Mosler Safe Co., Hamilton, Ohio & Mosler Lock Co., Covington, Kentucky - 2 movements, post 1949

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Revised movement format featuring larger, 120 hour duration dial and Waltham 16 size pocket watch movements


A. 1949-1958. Around 1902 with the sale of E. Howard & Co. to the Keystone Watch Case Company, E. Howard exited the time lock business. Therefore, the time lock companies that used E. Howard shifted to Seth Thomas movements. Mosler, however, did not begin manufacture until 1915 and chose 18-size Model #4 pocket watch movements supplied by the Illinois Watch Company. After 1932 Mosler switched to American Waltham Watch Co., Waltham, Massachusetts, 16-size pocket watch movements which is used in this example. The movement used a snap ring around it to allow it to fit into the larger opening which accommodated the prior  Illinois Watch movement.  The movement featured a larger setting dial and it appears that the 120 hour duration was standard on this version. The movements had a separate crystal covering the watch movements much like on a conventional pocket watch providing exceptional protection from contamination compared to other time lock movements that did not rely on a pocket watch movement. Bankers Dustproof Time Lock Co. was another company that used movements supplied by Illinois Watch Company and Yale's Models B through E, their only time lock to use watch movements with an integral crystal cover, also had intricately engraved and gilt earlier American Waltham movements from 1887. Waltham survives to this day as Waltham Aircraft Clock Corporation producing high quality, mechanical aircraft clock instrumentation. Consumer watch making stopped in 1957 and clocks in 1994. The similarity of Banker's movement was probably not coincidental since Banker's disappeared as a brand in 1915 and Mosler Safe Co. appeared in 1916 based on designs very similar to that of Bankers. Case #11478, 5"h x 4"w x 2 7/8"d, file 42



These two photos show the second, less expensive version of movements supplied to Mosler by Recta between 1966-1996 when Mosler exited the time lock business.

B. 1958-1961. Manufactured in the late 1950's. By this time Mosler had switched from Waltham to the less expensive Recta brand of watch movement made by Muller and Vaucher, Switzerland and continued with this early Recta version until 1967. This movement had timing screws for the balance wheel, as well as adjustment indication engraved on the balance wheel cock. The watch crystal was glass and held to the body with a brass bezel. The plastic front has a pair of glass magnifiers held in place by aluminum bezels and the look was quite interesting in the opinion of this author, but the rings did impose some visual obstruction of the dials. This style was soon replaced with the one piece design seen in example B and few of this earlier type appear to have been made. By this time most US time lock makers had turned to Swiss imports. Case #20049, movement#1522, #2284, 5"h x 4"w x 2 7/8"d. file 307

C. 1966-1996. By this time the recta movements had dispensed with timing screws on the balance wheel, replacing them with a plain, flat rim. The balance cock had no adjustment markings and Mosler continued with this until 1996 when the company ceased making time locks (see movement photos above). They still had the same movement-body configuration as in example A but glass watch crystal over the movements was now a one-piece plastic press-fit piece and without the brass bezel. Lock is also equipped with a manual unlock lever which had become mandatory under banking regulations by this time. Case #22126, movement#37278, #38940, 5"h x 4"w x 2 7/8"d. file 210

Mosler 2mvt in Diebold safe door.jpg (83565 bytes)  Mosler 2mvt in Diebold safe door (1).jpg (127752 bytes)       

The first two photos below show a Diebold safe door from the 1880's with a later retro-fitted Mosler 2 movement time lock made in the 1920's; similar to 'A', but an earlier generation with 72 hour duration movements. You can see an identical Diebold safe door fitted with its original time lock, a three movement Sargent and Greenleaf. At the time the safe was made, Diebold at that tome was strictly a safe and vault manufacturer and did not make their own time locks.                                 


The first photo showss a really tiny safe with the same style of 2 movement Mosler, since the time lock case is 5" tall the inside of the door can't be much more than 17" or so tall.         

The next photo demonstrates that almost any size time lock can control any safe door. Large time locks with multiple movements were developed largely as a marketing tool. A huge door could not be trusted to a 'dinky' lock. A large door was also expensive and the extra cost of a larger time lock was a part of the overall budget. Banks located in Parthenon-designed Greek buildings with large walk-in vaults were designed to convey to the public an image of security, responsibility and solidity. These two photos show the extremes of this. The photo on the left shows two movement Mosler in what can only be called a mini-safe. The next photo shows the same time lock mounted to a twenty ton Herring Hall Marvin vault door. The time lock will effectively perform its job on either door, but looks too small for the vault door. In fact, if one looks closely, there is a shadow mark of the outline of a much larger time lock originally located behind the current one. The bolt hole mounting pattern matches that for an S&G Model M, their largest standard model lock and over 2 times the size of the Mosler. This also bears witness to the fact that just about any sized time lock would be perfectly suitable for any door. 

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1. Photo of Herring Hall Marvin vault door used by permission, Ryan Krakowski.