Yale & Towne Manufacturing Co., Stamford, Connecticut - 3 movements, Type E

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In 1887, Yale patented a time lock design that would mark a new direction for Yale and, eventually, the entire time lock industry: its Type B and Type C time locks, which went into production in 1888. Based on pocket watch movements rather than on the larger clock movements of the Pin Dials, these smaller-format movements were inherently suited to be individually replaceable or "modular" movements. These were also the smallest format three movement time locks made to that time. Yale would not have a smaller three movement design for bolt dog release until the model T321 introduced about 1900 and would never surpass the compact Yale C and E designs for the automatic release function. No other time lock manufacturer made a smaller three movement lock. With the introduction of the Type D, Type E and Type G time locks, Yale debuted their own line of automatic bolt motors. The Type E and Yale automatics were soon popular with banks and businesses with regular hours, used in the new "solid door" safes, a safe with no key hole or combination lock spindle, handle or any other connection to the outside, that relied solely on the high-quality time lock and automatic bolt motor. (1)

The line of Yale Type B through E and EE time locks pictured, upper row from left to right. The lower row shows A and G.

Only the Type B through EE series went into production.

The A was a unique patent prototype piece and was never slated for production. The G was only made as salesman's samples. At the present time only one Type C, EE and complete G has been found. Like the EE shown, Yale did make one or two BB, and three DD locks, none of which are known to survive. There were no records of a CC being made. These facts makes this collection unique in that it contains the most complete set of all the examples extant. No records for or examples of a Type F are known.

The second generation models as represented by Type D and E did away with the movement disk being turnable for the purposes of winding and replaced it with a central winding square upon which is also mounted the setting dial hand. The method of reading the time is now reversed by using fixed dial around the perimeter and a moveable hand that rotates as one winds the time lock to show the correct time duration until the lock would go off guard. These was a great improvements over the more fragile and harder to read system as represented in the earlier design. Since one did not need to grasp the movement disk as it was now a fixed piece in which the watch movements are mounted, it could now be sealed within the case with only a hole needed through the front glass for the winding key as is common in many time locks. This also allowed Yale to dispense with the expense of an external case of the Type B to protect the moveable disk and the gearing behind it from abuse and dirt. The greater ease of use and accuracy of the new winding system, dial design and bezel overwind stop flag allowed Yale to dispense with the overwinding pins. (1)

Front elevation of the Type E with glass bezel attached. Unlike the screw-down bezel of the Type A and the bayonet style of the Type C, this one had a keyed slot that allowed it to only go in one position. Once seated the bezel could be rotated. This was essential since the introduction of the overwinding stop flag which had to be positioned so as to always be ahead of the pointer to perform its function, this is the red pointer near the 6 o'clock position.

Front elevation of the Type D with glass bezel removed. Note the larger, better defined dial numbering.


Three quarter view with the glass bezel attached and next removed. The dial numbering is more readily seen.


The second photo shows the case base with release mechanism as well as the rear of the movement base.


The Yale Type E time lock, 1889, demonstration of winding and setting the movement.

Yale Type E, 1890. The Yale Type E was designed with a release to be used with an automatic bolt motor. The company of E. Howard & Co. and later, after 1902, Seth Thomas supplied nearly all of the movements for Yale time locks (until the 1950's when movements from Switzerland were used). An exception are the Yale Type B through G models which used a modified version of a pocket watch; size #14, model 84 movements by American Waltham Watch Co. A smaller Waltham movement was also later extensively used in Mosler time locks. The movements were designed with anti-magnetic qualities - cutting edge technology for the day. The Type E was introduced to correct some of the design deficiencies found in the earlier Type C, those being the problems of over winding, the difficulty of handling the fragile rotating movement base, and setting the time due to the small dial numbers and recoil of the movement springs through the motion of the rotating base.

Yale sold a total of 139 Type E's between May 1889 and June 1892. Today there are fewer than fifteen Type E known . 4.5"w X 5"h x 3"d. Case #6, movement plate #98, movements, #3509767, #3509613, #4527341. file 95

An interesting aside is the fact that both Seth Thomas and E. Howard were companies that made a full line of clocks and watches. From large tower clocks (for public buildings) to domestic clocks to watches as well as movements for time locks. Click here to see a medium sized Seth Thomas and Howard tower clock.

A Yale Type E mounted to a MacNeale and Urban safe door.


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(1). American Genius - Nineteenth Century Bank Locks and Time Locks, John and David Erroll, p. 246