Ohio Time Lock Co., Cincinnati, Ohio

Back Up Next

The Ohio time Lock Company was in business for only two years from 1914 until 1916 when the Mosler Safe Company (not to be confused with the Mosler Safe and Lock Company) bought the firm. Mosler wanted to enter the time lock business and instead of developing a product from scratch used some of the case and bolt dog features developed by the Ohio Time Lock Company in its line of time locks. Following this page is the Mosler Safe Company line of time locks.

c. 1915. The time lock uses two South Bend Watch Company, South Bend, IN movements in a rather sophisticated mechanical movement as depicted by the patent drawings below. This particular time lock was in the company collection of Sargent & Greenleaf. That firm collected time locks from all sources since their inception in 1865 until Harry C. Miller bought a controlling interest in the mid 1950's. That collection is now part of the Harry C. Miller collection in Nicholasville, KY. Several years ago his son, Clay Miller traded this lock in a swap with a private collector and from this collector it has come to this author. The Miller collection is reputed to be the largest collection of modern and antique locks with over 12,000 items, including locks of virtually every known description and dating to the 14th century. Some of which are on display at the Nicholasville location.

The Ohio time Lock Company was in business for only two years from 1914 until 1916 when the Mosler Safe Company bought it. Mosler wanted to enter the time lock business and instead of developing a product from scratch used some of the case and bolt dog features developed by the Ohio Time Lock Company in its line of time locks. Because of the company's brief existence very few time locks were produced and only two known examples from this maker are known at this time. Case #210, 4 1/4 x 4 3/4 x 2 3/4. file 190




The spring-driven bolt dogging system used by Ohio Time Lock is, for a compact design that cannot avail itself of a gravity driven drop bolt, one of the best designed and engineered I've encountered. I believe it was for this feature Mosler bought the Ohio Time Lock Company.


This video shows a demonstration of the bolt dogging and manual override system for this lock.


The movement mounting frame is equipped with dampening springs to prevent damage to the movements in the event of outside interference in the form of impacts or explosive devices. By this time all time lock makers had some type of similar spring assembly for this purpose. Some, like Yale, used springs on both sides of the frame thus isolating the frame from the screws securing the frame to the time lock case.

The first photo shows a Sargent & Greenleaf model Triple H, c. 1900. The Ohio example appears to have copied the dial pointer design from the H style of movements. The next two photos are from a Banker's Dustproof time lock c. 1909. The bezel ring for the watch crystal is identical to the ones used in the Ohio lock. Notice in the third photo the parallel vertical etched lines on the movement front plate and their similarity to those on the Ohio movements. Also the door lock mechanism is nearly identical between the two.


O.F. Mieth received patent #978325 dated Dec 13, 1910. he assigned two quarters of this patent to individuals which can be read about in those papers. illustration is shown here. He also received patent #1,105,286 dated July 28,1914 which was assigned to the Ohio Time Lock Co. of Cincinnati Ohio. These patents show the essential construction of the movements and cases which received some improvements from Mosler but became the basis for an entire line of 20 years of Mosler time locks. Somewhere in my paperwork is an acquisition of this company by Mosler before 1916 when Mosler launched its time lock production. Mosler must have had all this in place for a while to be able to launch in 1916. If you look at all the Mieth drawings you will see the Mosler time lock construction. The model captures this. I believe Mosler bought Ohio in 1914 which would account for so few examples in existence. (1)

The patent drawings depict the manual override mechanism nearly identical to that which appear in this example. However, the bolt dogging mechanism appears to be designed for a release from the bottom of the case, perhaps for use in conjunction with an external automatic bolt motor. Whereas the example illustrated here is for use with manually operated bolt work as evidenced by the hole in the right hand side of the case. Mosler Safe Co. (not to be confused with Mosler Safe & Lock) did not see fit to use the movement design of Ohio. Their design used a rectangular movement plate and movements supplied by the Illinois Watch Company. The author has not had the opportunity to disassemble one of the time locks, but if it is constructed like that depicted in the patent drawing it is of a very different design from not only Mosler's movements but any I have encountered, the main reason being the helical gear and worm drive system.



Shown here is a curious time lock movement by the Ohio Time Lock Company. It is a smaller version of their movements and features a cast top plate in three dimensions. Time lock movements are generally constructed like a watch or even small clock movement in the manner of a plate-and-spacer design where all the wheel works are contained between two movement plates held together by spacers. Often the escapement and balance wheel are on a subsidiary module known as a platform, thus the term 'platform escapement'. It appears that the same caliber of South Bend watch was used in both with the smaller having the piggy-backed upon the watch movement. The aluminum case it is mounted in is not a typical shipping container for movements of the time which were simple cardboard boxes. This was obviously a salesman's sample display. No application for this movement is known in any extant time lock. The logo lettering is identical to that on the door of another example below.


The example shown above is the only other known to this author and is displayed in the Harry C. Miller lock museum in Nicholasville KY. It is unknown what the large winding square is located just below the left hand movement is for. The first idea to come to mind is that it is to wind a spring for an automatic bolt motor actuator and this is supported by the fact that no hole appears to be present on either side of the case for a manual bolt to slide through. Perhaps the connection for the external motor had been removed from the bottom of the case.

(1) Correspondence dated 8/21/2016, John Erroll

Back Up Next