Hollar Lock Inspection and Guarantee Company, Model 2

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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 with a complete and consecutive set. 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. an occurrence that Bankers of the 1890's would have been aware of, having seen recent unrest from such issues as race and labor organization as well as earlier concerns such as the Civil War draft. 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, the locks were certainly supplied by Yale. Just as Hollar designed, but did not fabricate safes and vaults, it appears that this too was the case with its time lock. Later Yale would help out another new entrant into the time lock market, Mosler Safe Co. in 1916. 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. 9.5"w x 9"h x 4"d. file 11

An article from Scientific American April 21, 1906 (see below), 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."

The first two photos below show a Hollar v.2 mounted to a Hollar vault door. Notice the case color is the standard Yale silver finish. This is not so surprising as Hollar had always subcontracted their time lock movements to the Yale company. But this is the first example of the silver finish this author has seen. Note that the cover plate at the top where the rewinding drive coil is located is missing, it is likely that the electrical rewind feature has now been disabled. Photos courtesy of Paul Broughton.


Next 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 N 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 Hollar's 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 vaults.

Below is an example of what now is a Yale Quad N fitted with Hollar's emergency rewinding device. An interesting observation is the fact that the M-movements have a 120 hour duration and was a later retrofit of the 96 or 72 hour movements by Yale. Also note that all the movements are identical. The special rewinding mechanism located in the third movement plate location has been replaced with a regular movement and the glass has been replaced with no holes for winding eyelets. This means the auxiliary Hollar rewinding mechanism located on top is no longer functional and the lock now operates like a Yale Quad N. The winder is left in place so as not to disturb the look of the door. A vault door with missing parts does not instill confidence!

Most complex or otherwise esoteric time locks like the Hollar, Holms and Consolidated Dual Guard have either been modified or replaced as time went on and their reliability or serviceability became problematic. In the case of Hollar it was especially easy to convert the lock to a Yale Quad N by replacing the third winding mechanism with a regular third movement and the Hollar snubber bar with the Yale counterpart, so few unaltered examples of the Hollar survive.

This photo shows a Hollar vault with a Yale Quad N that has had its original M-sized movements replaced with a set of smaller modern, Swiss-made Yale L-movements. The automatic bolt motor has a beautiful bevel glass insert in place of the solid name plate. This is the only example this author has ever seen of this style, but an illustration of this type appears in a 1908 catalog. It is interesting that the owners are confident that the weaker, smaller movements have sufficient power to trip the bolt motor. The entire rationale for the Quad N was its having the larger, stronger M-movements to ensure the motor's release. At least this was the marketing rational from Yale. In reality it took a very small amount of force to trip even their largest bolt motor and the larger scale time lock and movements were presented to match that of the door.

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These photos show a Hollar Model 1 installed in a Hollar safe door. Note the beautiful high-relief engraving of the door components similar to that used to decorate armaments. The time lock and bolt motor have a curious surface spotting.

*American Genius, John & David Erroll, pp. 276.

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