Mosler Safe Company, Hamilton, Ohio - 4 movements

Back Up Next 






A. Type 1, 1916. This is a very early and rare example from the Mosler Safe Company. Their first offering was this four movement model that featured a gold-plated door with a crackle jeweled finish and this is the distinguishing characteristic for a Type 1. This feature was used only for one year and by 1917 was replaced with a satin smooth bronze case. That style was replaced in less than a year with the familiar satin silver finish similar to that in example B. Around 1902 with the sale of E. Howard & Co. to the Keystone Watch Case Company, E. Howard exited the time lock business. However, unlike most time lock companies that used either E. Howard or Seth Thomas movements, this company used 18-size Model #4 pocket watch movements supplied by the Illinois Watch Company. The movements had a separate crystal covering the watch movements much like on a conventional pocket watch providing exceptional protection from contamination compared to other time lock movements. Bankers Dustproof Time Lock Co. was another company that used movements supplied by Illinois Watch Company. This was probably not coincidental since Banker's disappeared as a brand in 1915 and Mosler Safe Co. appeared in 1916 based on designs very similar to that of Bankers. After 1932 Mosler switched to American Waltham Co. 16-size pocket watch movements. Mosler Safe Co. was the result of a series of consolidations of earlier companies including Mosler Safe and Lock Co., Mosler Bahmann and Bankers Dustproof Time Lock Co. That company emerged in 1917. In addition to the protection given the watch movements by a glass crystal fitted over them, the movements can be wound without having to open the door by sliding the lever to open the winding holes. These features result in Mosler movements being some of the best in surviving condition

No production records exist for this model of Mosler time lock, but it is thought that over a hundred were made. The case numbering appears to have been initiated at #3000. According to Mr. Erroll's book written in 2006, only one example was known to survive. As of now, with this specimen, I know of three. 7 3/4"w x 5"h x 2 7/8"d, case#3056. (1) file 137

B. c. 1919-1920. Same configuration as in example 'A', but with a nickel satin case and the movements have the location of the Mosler company as Hamilton, O. This designation was only used for about one year, making this a fairly rare model. 7 3/4"w x 5"h x 3 1/4"d. Case #6712. file 6

C. c. 1940-1949. Same configuration as example 'B' above but the movements are a rare longer duration for 120 hours rather than the standard 72 hours seen on all other versions. The 120 hour small-dial movement with the Covington, KY designation was available between 1940-1949. During this time some other manufacturers offered their time locks in an optional longer duration. Other examples are from Diebold and Yale. But it was expensive and moreover very few banks saw the need for these since 120 hours covers five full days. Only the largest vault doors would have used a four movement lock and these would nearly all be commercial banks rather than a private entity. Notice in the fourth photo the additional two spur gears. These are not present in the 72 hour movements as seen in examples 'A' and 'B'. Also note the dial pointer's tail has been altered into a 'c' shape rather than being an 'o' that would fit completely around the winding arbor in the 72 hour versions. Mosler simply took the standard 72 hour dial pointer and cut the lower portion away rather than making an entirely new part for the limited number of movements that would be equipped with the longer duration option. In the standard 72 hour versions that winding arbor has a gear cog that meshes directly with the toothed dial. But here it is moved slightly away and downward from the dial so it does not directly engage the dial, but instead the first spur gear immediately to the right which, in turn meshes with a second gear and this meshes with the dial. 7 3/4"w x 5"h x 3 1/4"d. Case #6904 file 208

D. c. 1966-1996. By this time all time lock makers were sourcing their time lock movements from Switzerland where these could be made for less expense than in the United States. Mosler had been sold to American Standard Companies in 1967. The division was then resold to a group of Mosler managers and outside investors in 1986 and ceased the time lock business in 1996. Mosler entered bankruptcy in 2001 and Diebold subsequently announced programs to support former Mosler customers and ended up buying much of the former company in bankruptcy court a few months later. Case #14112. file 249

Below a large round type vault door with a Mosler quad movement time lock. The second photo shows a relatively small vault door to have a four movement time lock. One would expect a three movement lock in this application. Last another vault made by the Hollar Safe Co.

  Mosler 4 mvt in vault door.jpg (118790 bytes)  Mosler in vault door2.jpg (118394 bytes)


Back Up Next

(1) American Genius Nineteenth Century Bank Locks and Time Locks, David Erroll & John Erroll, pg 324.