Consolidated Time Lock Co., Cincinnati, Ohio - 2 movements
This video shows a consolidated time lock featuring a limited
intraday locking capability advertised by Hall and later the Consolidated as
their Infallible Chronometric Attachment™. The movement on the right is equipped with an
optional rotating arm that can be set ahead of the time that the lock would
normally go off guard. This arm when contacting the bolt dog, or in this case
combination lock dog, will put the lock on guard. In this way if one wanted to
leave the bank early, but still want the time locks to go off guard at the same
usual time the next day, one could set the arm to any number of hours ahead or
to just about immediate to coincide when one wanted to leave. It allows one to
preset the time lock before closing time.
This is an example of one of the first time locks made by Joseph Hall under the newly incorporated Consolidated Time Lock Co. in 1880. Hall needed a separate corporate entity to manufacture time locks in order to shield his existing safe and vault business from the litigious environment that surrounded the time lock business at the time. The company began operations in January 1882. This time lock can be accurately dated to 1882 because the case is slightly wider by about a three-quarter inch from all models produced after October of 1882. The forty-eight hour movements in these early time locks have a concentrically circular engine turning on the front plates, which was later replaced by the more common wavy vertical damascening. One hundred of this model were made but only two of the earliest wide-cased Consolidated time locks are known to survive. This is also the only wide cased example known to have the elaborately hand engraved side panels and floral engraving. This type of engraving was found sporadically on Consolidated and Dalton (also part of Hall's Safe & Lock Co.) cases from this period continuing though about 1886. The theme to the engravings may be the Ohio River region with subjects known to include sail boats, ducks, cranes, hunting dogs, boys fishing, and a country gentleman with a fishing rod. One can easily imagine that Mr. Hall was an avid outdoorsman and had his favorite activities immortalized on a few of his special time lock cases. The work may have been done by the same artist given the consistent appearance of the associated floral vine engraving. Eight folk art engraved examples are known. Later side panels were machine engraved in a circular guilloche pattern. This is the same lock as featured in John and Dave Erroll's book, pages 214-217. (1) The lock also has an optional intraday locking device located on the right hand movement allowing the operator to automatically put the lock on guard at any time. In this way one could leave the safe alone earlier than usual with the lock going off guard at the normally set time. See video above for a full explanation of this device. 5 7/8"w x 3"h x 2 5/8"d. Case #3021 stamped on rear with #228 stamped on door, movement #3021. file 204
B. A rare example of the original glass etched with the company logo in tact, c. 1886. Note how the balance wheels are in a horizontal position being driven by the movement train through a contrate wheel which allows for the change in position. This feature was a hallmark of the Consolidated company. A balance wheel operating in this position has less frictional force on its' arbor and thus, all other things being equal, will be more accurate. No other company used this arrangement. Joseph Hall's original firm as well as his later company, Consolidated made time locks that operated on the combination lock as opposed to the safe's bolt work; a more common approach used by other manufacturers. The cases were often decorated with geometric patterns on the sides. I have never seen two locks that had a design that was exactly alike. 5"w x 3"h x 2 5/8". Case# 6898, movement #6898. file 123
C. Same as 'A' above. One could adjust the pointer to allow the time lock to go on guard at any hour before the normal time that the safe would go off guard. For example, one could set the pointer for three hours from whatever time the time locks were currently running, lock the safe and be sure that no one else could open the safe even with the correct combination until that time. This could be done only once until the right hand timer ran out to the desired time before being reset. Another example of intraday functionality is the very complex Yale #1 which allowed one to do this exercise this capability to within one hour throughout a 24 hour period! See below an example of a Consolidated dual movement time lock in conjunction with a Hall (later Consolidated Co.) combination lock on a safe door. file 71
D. Time lock similar to that in example 'B' but this example employed the rare E.J. Woolley patent design that allowed the firm's time lock to operate in the more conventional manner, that is on the safe's bolt work instead of the combination lock, c. 1886 . This allowed for it to be used alone without a key or combination lock as was becoming popular at the time. The lock is also equipped with the rarely seen optional longer duration, 78 hour movements. Fewer than 100 were made between 1886 and 1887 and only four complete examples as shown above are known to survive.(2) Case#6412, movement #6412, all bolt work parts #73589. file 121
E. This lock displays a case in an unusually good condition, c. 1884. The surface plating of these locks commonly suffered from corrosion more often than most, perhaps due to some flaw in the plating process. This company and it's predecessor, Hall Safe & Lock, often elaborately decorated the sides of their locks with 'Spirograph' , floral or even pictorial type designs. Note the extensive use of metal engraving decoration known as damascene. Many if not most of the time lock made before the 1920's were extensively engraved and damascened. This was done to better convince the buyer that these were quality pieces of reliable machinery (which most were) to entrust the security of the vault and its' valuables. It was also a marketing tool to justify their substantial cost. Some time locks ran over $500.00 in late 1870's to early 1880's dollars! See Yale #1 and S&G #2. 4 7/8"w x 4 5/8"h x 2 5/8"d. Case #3234, movement #3234. file 38
The photos below show a Consolidated time lock on three different safe doors. The first two safes have the time lock acting upon the combination lock. The last photo shows the same type of time lock attached to a Consolidated bolt motor which allows the time lock to trip the motor and automatically throw open the bolt work. This eliminated the need for a combination lock, or a manual bolt crank; leaving the surface of the door completely solid. This eliminated the openings needed for a combination lock and bolt crank which could be used by a competent safe cracker as a venue to undermine the safe's security. The downside to this design is the fact that the safe is automatically opened at the appointed time and anyone present at that time can open the safe. So this type of configuration only worked in a secure environment.
(1) American Genius Nineteenth Century Bank Locks and Time Locks, David Erroll & John Erroll, pp 214-217.
(2) American Genius Nineteenth Century Bank Locks and Time Locks, David Erroll & John Erroll, pp 228-229.