Hollar Time Lock Company
Model 2. Circa 1898. This small company used the earliest 'M'
sized movements supplied by Seth Thomas about the time E. Howard exited the time lock
business in 1896. This example also has a set of the very rare 96 hour version of the
standard 72 hour design. It was thought that there were only three of these movements
existing until this example with four was found.* This company's unique design
incorporated an electrical device (located behind the top front logo plate ) that
could, in case of an emergency, allow the time locks to be rewound without having to open
the vault door. This could be useful in the case of a civil catastrophe such as riot
or fire. Apparently this was not a feature that the market felt justified the extra cost.
Less than 100 Hollar locks were made in two design formats of which only two of each
format are known to survive. Given the many similarities in the case design and the fact
that Hollar's movements were interchangeable with Yale's, and indeed the
Model 1 was equipped with Yale insignia movements, there must have been some cooperation between these two firms.
Just as Hollar designed, but did not fabricate safes and vaults, it appears
that this too was the case with its time lock. Case #362, movements consecutively
numbered M.H. 69, M.H. 70, M.H. 71, M.H. 72. The M.H. designation for the 'M' size and 'H'
for Hollar. The serial numbers are the earliest known Seth Thomas made movements replacing
Howard's for the Yale "coffin" style format. 9.5"w x 9"h x 4"d. file 11
An article from Scientific American from
the time explained the value of Hollar's winding device: "Should conditions
arise, however, which would, in the opinions of the proper custodians of the
vault, justify them in keeping the vault locked for any additional number of
hours, beyond the time for which it was originally set, this can be
accomplished without opening the vault doors, and without anyone having to
access the locks. The value of this feature may be illustrated when the
contingency of fire or or riot is considered, for in either case it would be
undesirable to permit the action of the time lock mechanism to make possible
the unlocking of the vault. Under these conditions, all that would be
necessary would be to simply close a switch, when the time lock movements
would be electrically rewound, thereby preventing the opening of the doors
until the expiration of the added number of hours."
Lastly are photos of three vault doors with a Yale
Quad N using the Hollar Electric Winding Mechanism, (smaller case mounted
above the Yale time lock).
The first three photos show a round door style that was built by the
Hall Safe and Lock Company. The close up in the third photo shows the
separate electric controller on top of the four movement Yale Quad N. This unit
is what does the remote winding of that time lock. The second installation
is another Hollar design built by L.H. Miller Safe and Iron Works. It appears to have a Yale Quad M
style time lock that has been retrofitted with four much later Swiss
movements and using the smaller size 'L' in place of the original, larger
'M' size movements. The third by the Detroit Safe Company
uses Hollars first time lock design, the Model 1. All use a Yale automatic bolt motor.
What's interesting about all of these examples is the fact that Hollar makes
sure by prominent signage that they are the designers of each of these
vaults. Hollar, unlike many other time lock makers was also involved in safe
and vault design but did not actually fabricate them. Hall, Diebold and Mosler are other examples of time lock
makers who were also not only designers but also builders of safe and
*American Genius, John & David Erroll, pp. 276.