Yale & Towne Manufacturing Co., Stamford, Connecticut - 3
movements, Type B
In 1887, Yale patented a time lock design that would mark a new direction for
Yale and, eventually, the entire time lock industry: its Type B and Type C time
locks, which went into production in 1888. Based on pocket watch movements
rather than on the larger clock movements of the Pin Dials, these smaller-format
movements were inherently suited to be individually replaceable or "modular"
movements. These were also the smallest format three movement time locks made to
that time. Yale would not have a smaller three movement design for bolt dog
release until the model T321 introduced about 1900 and would never surpass the
compact Yale C and E designs for the automatic release function. No other time
lock manufacturer made a smaller three movement lock.
The line of Yale Type B through E and EE time locks pictured,
upper row from left to right. The lower row shows A and G.
Only the Type B through EE series went into production.
The A was a unique patent prototype
piece and was never slated for production. The G was only made as
salesman's samples. At the present time only one Type
C, EE and complete G has been found. Like the EE shown, Yale did make one or
two BB, and three DD locks, none of which are known to survive. There were
no records of a CC being made. These facts makes this collection unique in that it
contains the most complete set of all the examples extant. No records for or examples of
a Type F are known.
The second photo shows the knurling around the movement base for the operator to
grip onto when turning the base. This is not an easy task since it takes
quite a bit of torque to turn the three main springs simultaneously; furthermore
the four plate mounting posts and the case hinge wall make getting a grip and
turning the movement plate more than a few degrees at a time very difficult.
The Yale Type B time lock, demonstration of winding and
setting the movement.
The Type B and Type C were introduced simultaneously in
1888. The patent drawings here illustrate the Type B with the release
designed to operate on the safe's bolt work. Here the introduction of
standard pocket watch movements was illustrated. It was known right away
that the power supply contained in a regular pocket watch would be
insufficient for use in a time lock. The first issue being duration, whereas
a pocket watch was meant to be wound daily, a time lock needed to have
typically seventy-two hours. The second being that of the power needed to
operate the time lock release mechanism. A quote from the patent abstract
addresses this issue as well as the economics involved. "We take an
ordinary one day watch movement and remove its mainspring...and is provided
a pinion which gears with a wheel upon a spring arbor within a spring barrel
containing a strong spring which will cause the time movement to run a much
longer period - for example seventy-two hours with one turn of the
mainspring arbor. ...and with force enough to operate a time lock." And
now for the economics. "By this modification of an ordinary one-day
watch movement we are able to quickly and satisfactorily produce a time lock
movement at a materially-reduced cost, and time lock manufacturers are
enabled to buy their time lock movements in the open market, and alter them,
as described, for use, which is a great practical convenience and economy."The movement chosen was a size #14, model 84 by American Waltham
Watch Co. The damascene design indicates that these were the "Hillside"
grade. It turns out that the Waltham movements used in the series B
through C were not completely "off the shelf" movements that just had their
mainsprings substituted for a larger one. Each movement had to be
retrofitted with a special wheel that substituted for the regular one in the
movement that was adjacent to the original spring barrel. This wheel had a longer arbor that
went past the lower movement plate with a pinion at the lower end that
connected to the new spring winding gear, and which was held with a
specially made cock at that end secured to the lower movement plate.
The economics of servicing is not mentioned and this may
be because at this point interchangeability was not yet achievable and this is evidenced by
the fact that the individual movements and base plate locations are
numbered. In the end, Yale abandoned the use of pocket watch movements for
their time locks after the Type B through E series. But others, a few years
later did, notably, the Consolidated Time Lock Co. began this
practice around 1904
until their bankruptcy in 1927 and the Victor Safe and Lock Co.'s
Banker's Dustproof line, in 1906 which was
later acquired by the Mosler Safe Co. which
continued this method throughout their production life until their
bankruptcy on 2001. The design of those time lock models allowed the use of
unaltered pocket watch movements with true interchangeability.
An interesting feature is illustrated by Fig. 10 on the
second sheet. This is a winding key which was meant to fit into a pinion
that would mesh on the toothed rim of the rotating movement base plate. This
would have provided a more accurate and easy winding of the time lock and
would have eliminated the back lash inherent in the production model.
Unfortunately the pinion and toothed base rim was never incorporated and the
operator wound the base counterclockwise directly. A weak design, which was
later corrected in the Type D and E using a central winding key. Had they
retained this feature the Type D and E may not have had to be made.
