Hollar Lock Inspection and
Guarantee Company, Model 2
Model 2. Circa 1898. This small company used the earliest 'M'
sized movements supplied by Seth Thomas about the time E. Howard exited the time lock
business in 1896. This example also has a set of the very rare 96 hour version of the
standard 72 hour design. It was thought that there were only three of these movements
existing until this example with four was found with a complete and consecutive
set. This company's unique design
incorporated an electrical device (located behind the top front logo plate ) that
could, in case of an emergency, allow the time locks to be rewound without having to open
the vault door. This could be useful in the case of a civil catastrophe such as riot
or fire. an occurrence that Bankers of the 1890's would have been aware of,
having seen recent unrest from such issues as race and labor organization as
well as earlier concerns such as the Civil War draft. Apparently this was not a feature that the market felt justified the extra cost.
Less than 100 Hollar locks were made in two design formats of which only two of each
format are known to survive. Given the many similarities in the case design and the fact
that Hollar's movements were interchangeable with Yale's, and indeed the
Model 1 was equipped with Yale insignia movements, the locks were certainly
supplied by Yale.
Just as Hollar designed, but did not fabricate safes and vaults, it appears
that this too was the case with its time lock. Later Yale would help out
another new entrant into the time lock market,
Mosler Safe Co.
in 1916. Case #362, movements consecutively
numbered M.H. 69, M.H. 70, M.H. 71, M.H. 72. The M.H. designation for the 'M' size and 'H'
for Hollar. 9.5"w x 9"h x 4"d. file 11
An article from Scientific American April 21, 1906
(see below), explained the value of Hollar's winding device: "Should conditions
arise, however, which would, in the opinions of the proper custodians of the
vault, justify them in keeping the vault locked for any additional number of
hours, beyond the time for which it was originally set, this can be
accomplished without opening the vault doors, and without anyone having to
access the locks. The value of this feature may be illustrated when the
contingency of fire or or riot is considered, for in either case it would be
undesirable to permit the action of the time lock mechanism to make possible
the unlocking of the vault. Under these conditions, all that would be
necessary would be to simply close a switch, when the time lock movements
would be electrically rewound, thereby preventing the opening of the doors
until the expiration of the added number of hours."
The first two photos below show a Hollar v.2 mounted to a Hollar vault door.
Notice the case color is the standard Yale silver finish. This is not so
surprising as Hollar had always subcontracted their time lock movements to
the Yale company. But this is the first example of the silver finish this
author has seen. Note that the cover plate at the top where the rewinding
drive coil is located is missing, it is likely that the electrical rewind
feature has now been disabled. Photos courtesy of Paul Broughton.
Next are photos of three vault doors with a Yale
Quad N using the Hollar Electric Winding Mechanism, (smaller case mounted
above the Yale time lock).
The first three photos show a round door style that was built by the
Hall Safe and Lock Company. The close up in the third photo shows the
separate electric controller on top of the four movement Yale Quad N. This unit
is what does the remote winding of that time lock. The second installation
is another Hollar design built by L.H. Miller Safe and Iron Works. It appears to have a Yale Quad
style time lock that has been retrofitted with four much later Swiss
movements and using the smaller size 'L' in place of the original, larger
'M' size movements. The third by the Detroit Safe Company
uses Hollar's first time lock design, the Model 1. All use a Yale automatic bolt motor.
What's interesting about all of these examples is the fact that Hollar makes
sure by prominent signage that they are the designers of each of these
vaults. Hollar, unlike many other time lock makers was also involved in safe
and vault design but did not actually fabricate them. Hall, Diebold and Mosler are other examples of time lock
makers who were also not only designers but also builders of safe and
Below is an example of what now is a Yale Quad N fitted with Hollar's emergency
rewinding device. An interesting observation is the fact that the
M-movements have a 120 hour duration
and was a later retrofit of the 96 or 72 hour movements by Yale. Also note
that all the movements are identical. The special rewinding mechanism
located in the third movement plate location has been replaced with a
regular movement and the glass has been replaced with no holes for winding
eyelets. This means the auxiliary Hollar rewinding mechanism located on top
is no longer functional and the lock now operates like a Yale Quad N. The
winder is left in place so as not to disturb the look of the door. A vault
door with missing parts does not instill confidence!
Most complex or otherwise esoteric time locks like the Hollar, Holms and
Consolidated Dual Guard have either been modified or replaced as time went
on and their reliability or serviceability became problematic. In the case
of Hollar it was especially easy to convert the lock to a Yale Quad N by
replacing the third winding mechanism with a regular third movement and the
Hollar snubber bar with the Yale counterpart, so few unaltered examples of
the Hollar survive.
This photo shows a Hollar vault with a Yale Quad N that has had its original
M-sized movements replaced with a set of smaller modern, Swiss-made Yale
L-movements. The automatic bolt motor has a beautiful bevel glass insert in
place of the solid name plate. This is the only example this author has ever
seen of this style, but an illustration of this type appears in a 1908
catalog. It is interesting that the owners are confident that the weaker,
smaller movements have sufficient power to trip the bolt motor. The entire
rationale for the Quad N was its having the larger, stronger M-movements to
ensure the motor's release. At least this was the marketing rational from
Yale. In reality it took a very small amount of force to trip even their
largest bolt motor and the larger scale time lock and movements were
presented to match that of the door.
These photos show a Hollar Model 1 installed in a Hollar
safe door. Note the beautiful high-relief engraving of the door components
similar to that used to decorate armaments. The time lock and bolt motor
have a curious surface spotting.
*American Genius, John & David Erroll, pp. 276.