Consolidated Time Lock Co., Cincinnati, Ohio - Dalton Triple Concussion Timer

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The purpose of the concussion unit was to offer a way to override the time lock in case of its complete failure. An explanation of the function of the concussion unit is in the video below. But in short it allows for an override of the time lock using a ratchet to advance a wheel that will allow the timers to be overridden and the safe to be opened with the correct combination. The key to this system is the very high gear ratios as represented trough the use of multiple worm gears resulting in the input wheel needing to be turned hundreds if not thousands of turns to reach a single rotation of the output wheel (see video below). It takes a very long time to effectively accomplish this. Therefore it is unlikely that any unauthorized personnel could use the override before being discovered.

Time lock overrides were generally used when there was only one time lock movement being used; offering no redundancy as found in two or more independent movements so the failure of that one movement was very real. The Consolidated Company and its predecessor, the Hall Safe and Lock Company offered a line of single movement time locks with an alternative override system known as the Infallible Lockout Protection System. This had the disadvantage of using an alternative "secret combination" known only to the company that would be revealed in the case of the lock's failure. Of course one can see the problems of keeping the secret combination secure obviating the entire concept of what a time lock was used for in the first place which is to keep any unauthorized access to the vault when the safe was meant to be secured.

It is rare to find an override system with a lock that has the redundancy offered by two movements. Holms is another company that employed an override with two movements. The Hollar Company used the opposite philosophy that was to keep a time lock wound indefinitely past the time it would normally be set to go off guard in case the owner would want to keep the safe closed, say in the case of civil disturbance.


There is a hole 1, in the back of the time lock that allows a plunger to push a ratchet located on the other side.


The ratchet lever 2, rides upon ratchet wheel 3, attached to arbor 4. Worm gear 5 meshes with worm 6 meshing with dial wheel 7 upon which is mounted a release pin, circled, (see photo below) as well as the concussion dial. Notice also the hand lever, A, that can be positioned and locked into four positions that successively restrict the travel of the ratchet. See video below.


The release pin 7 rotates until it contacts the fence lever 8. That pin also contacts the two metal detents 9, disconnecting the time lock movements from holding the fence lever.


These photos show the concussion unit from below as well as from the side. The fence lever in the second photo is shown in its released position allowing the fence to drop down into the combination lock's wheel pack when all of the wheels are aligned when the correct combination has been dial in; allowing the safe to be opened and bypassing the time lock.


This video is a demonstration of the Consolidated company's Milton Dalton time lock model Concussion Triple equipped with a special override mechanism. Concussion timers were a very small genre of time locks with few examples extant. It shows how the override mechanism works and the key to this design is the multiple, very high ratio gearing that requires the person using the override to turn the input gear many hundreds if not thousands of turns to wind the output dial to the point where it overrides the time lock. This would take a day or longer, especially if the manual lever stop is set to its most restrictive setting for the ratchet lever. Please excuse the wrong nomenclature used for this part, it is a ratchet lever, not a pendulum, which was a component used in an earlier model of concussion time lock.

The last patent Mr. Dalton took for the concussion lock dated November 14, 1893 is described in John Erroll's book American Genius as follows: "Milton Dalton was one of the most brilliant bank and time lock designers of all time and was awarded numerous patents that he assigned to Joseph Hall's companies, (later Consolidated). In 1893, Dalton patented what seems to have been his last contribution, the Concussion Triple. This magnum opus was a time lock whose patent alone spanned ninety drawings and thirty-seven pages of text making ninety-four patent claims, (patent #508902). The Concussion Triple was the last unique device in the development of time locks and marked both the culmination and the twilight of non-modular time locks. From this point forward, the lower costs of maintaining and repairing modular movements would spell the end of built-in mechanisms". No physical example exists for this last patent which included the use of electromechanical devices. This author concurs that Milton Dalton's concussion lock was the last unique design before the advent of the modular time lock movement design, however, in my opinion Mr. Dalton's pinnacle of time lock design was his Dalton Triple Guard and Permutation Combination Lock, one of the most if not the most complex and expensive time lock made, and retailed in 1888 for over $600.00, and about $200.00 over the next most expensive contemporary time locks the Yale Model 1 Double Pin Dial and Sargent and Greenleaf Model #2.

Model - Concussion Triple, c. 1887. Lock has a standard Consolidated two movement timer set and equipped with a concussion override unit mounted below. Concussion timers saw very limited production and are very rare. Three other models are in the Harry Miller collection, photos below. The first is similar to the one illustrated here and is also depicted in American Genius, page 270 it is an earlier manufacture having a patent date of February 8, 1876 and using an internal pendulum in place of a ratchet. The second also dates to the same period as it has the same earlier patent date. This one has only one movement which is in keeping with the overrides provided for time locks that had only one timer. The third one has the same patent date as the one illustrated on this page; although it says that it is a concussion time lock, it is difficult to ascertain how this lock worked from casual observation. No other examples of concussion timers are known to this author. 5"w x 4 3/4"h x 2 7/8"d, case #27, movement #7000, #7001.


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