Mosler Safe Company, Hamilton, Ohio - 3 movements, Interim with Yale-'R' movements, Type 1

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Mosler ran into supply problems upon the startup of its time lock production in 1916. Demand for their product exceeded their expectations and Illinois Watch Co., was not able to supply sufficient movements. So for a few months Mosler turned to Yale which had a contractual supply of movements from Seth Thomas at the time. Seth Thomas made the spur gear modification enabling the dial to turn clockwise when running and allowing this movement along with a mount modification to fit and operate correctly within the movement plate designed for the rectangular Mosler-designed movements. It is unknown if Mosler made the case, mounts and other components for the time lock, but since they were safe makers they certainly had the machining facilities to do so. Once Illinois Watch Co. had sufficient supply, Mosler stopped using the Seth Thomas movements and had, in fact, an active campaign to replace those movements with the Mosler-designed movements; needing only a simple swap out. After all, having a Yale product name was probably not the ideal situation for Mosler. Indeed, it is interesting that Yale helped Mosler out here since they were competitors in the time lock business. But this is not the first example of Yale's involvement in the startup and manufacture of another company's time locks. In 1896 Yale supplied a modified version of their Quad N the Hollar Lock Inspection and Guaranty Co. It is also interesting that Mosler did not request Seth Thomas to leave the Yale logo off the dial work. Perhaps that was a condition of Yale's help in this matter. The time locks supplied to the Hollar company also had Yale's name on the time lock dials. In any event, these early modified locks are very rare. This author only knows of one other two movement Mosler with this same modification. It was thought that the case numbering for the three movement model began at 4000, however this example has a lower number, 3738. Perhaps this starting number assumption is in error.

The first thing to notice is the Yale movements in this very early Mosler time lock. These are NOT aftermarket replacements.

The 'coffin' shaped Seth Thomas movements each have a specially designed mount to allow that shape to fit within the rectangular mounting plate that was designed for the regular Mosler movements.


In the first photo the mounting plate is removed and to the right is the conversion frame that allows the Yale coffin movement to mount within the Mosler-designed mounting plate. The Yale and a standard Mosler movement is shown side-by-side. The second photo shows the standard Mosler movement positioned into the the mounting plate showing a perfect match in both fit and functionality.


The first photo shows the additional spur gear added to the standard Yale movement. This allowed the dial to rotate clockwise as the movement operated and the pin mounted on the dial face pushed on the snubber bar lever which in turn actuated the snubber bar to move to the right (arrow). All regular movements made for Yale did not have this extra gear and so their dials rotated counterclockwise. This change was necessary since Mosler had designed their locks to operate with a counterclockwise rotating dial. Each Yale-modified movement had a special designation with the letter 'R' after the serial number, the one in this photo is #1250-R. This was done to prevent any mistake between Yale's regular movements and these specially modified types because they were identical in all other respects an could easily be installed by mistake into a regular Yale time lock causing it to malfunction.

By the twentieth century, banks in major metropolitan centers were constructing some of the largest vaults ever made. Among a few safe and vault companies able to install such a massive undertaking was the Mosler Safe Co. Mosler was the result of a series of  of consolidations of earlier companies, such as Mosler Safe & Lock Co., Mosler Bahmann, and possibly Bankers Dustproof Time Lock Co., Bankers Dustproof was the time lock subsidiary of the Victor Safe & Lock Company, and although Victor Safe and Lock continued in business until approximately 1930, Bankers Dustproof disappeared as a brand in 1915. This coincided with the 1916 appearance of Mosler time locks based on designs very similar to those of Bankers Dustproof, using the same seventy-two hour 18-size pocket watch movements of the Illinois Watch Co., (see video below). Changes in design included a larger dial with a geared winding arbor, reduced decoration, modified dial numbering, and some rare 120-hour models.


A. 1915-1916, Case with first generation case design featuring a gold plated crackle finish. Time lock equipped with specially designed Seth Thomas movements made under contract to Yale and mounted into custom inserts allowing those movements to fit and function within the movement plate originally designed by Mosler to fit the Mosler-designed movements made by the Illinois Watch Co. This modification lasted a few months and when Mosler had sufficient supply of their own movements, actively replaced the Yale-badge movements making any survivors exceptionally rare, five examples are known. 6"w x 5"h x 3"d. Case #3738, consecutive movements #51248-R, #51249-R, #51250-R. file 240

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