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Locksmithing 101 | Never Question Key Part Numbers Again - Key Blank History (Part 2)

Have you ever wondered why there are so many different key blank part numbers, materials, and finishes out there, making it hard to know what you need, where to start and what's going on? Well, the good news is, is we're going to cover it all in this blog.


Before we get going here, I want to make sure that if you haven't already, there's a part one; you can check it in this link. There's still a lot of information that I'm leaving out that if you're not too familiar with the history of key blanks and key blank manufacturers and part numbers, it still might be just a little confusing, so make sure you check that.


The first thing that we need to know is key blank finishes. When it comes to key blank finishes, there are four finishes out there. Maybe you are familiar with these initials. These initials are commonly seen at the end of a key or on a key blank box. You'll see the key blank number followed by the initials here. The first one is Brass with BR as its initial. NP that stands for Nickel Plated brass. This key is brass with a nickel plate on it, a silver color. The third one is NS for Nickel Silver. And last, not too familiar, is ST, and that's going to stand for Steel. It's steel with nickel-plated on top of it, so it looks essentially identical to NP, Nickel Plated key. That's something you want to kind of keep in mind when you're looking at the box.


Keep in mind what the initials stand and the pricing when you're looking at buying a key, the cheapest one is just going to be the brass key, and the most expensive one will be the nickel silver key with the nickel plate in the middle.

And then that's also going to go in line with the durability, the overall strength. Brass will be the weakest, followed by the nickel-plated brass and then the toughest key will be that nickel silver.



When it comes to the key blank manufacturer's product lines, they have the most famous lines.


Ilco has their EZline, Taylor line, and Ilco line. In EZline, there's a manageable number attached to it; it's a more popular key; otherwise, it's just going to have just an Ilco part number. Next will be Ilco's Taylor line; Taylor is the name of another manufacturer that Ilco had purchased. The Taylor line is geared towards more hardware distribution than what you're going to find at the hardware store. They're primarily brass keys, and there are only so many of them because they're meant to go into a more hardware store type of style distribution. Next is the Ilco line. The Ilco line is their standard number, their standard line. And then there's the Look-Alike line; they look identical to a Schlage key without its logo or SFIC key to look practically identical to the original best key, that sort of thing.

When we get down here into JMA, we're looking at their Quick blanks JMA keys and the Pro line. This is where the similarities are going to start. The EZline and the JMA quick blanks line are the same keys for part numbers, materials, and all of that sort of thing. So pretty much everything I said about the EZ line applies to the Quick blanks line as well. You're going to see many keys available in brass, some also available in nickel plate. For example, a lot of the automotive keys come standard is nickel plate, and many of the cylinder keys are going to come standard as Brass, BR. Next is their JMA line. JMA line is going to be their part numbering system. Last is JMA's Proline; it's the same thing as the Look-Alike line. So they're going make a Schlage key, amount of the same material as Schlage, and make it look similar to Schlage, same as best, that same sort of thing.

Let us now proceed with Jett. The Jett key blank numbers are essentially the standard key blank numbers out there. And then, finally, the Silver Line. The Silver Line the same thing as the Look-Alike line and the Pro line.

So as you can see, there are different categories of how manufacturers make the keys, and then they're all setting up their lines to compete.



The first key we'll talk about is the mailbox key, NA12. That's kind of a common term that all of us know, but when we look at it through code, the EZline will be NA12-NP. So that's a nickel-plated finish on it. The Taylor is NA12-BR, a brass, and the Ilco part number will be a 1069LB-NP. So based on the information you already know, if I were to ask you out of these three keys, 'Which one is going to be the least expensive? Which one would you guess?' If you guessed NA12-BR, the Taylor key, you are correct because it's a brass finish; it will be the least expensive. A couple of little quick facts, Ilco sells the Taylor line in boxes in 50. There are even some 250 options available, but they're not bagged per 10. There's the loose 50 in a pack. The EZ line comes in a box at 50, but they're bagged in 10s, same with the Ilco ones. And a lot of times, what you'll see on the Ilco key will say 1069LB, and it's going to have NA12. It's going to have both part numbers on it. They call the dual, the accessible line dual numbering system.

While on JMA, we look at the quick blank part number, a NA12 - BR. The JMA Part number is the NTR-2D, NP. That's a little more complicated, but once again, if we were to look at these two keys, which one would you guess would be cheaper? It's going to be the NA12-BR because it's a brass finish. And when we come down to Jett, that part number is NA12-BR. The big thing that I am trying to convey here is how manufacturers get these key blank part numbers set up to compete against each other, build a spot, which one's the least expensive, and how all that works. And on top of it if you remember the history from Part 1, Ilco names the key, and everyone follows Ilco's lead when it comes to the key blank naming. 


Let's do one more key. The next key is a very popular automotive key by Toyota; it's the TR47. With the writings on the boards, you're going to find a few things interesting. The EZline is TR47-NS, a Nickel Silver, followed by Taylor key, a TR47-NP, and then the Ilco number is TR47-NP. We'll know this key a lot of times is the X217, and that's the Taylor number. So that goes back when Ilco purchased Taylor many years ago, the Taylor Line X217. Ilco has it listed in the book both ways. So once again, if we think which one here will be the most expensive key out of these? It's going to be the nickel silver key because of the finish.

Next is the JMA, the Quick blanks part number is TR47-NP. It will be a nickel-plated key, but they also use their part number, the TOYO-15E. So anytime you see a JMA key that has an E at the end of it on the part number, that means it's the Quick blank number. It's going to be the least expensive line that JMA sells. Next, the base of the JMA route of the part number is TOYO-15 and then their Pro line version, the look-alike version, with part number TOYO-15S, S stands for similar. So, when you're looking at a JMA part number, and you see the E at the end, that's going to be the least expensive version; it's going to be a very popular key. When you start looking at the S at the end, well, that will be a similar version. 

Down to Jett, we will see the part numbers TR47-NP.

There are so many variations when it comes to just a simple key. Taking this information and understanding, it will help you navigate through a lot of the random little problems and questions that you have. It can also help you order the keys the way you want to receive them. So I hope you find this information helpful.

You have it, pretty much everything that I think you need to know about key blank part numbers, materials, and the manufacturers. Now, of course, I like to use the 80/20 principle. And so I'm trying to give you the 20% of the information that's 80% of what I believe that you should know, the stuff to use on a day to day basis. I'd love to hear some feedback in the comments below. Thank you, and we'll see you next time!

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