Sargent & Greenleaf, Rochester, New York - 2 movements, Model 4A mounted to Hall Premier double, dial five tumbler combination lock by Hall Safe & Lock Co., size #3.

Back Up Next


The Hall Premier dual dial combination lock when first introduced in 1869 and cost $500. The Premier series of combination locks was were some of the finest safe locks ever made and remained in production for over thirty years. Earlier locks had the Joseph Hall medallions on the wheel pack covers. In May 1892 the Hall Safe & Lock Company was sold and became a part of the Herring-Hall-Marvin Company of new Jersey and at this point the medallions disappeared.



Here we see the conflict in the numbering system used by S&G. The photo to the left shows the model number 4A stamped on the lower door frame. However the number 6 is stamped on the inside of the case. The time lock itself is identical in both the movement and the case to the S&G #6 with the exception that the #6 was designed to operate with manual bolt works. This example, of course, operates on the combination lock. S&G did a similar nomenclature with their model #2 and #3 time lock. Both of the model #2A and #3A had a cut-down case with the same movement as the standard #2 #3 but were designed to operate with a bolt motor and so had a bottom release. The last pre WWI time lock model S&G introduced was in 1910 designated as #4B and was known as the "Cleoh". But it too was a model #6 in all respects with a bottom lever that like this example was designed to operate directly on the combination lock. The only other S&G to my knowledge that operated on the combination lock was a modified Triple H which S&G designated as a Triple G. Apparently when they switched from number designations for their models to letter in 1889 they dropped using the number suffix for functional alterations.

A careful examination reveals that the Hall Premier combination lock, c. 1902 was originally designed for a single movement Consolidated time lock. In May of 1892 the old Hall Safe & Lock Company had been incorporated into the Herring-Hall-Marvin Company and by 1902 the original Hall three Hall brothers had left the company over disputes over their employment contracts. The Consolidated Time lock Company was a separate entity and was never part of the original sale to the Herring-Hall-Marvin entity. Until their employment dispute with Herring-Hall-Marvin the Consolidated Company supplied time locks when needed in conjunction with the Hall Premier line of combination locks. But since the two companies’ owners were now at odds there would be no time locks being supplied by Consolidated for Premier combination locks. S&G introduced their Model #6 in 1900 and the configuration of that case was the smallest offered next to the even smaller Consolidated single movement time lock. The Model #6 case could accommodate the Model #4 movement without, of course the drop bolt mechanism. So S&G simply took a Model #4 movement and placed it into a Model #6 case, cutting away the section at the bottom for the release lever to operate on the fence of the Hall Premier lock, hence the designation of Model #4A The end user also got the advantage of two movement redundancy. The internal components used in the Hall Infallible Lockout Protection System  needed with a single time lock movement were made unnecessary with the two movement redundancy and there are no witness marks within the movement to indicate that these components were ever installed. (1)

The model #6 was introduced in about 1900 and was produced until 1929 when time lock production across the entire S&G as well as all other makers ceased due to the Great Depression and associated banking crisis. So the time frame between the closing of the Consolidated firm in 1906 and 1929 fits. Furthermore there was no other time lock during this time that was small enough to fit within the parameters needed. Other very small time locks offered by Yale like the T261 did not come along until after WWII. Some time lock makers and S&G in particular engaged in custom installations. S&G was in a better position than most since they made their time locks in their entirety. The #2A was a custom and possibly one-off design. This author has seen only two #3A's and this #4A example. So the question becomes how many of these custom installations did S&G engage in? It appears that the #2A and #3A were designed to operate a bolt motor and this #4A could have also with a bit different release lever do the same. It would seem that in the example here, the #4A would be used to replace defunct Consolidated locks. The bolt motor designs may have been needed where space configurations were at a premium and S&G's model Triple A was too large. So while these would have seen limited demand, there surely were dozens if not many more made.


Most time locks had a serial numbering system throughout the movement. In this example the number is 2149 and this number appears on all three movement plates, the rear common plate and the split pair of front plates. The numbering carries through to the plate pillars which are all numbered 49 at the top and then sequentially numbered 1 through 6 at the lower end for each pillar beginning with the number one for the top pillar on the left hand movement and counting clockwise pillar by pillar.


The first video shows a description of a short-cut method to bring a sluggish time lock movement back to life. This method is only recommended for examples that will serve within a display collection and will see little actual use.

The second video shows a demo of how the time lock interacts with the Hall Premier combination lock. In that video I neglected to use the proper term for the wheel pack's tumbler indentations. Those are called 'gates' while I correctly reference the part that drops into these indentations when they are all correctly aligned, a 'fence'. When one thinks about the time that these terms were first used it was the middle of the 1800's. What would someone need to protect his property but a good, sturdy fence! And how does one get into that property but by being invited through the gate! So when the tumbler's gates are all lined up the fence can be lowered and the user is invited into the property within the safe.

Model 4A, c. 1910, Hall Premier lock c. 1890. Time lock is a customized #4A which S&G created to replace a single movement Consolidated lock originally mounted to the Hall premier combination lock. The 4A case and movement from model #6 stock. Time lock case 4 3/8"w x 3 3/8"h x 2 3/8"d, case #1632, movement #2149, Hall Premier double dial #1263 size #3. file 189

Back Up Next

(1) John Erroll, email February 6, 2017