The first photo is a view of the underside of the movement mounting plate with
the release set off pin located at the 12 o'clock position; next the small
setting dial and difficult to read dial numbers around the beveled edge.
The main components of the Type B. Next the rear side of the inner plate showing
the bolt dogging lever. The lever is spring-loaded in the dogged, or on guard
position as shown. The lever shown by the red arrow has a pin that protrudes
through the plate and contacts a pin on the rotating movement table. When the
time lock winds to zero the lever is pushed to the left by the pin in the
rotating table and the bolt dog which sits atop the end of the lever where the
black arrow is positioned, is allowed to slide downward allowing the bolt pass
by the dog and putting the lock off guard.
This style of time lock from Yale using Waltham pocket
watch movements was first introduced via their Type B (pictured above) and Type
C in 1888. The Type B and
C were supplanted by the Type D and Type E about a year later.
With the exception of one much earlier and limited example by Holbrook's
Automatic time lock of 1858, this was the first time that a time lock maker
introduced the use of modular movements and it was soon to become the standard
way of outfitting time locks. The actual replacement of each movement in this
lock was still somewhat difficult compared to the 'drop in' designs which would
follow on later. However, the movements still could be swapped out on the bank
premises in much less time than a repair of an individual movement would need. This was the first and last
time Yale used an OEM pocket watch movement in their time locks. The fact that
the movements were beautifully damascened and gold gilt and the unique case and operating
design and look makes this lock one of
the more visually interesting.
The main differences between the earlier and later designs are the ways the
watch movements were wound and the setting time was set and read. On the earlier
models the watch movements were wound by the operator turning the entire disk
containing those movements counterclockwise. One can see the knurling around
this part in the sixth photo to facilitate the grip of one's hand to turn the
movement disk. The seventh photo clearly show how the
gearing located on the reverse side of the movement disk accomplishes this. The
eighth photo depict the fixed read out dial hand that shows the
setting time as engraved on the movement disk. A big disadvantage to this design
is the fact that there is no chance to correct for overwinding since all three
movements are wound simultaneously. Consequently Yale's instructions noted
specifically that the user "must be careful when winding to to turn the cylinder
to the left to take up the recoil of the springs, and to leave the desired mark
standing exactly opposite the pointer". But with the risk of the inconvenience
of overwinding was so high that Yale soon included an overwinding correction pin hole
at the six and nineteen hour marks. Should the user overwind, a special pin was
placed in the six hour hole. The dial would then be turned to the intended
number of hours plus six, and as long as the pin was in place the lock would
open when the movements ran down to six rather than zero. The nineteen hour hole
worked in the same fashion. (1) I have seen an
example of the Type B with those over winding protection pins. However those
overwinding protection pins and their corresponding holes are not present on
this lock. It must have been produced before incorporation of that feature. With
a case number of 2B it conceivably could have been the second example of the
Type B produced.
A copy of the original instructions provided by Yale for the type B lock.
Yale Type B, 1888.
The Yale Type B was the model which used a bolt dog to stop the safe bolts
from being withdrawn. The company of E. Howard & Co. and later, after 1902,
Seth Thomas supplied nearly all of the movements for Yale time locks (until
the 1950's when movements from Switzerland were used). An exception are the
Yale Type B through G
models which used a modified version of a pocket watch; size #14, model 84
movements by American Waltham Watch Co. A smaller Waltham movement was also later extensively
used in Mosler time
locks. The movements were designed with anti-magnetic qualities - cutting
edge technology for the day. Yale sold a total of 18 Type B's between
December 1888 and June 1890. Yale introduced the Type D in May 1889 to
correct for some of the design deficiencies in the Type B. Soon after the
introduction of the D, Yale had an active campaign to replace the earlier
model locks; destroying the old ones; making those very rare. Serial numbering appears to go up
to 44. This being one of two known examples. 4.5"w X 5"h x 3"d. Case #2B,
movement plate #26, movements, #3509728, #3509757, #4323326. file
An interesting aside is the fact that both Seth Thomas and E.
Howard were companies that made a full line of clocks and watches. From large tower clocks
(for public buildings) to domestic clocks to watches as well as movements for time locks.
Click here to see a medium sized Seth Thomas and Howard tower clock.
(1) American Genius - Nineteenth Century Bank
Locks and Time Locks, John and David Erroll, pp.