About the Lexam 1548 Safe Lock

The Lexam 1548 combination lock that we use in our safes has a very interesting history and heritage.

The Lexam 1548 lock is based on designs originally invented by Klaus W Gartner. Klaus is also known by his angelized name Nick Gartner.

Nick Gartner father of the Lexam 1548


Nick Gartner was the Research & Development Director for Sargent and Greenleaf, one if not the most prestigious USA lock and security companies in the early 1970’s. Gartner was a forward-thinking lock designer and devised many revolutionary changes to the way locks were designed and manufactured. To this day Gartner holds in excess of 70 U.S. patents associated with lock and security products.


Sargent & Greenleaf

Halbert Greenleaf together with another security industry legend Linus Yale junior founded Yale and Greenleaf in 1857, they were joined shortly after by James Sargent. The American Civil war intervened, and the company was dissolved. Linus Yale went on to found Yale and James Sargent and Halbert Greenleaf went on to form Sargent and Greenleaf. Sargent and Greenleaf focused on research, development and innovation within the lock industry and are responsible for many innovations that we see today. Sargent and Greenleaf continue to be a major force in the global lock and security industry and are today owned by Stanley Black and Decker Inc.

Watch the Sargent & Greenleaf 150-year video here.

However innovative Sargent and Greenleaf were, Gartner decided in 1974 to found his own company. This company was based in California and was called La Gard Inc.

La Gard Inc.

La Gard went on to become a multimillion-dollar player in the lock and safe industry. Research, development and innovation were a core component of La Gard’s business model. La Gard are responsible for many of the innovative products, particularly the incorporation of electronics, we see today in the lock and safe industries. La Gard was acquired in 1997 by Masco Corporation who then passed it on to Kaba-Mas who have now become Dormakaba one of the world’s largest security product companies.

Cost Down

Gartner realised that the move to electronics would influence traditional manual mechanical locks. The traditional manual locks would need to be made to a lower cost. In the latter years at La Gard Gartner formed and association with Lexam Security Products a company based in Shanghai China. He commissioned the Lexam 1548 safe lock based on some of his original designs. This was the lock that was designed to compete on a cost basis in a market that was moving to electronics. While the designs and materials used in construction were premium, the labour to construct the lock was significantly more affordable.

Unforeseen Events

The sale of the La Gard company complicated the life of the Lexam 1548. The purchasers of La Gard did not pursue further development in the manual lock market focussing their efforts on the electronic sector and using the already well established La Gard suite of manual locks to satisfy what they saw as a shrinking market.

As Gartner owned the patents for the basis of the Lexam 1548 he authorised the production and the product was marketed as an LG 1548. LG was to signify Lexam Group not La Gard.

There has been controversy in the lock industry surrounding the Lexam 1548. People assume that the Lexam 1548 is a cheap copy of the La Gard 3390 because they are similar. This is not a coincidence. They have the same “father” and are based on the same set of patents that were awarded to Klaus W (Nick) Gartner a true pioneer in the lock industry.

Where are we now?

All of the base patents for designs used in the Lexam 1548 have expired in the last 5 – 10 years as they were originally awarded in the 1970’s.

Gartner although now in his 80’s is still active in the lock industry and founded NL Lock & Electronics which again is a leader in cutting-edge electronic lock design. Although NL Lock & Electronics is based in Europe Gartner, still resides in the United States.

As for the Lexam 1548 it continues to be the lock of choice for manual safes where cost and value are a consideration.

It is still manufactured to the same design and specifications in the Lexam Security Factory based in Shanghai China. Many thousands of the 1548 have been made over the years and give their owners hassle free service, a tribute to the locks design roots.

Find this helpful?

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