Consolidated Time Lock Co., Cincinnati, Ohio -
1 movement and Dual Guard
A. Model Dual Guard. A complex, and exquisitely made time lock
using Milton Dalton's patent. c. 1885. The Dalton company was another short-lived
firm as was Hall's Safe & Lock Co. and both were merged into Consolidated in 1880's.
This lock is essentially the same as when made by Dalton when it was an independent
firm in 1879 and has many unusual features. It can be set to function periodically through
the day and night as desired. It featured what the company called the Infallible Backup
combination lock and was available with an optional spring assist (seen on the right hand
side of the case). The Dual Guard's Infallible mechanism had its own specially designed
geared connection to the safe's combination spindle (located on the rear of the case).
This specially designed Infallible operated a miniature combination lock wholly included
in the time lock. The tiny lock is visible behind and to the right of the time lock's
dial. The movement was expensive to produce and wholesaled for more than the visually
impressive two-movement Yale Double Pin Dial at over $500 - a
great deal of money at the time. No other single movement time lock has as many parts or
as complicated a movement. This lock was also used in Consolidated's
Triple Guard, the most complex time lock made.
Fewer than 500 of the Dual Guard were made with less than ten known to survive.(1)
case #474, movement #1055. 4 1/2" w x 2 7/8" h x 2 3/4" d. file
This lock represents a rare variety of 'transitional' time locks.
Early locks that used both a time lock movement as well as an integral combination lock
that could be used to open the safe in case of a timer failure. This is an important
example of a short transition period that the development of time locks took. At first
total control of the opening of the vault was not quite trusted to the time lock alone.
The following is quoted from The Lure of the Lock, The John M. Mossman
Collection, "This lock is of greatest possible interest as it contains a secret
combination which can be used in case of "lockout". (Failure of the time lock).
"This combination was held by the maker until an emergency arose when it would be
telegraphed to the bank." Of course what's to prevent someone from inside the
time lock company from performing an unauthorized entry? Seems to negate the entire
purpose of the time lock in the first place. Soon, however, bankers realized the
reliability of these locks, particularly when two or more movements were used to add
redundancy, see safe door photos below.
Notice that these locks used only one movement.
The use of redundant movements obviated the need for all the complex and less reliable or
secure backup approaches. It should be noted that in the entire history of the use of
factory installed time locks with redundant movements, when the lock was properly used and
serviced, and in the absence of tampering or efforts at forced entry to the safe, there
has never been a total failure of a time lock resulting in the door being unable to be
B. Single movement Consolidated lock, c. 1886. This is an example
in outstanding condition. The case is in very good condition with the nickel plating in
very good condition. Likewise the movement is nearly pristine. Both are in unusually good
condition since the Consolidated time lock cases were particularly prone to corrosion of
the nickel plate and the movement plates are rarely as shiny as this one. Notice the
circular damascene design on the movement plate contrasting with that on the single
movement lock, "B", directly above it. Consolidated varied their damascene
designs on both the movement plates as well as their cases throughout production. Case
#4126, movement #4126, 3 5/8" w x 3 1/8" h x 2 5/8" d. file
Below are photos of a Consolidated time lock with two movements,
offering the redundancy necessary to eliminate the need for an emergency lockout procedure.
(1) American Genius Nineteenth
Century Bank Locks and Time Locks, David Erroll & John Erroll, pp 234-235.