Consolidated Time Lock Co., Cincinnati, Ohio - 2 movements, modular

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The second photo shows a very early movement used in design change that Consolidated made from their interim movements from 1902-1904 to their use of pocket watch movements around 1904. The first type used was supplied by the Elgin National Watch Co, Elgin, Illinois. The movements in this example still retain the Elgin signed movements. After the first few units were sold a second plate was secured over the Elgin name with a Consolidated name plate. The serial number of Consolidated's movement housing surrounding this watch is #22.    

A. c. 1904. First larger scale production version of Consolidated's modular time lock movements, abandoning individual time lock movements for production watch movements from Elgin National Watch Co. This new design was based on Harry Dalton's patent #775,523 dated November 22, 1904 (see below). The new design may have been motivated by the fact that the E. Howard company stopped making movements for time locks sometime in 1902. Notice the shock resistant spring mountings for each lock as well as the beginnings of interchangeable modular design that was the trend in the industry by this time. This lock has signed Elgin Nat'l Watch Co., Elgin, Illinois, movements, fifth photo. This signature was quickly replaced with Consolidated's own logo and the early numbers stamped on the movements demonstrate this. The last photo shows a Consolidated rebadged, (left) and original Elgin signed movement (right). The rebadged movements would remain with their change in movement suppliers until the demise of the company in 1906. Consolidated and it's earlier incarnation as Hall Safe & Lock paid special attention to their case decorating. Here, although the design is plain compared to their earlier models, they do a diamond crosshatch on the case sides verses square pattern for the door, third photo. Consolidated ceased production in 1906, so while this style of lock is of a later vintage than those shown with the earlier Howard movements that have the horizontally mounted balances, there were fewer of these made making them rarer. 4"w x 3 1/2"h x 2 3/8"d. Case #1271, movements stamped #22, #23. Dials numbered #8165, #8186. file 80


Harry Dalton's patent of November 11, 1904 marked a significant innovation in time lock movements. While he was not the first to use pocket watch movements within a time lock; that distinction belongs to Yale with the introduction of their Type B model in 1888. However that design incorporated three watch movements within one unit, each acting in concert to operate the lock. Aside from Holbrook's Automatic time lock of 1858 which saw such limited production that it had little effect on the trajectory of the industry, Yale's time lock was the first to introduce modularity in a production run time lock. Dalton's innovation as reflected in this patent was to take that a step further and make each pocket watch movement a self-contained modular time lock movement. He claims several advantages. The first being that this design can use any common watch movement allowing freedom from being bound to one maker. This was fresh in the minds of the time industry as E. Howard had recently exited the time lock business in 1902 after its takeover by the Keystone Watch Case Co. leaving many firms to search for alternatives. Second a pocket watch, even a common class variety will generally have a finer escapement than that found on a special-purpose time lock movement, although how useful this is in the application of a time lock is questionable. Third, he claims that by using 'off the shelf' watch movements he can produce movements at less cost than would be from a special purpose made time lock.

In reality this design gained limited acceptance in the industry. There may have been some good reasons for this. The servicing of a watch movement is much more difficult than a special-purpose time lock movement. The latter are specially designed for easy service with holes in the plates at convenient locations for lubrication and removable escapement platforms. Furthermore, the entire mechanism and all its components are twice the size of those found in a pocket watch which tends to make servicing not only easier but requires a bit less expertise.

Besides the Consolidated company one only finds this design used by Bankers Dustproof Time Lock Co., Ohio Time Lock Co., and Mosler Safe Co. This is no coincidence. Some circumstantial evidence suggests Bankers Dustproof was the result of Victor Safe Lock's purchase of Consolidated in 1906 and banker's began production in that same year; further, Bankers Dustproof movement designs were almost exactly the same as those of later consolidated modular movements, the only difference being the fixed or turning dial (1). Bankers was sold to Mosler in 1915, and the short-lived Ohio Time Lock Co. (in business two years), which shared many features from the Bankers design was also bought out by Mosler in 1916. Even Yale, the first to use pocket watches in their Model B through E series of locks never turned to pocket watches again in any of their subsequent time locks.



B. 1905-06. Consolidated made only a few locks that operated directly upon the bolt work of the door. Their locks mostly operated directly on the combination lock by blocking the fence from falling into place should the correct combination be dialed in while the time lock was still on guard and later operated with automatic bolt motors. The latter method was a fairly uncommon method of guarding the safe by any other makers. By far the most common was the use of an automatic bolt motor which would be tripped by the time lock or the use of a bolt dogging mechanism to block the bolt work from operating until the time lock went off guard. In this example an adaptor is mounted to the base of a two movement Consolidated time lock to allow it to operate on the bolt work in the conventional manner. This is evidenced by the hole in the base where the bolt work would slide through, last photo. By this time Consolidated had switched movement suppliers from Elgin National Watch Co. of Elgin, Illinois, to the South Bend Watch Co., South Bend, Indiana and the black dial format accompanied this change. This is the funkiest case this author has seen on a consolidated lock. It is a dull nickel with no attempt at a shiny surface or any surface decoration whatsoever. There is even an inscription on the base of the lock indicating "matte nickel".  This appears to have been a special, if ugly, order. 5 1/4"w (with base) x 4 1/4"h x 2 3/4"d Case #1719 file 203

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(1). American Genius - Nineteenth Century Bank Locks and Time Locks, John and David Erroll, pg. 314