Massachusetts entrepreneur Michael Zane purchased a bicycle lock design and its trade name, "Kryptonite lock," in 1972. Working with members of his family, Zane developed the Kryptonite Corporation from a tiny start-up into an internationally recognized business. Ingersoll-Rand, a leading industrial firm, purchased Kryptonite in 2001. In its early years, Kryptonite's marketing efforts relied on Zane's face-to-face meetings with bicycle store managers, extensive publicity (including placement in New York's Museum of Modern Art), and very limited (but highly creative) advertising. In response to increasingly sophisticated bicycle thieves, Kryptonite made regular changes in its U-lock design. In the later 1970s, Kryptonite diversified its product lines to include a wide range of locking devices for motorcycles, automobiles, and computers.
These records document a wide spectrum of company activities. They consists of audio-visual materials, correspondence, design drawings, photographs, testing records, patent information, sales reports, product information, advertisements, clippings, periodicals, legal documents, and research files. The strength of the collection resides in the marketing and sales materials. They tell a remarkable story of how a small family business created an internationally recognized brand name product. The collection also richly documents competition and innovation in the bicycle and motorcycle lock industry, through sales representative trip reports, product research and development records, and research files on other companies. There are two oral history interviews with Michael Zane. Some portions of the record are sparse and incomplete.
Kryptonite Lock Company Records, 1972-2003, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Gift of Michael Stuart Zane III and Elizabeth Zane