Skip to content
Key Programming | The Surprising Start of Key Programming Tools

Key Programming | The Surprising Start of Key Programming Tools

The aftermarket key programming industry, today is enormous. It’s kind of blossomed up to the locksmithing industry, and it's widespread today to find automotive locksmiths who program keys for cars. Now, they're going to do this with a machine that can program many different makes and models of vehicles. But the multi-vehicle programming tool was started in 1997 by a company called Elme.

They created the world's first key and remote programming device called the TCL-1, and here it is. This thing right here came out in 1997.

 TCL-1 Key Programming Tool

It starts to get interesting is in 2002, Elme and Advanced Diagnostics formed a partnership and came out with the first-ever T-Code. I'm sure you've probably heard of the T-Code before. It's been one of the primary programming devices in the automotive locksmithing industry for years now, and it all started in 2002.

 T-Code Created by Elme

And as what they did, as you can see here, they put a sticker over the front here, and it's still to this day, it's kind of sticky here because the sticker was on there for so long. But what they did is they just rebranded, repackaged this TCL-1 as a T-Code.

 TCL-1 - T-Code

Now, they only kept this machine around for a short while after, and they eventually transitioned it into the T-Code classic is what we call it today. At that point in about 2007 is when the T-Code Pro was released, and that was, in my opinion, kind of were like everything started to take off: the multi-vehicle key programming, the tokens were introduced shortly after that, and at that point, it just started escalating and going into now, the industry that we know of today, but I just really wanted to share this TCL-1 and just the start of the automotive locksmithing industry for programming keys.

 T-Code Pro

TCL-1 Key Programmer

Have you guys ever programmed with one of this TCL-1? I'd love to know in the comments below. Thanks for watching, and we'll see you next time!

Previous article Locksmith Tip | Key Cutting Machine Trick for keys that won't sit flat