Diebold Safe & Lock Co., Canton, Ohio

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After the growth of Diebold's market position in bank vault installations, bank locks, and time locks at the end of the 1890's, Diebold also sought to make significant inroads into the bank alarm system market. Production of Diebold's alarm timers most likely did not begin until after the 1902 takeover of E. Howard by Keystone; hence, all Diebold timers used movements from Seth Thomas.

Most bank security companies in the early 1900's were safe/ lock/ time lock makers or electric alarm system/ alarm timer makers. Unlike these contemporaries, Diebold quickly became a major maker of a full range of bank security systems, including large vaults, high-quality time locks, and electric alarm systems. As was the case with its three and four movement time locks (which were the same basic design and used the same movements), Diebold adopted the same model of seventy-two hour Seth Thomas modular movement that was found in the company's concurrently produced time locks. The alarm timer shown here was one of Diebold's earlier entries into the alarm timer market.

c. 1903. In this example, with its small wood case and curved actuating armature, the Diebold alarm timer was not particularly innovative, but rather represented the apex of alarm timer design prior to modern electronics. This is the same alarm timer as illustrated in American Genius, page 340. 4 1/2"w x 5 1/2"h x 3 1/4"d., net of top contacts. Case #121. (1) file 250                          




The last photo shows a later dated Diebold timer within an entire bank alarm system.

c. 1905. By this time Diebold had begun to put their movements into the standard square cases that were being incorporated into general alarm systems, in particular those made by O.B McClintock of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The square case and three knife switch type contacts were standard configurations across several makers including American Bank Protection Co. 6 3/4"w 6 3/4"h x 3 3/4"d. file 258





Short-term timer c.1940. Seth Thomas movement. The unusual feature of this movement is the use of two platform escapements within one timer movement resulting in a triple plate design. Note the front main wheel is denoted from 10 to 30 minutes in five-minute increments which is adjustable via two removable screws and the rear main wheel also has the same denoted sequence; but with a permanent pin, in this case at 20 minutes. One main spring drives both escapements, each providing redundancy. This design appears to be an attempt to provide the redundancy of two separate movements, but within the confines of one movement. There is no winding square for a key to directly wind the movement so this must have been provided externally by an additional winding gear probably meshing with the small wheel on the front of the movement. This author has never seen this dual platform escapement design before. While this was probably never a part of an alarm timer because of the short duration, it is a very interesting timer-related artifact. file 301

1. American Genius Nineteenth Century Bank Locks and Time Locks, David & John Erroll, pg. 340