs from the lock shop.