Consolidated Time Lock Co., Cincinnati, Ohio - 1 movement, Dalton Triple Guard Time & Permutation Combination Lock

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The Triple guard consisted of two interconnected components, the Dalton Dual Guard time lock and Dalton's permutation combination lock mounted below. Milton was awarded a patent for this design, see diagram below.


The first photo shows the time lock component of the Triple Guard. It is a Dalton Milton Dual Guard time lock with an integral combination lock. The second photo shows the permutation combination lock.


These two photos show the same two interrelated components with the doors open and covers off, repectively.





These bare movement photos are of different but identical movement #727. It has a triple plate design, that is there are two parallel plates between which much of the movement wheel works is mounted and a second area for many of the mechanisms controlling levers. What makes this design so interesting is the multiplicity of those levers mounted above the front plate. The on-board programmable, miniature permutation lock can be seen in the first and third photos.


This video is a description of the Dalton Dual Guard time and combination lock made by the Consolidated Time Lock Co. in 1885. It was the most complex and expensive stand-alone time lock until it's incorporation into the Dalton Dalton Triple Guard in 1888. While this lock is based on the patent awarded to Milton Dalton, the design described in the patent is quite different from the production model to the point that it was only marginally helpful in ascertaining the functionality of the lock.

The Dalton Triple guard was the most expensive and complex time lock ever produced and cost just over $600.00 or about $15,500 today. Both of these attributes lead to the very limited production of this lock, with only two known to survive of maybe eight produced. This author finds it hard to believe that such a mechanism could actually be produced today for anything close to $15,500. My guess would be close to five to ten time that amount and that is assuming that the tooling and production for this model was already in place, not an estimate to make such an example from scratch.

A circular from the Consolidated company of 1884, below, describes the incredible features of this lock (3). After reading it, one wonders if it can also serve up breakfast!

It can unlock when the specified hour arrives without the setting of any combination; or if desired setting the combination at that hour may be required. It permits one, or may require two persons to set up the combinations and unlock after the timer has released its control. It is wound until a stop is felt; this sets it exactly right even in the dark; over winding is impossible. It will permit unlocking on Sundays or holidays at any selected hour, and for two hours after, and then will resume its guard automatically; or it can prevent any unlocking on these days. It can assume its control immediately after closing, and prevent unlocking; or it can automatically assume this control at any desired hour after winding. No other lock is required on the door, as it performs all the functions of both a timer and combination lock. The Dual Time Lock can be used as a time attachment if desired, controlling any combination lock. The Dual Time Lock can be applied in such a manner as an attachment to a combination lock, as to prevent unlocking by the cashier and his assistants in charge of the regular combination, until the specified hour; but by means of a second combination, secretly in possession of the proprietor, unlocking at any time may be effected in case of a conflagration or other great emergency. With this lock you may instantly reduce its power (by moving a button) from four combinations to three, two or one, or may cut off all combinations, making the lock only a slide bolt. Should the time movement stop, break or from any cause act improperly, the banker is not permanently locked out, but has a means of access by the combination mechanism, which can be used after the predetermined hour. It can be arranged that in a case like this the cooperation of two, three or four persons is necessary in order to unlock. Of course this combination mechanism is not effective except when the timer is off guard, or in case of a lock-out. Should the combination mechanism break, or by any means become inoperative, the banker is not permanently locked out, but has a means of access by the timer mechanism, which will automatically unlock from four to ten hours (according to its setting) after the predetermined hour, even though the combination parts have been rendered useless and without power to act. But aside from this protection, premature stoppage does not unlock, for the combination numbers must first be set up; but when the banker sets his lock for opening, he does not need or desire the knowledge of the combination numbers, and it remains a secret in the maker’s hands or with a neighboring banker. The banker can, if he desires, be saved the trouble of setting up his combination numbers to unlock. This lock can be set to do its own unlocking at the specified hour. Should the timer stop when set for automatic unlocking, entrance can be had after the specified hour, but only by setting up the combination numbers. It can be set so as to permit unlocking on Sundays or holidays at any selected hour, and for two hours afterward; after this period the timer resumes its control without any assistance from the banker, and prevents unlocking until the selected hour the next day. So that if the banker finds that there is no occasion to unlock during these two hours, he is not obliged to go to the bank to reset the timer, for he knows that it has already been set to automatically resume control.

The patent issued to Milton Dalton, 221,789 on November 18, 1879 at 28 pages, is to this author's knowledge, the longest in terms of pages and drawings (14 drawing sheets, 14 explanatory pages in all). For other locks that have patent drawings I am able to include all of the drawing sheets, but for this one I will only show three of the ten. On the same day Dalton was also issued patent 221,790 for his Permutation Lock which appeared along with the Dual Guard in Consolidated's tour d' force time lock, this Dalton Triple Guard lock.

Notice on the third sheet that Dalton anticipated the same carriage clock style platform escapement as used in Consolidated's other movements. That design was scrapped to a platform mounted in parallel with the rest of the movement wheel train. Consolidated revisited this configuration briefly with their transitional modular movements around 1900. But by 1904 they adopted the use of standard pocket watch movements to drive their time lock movements.

This drawing shows Dalton's permutation lock used in conjunction with his dual guard lock in the Triple Guard model. Notice thw patent is one number up from his patent for the dual guard lock.

Consolidated's Dalton Triple Guard Time and Permutation Combination Lock. c. 1888. This lock was a later competitor to to the early single case designs of of Sargent and Yale that contained a time and combination lock which were available from 1876 to 1885. The Triple Guard was the most complicated and expensive time lock ever made at $750 this amounts to $15,000 today. It featured the unique Milton Dalton patented single tumbler combination lock that could be opened with with a combination of anywhere from one to six numbers, set with a lateral lever across a single tumbler disc; controlled by a Dual Guard lock (the time lock portion). (1) This lock shows a an abundance of the special ivy engraving and pictorial designs sometimes used in Consolidated's locks. No other example shows the detail and variety that this lock has. Judging from this as well as other lock examples the engraver, or his employer, had an affinity for the outdoor activities of sailing and hunting (perhaps especially duck hunting since one photo above shows a duck within a heart shaped medallion?) Only two examples of this lock are known and due to its rarity and complexity is one of the more expensive examples of collectible time locks. 8"w x 7 1/4h x 3 5/8"d. Case #8, movement #615. file 136

Below is a photo of the only other known example of the Dalton Triple Guard from a private collection. Serial #2

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(1) American Genius Nineteenth Century Bank Locks and Time Locks, David Erroll & John Erroll, pp 234-235.