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

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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 and Type E time locks, Yale debuted their own line of automatic bolt motors. The Type D 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 Yale EE also known as the "Sextuple Time Lock" (1) was a specialty item offered by Yale that was a combination of a pair of their Type E slaved together into one unit. Yale also offered a very limited number of the slaved pair series for the Type BB, and Type DD, but neither of these models are currently known to have survived. The Type EE was made between November 1899 and December 1891.

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 over winding pins. (2)



These photos show a comparison between the Type E and Type EE. Both were used with an automatic bolt motor system with what presumably would be a conventional bottom release. It is interesting to note that if the assumption of the Type EE was used in this fashion, that the configuration of the movements as well as the zero point for the dial pointers are 180 apart from the Type E. The release trip levers are also quite different. There is photographic evidence of the Type E being configured as a bottom-release and sitting on top of a bolt motor. So this author's conclusion is that perhaps this particular Type EE example may have been used in another bolt release type of configuration than seen before for the Type E. All of the Sextuple series locks were special order, limited production products and customization would not have been surprising. Another interesting observation is the overall footprint of the Type EE. It is greater than the Type E at 4.5" h vs. 5.75" h. So it appears that space was not a limiting factor for the application here, whereas one of the features promoted by Yale for the Type E was its small footprint.


Here one sees a comparison between a Type D and Type EE. Both share the rear container box that is lacking in the Type E. The box was needed in the Type D since it operated on conventional bolt work and the space behind the time lock was needed for the bolt dogging mechanism. The collar located on the lower left hand corner of the Type D is where the bolt would be dogged by the lock.


These photos show the reasoning behind the box behind the time lock pair. There is a mechanism to slave the pair together as well as the need to connect that to the external release trip lever secured to the rear of the box, second photo. The additional hardware requires the Type D style of rear container.



Yale Type EE, 'Sextuple', 1891. This was a special order lock known as the 'Sextuple'. At this time the maximum number of movements found in a time lock was three. It would not be until two years later in 1893 that Sargent & Greenleaf would introduce their four movement design, the Model 0. The industry has never gone beyond this number of redundancy, yet Yale had with this model introduced six redundant movements. Needless to say the Type BB, DD and EE were unique and expensive products.

This lock looks to be the type used in conjunction with automatic bolt motors, but it does differ from the company's Type E automatic.

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. These design features were retained in the Type EE.

Yale sold a total of thirteen Type EE's between November 1889 and December 1891. This is the only known example extant, although given the impressive mechanical beauty of this piece, at least one or two others must have survived. 9.25"w X 5.75"h x 3.75"d. Case #13, movement plate and dual dial bezels #13, movements-left hand timer, #4527406, #4527408, #4527409, movements-right hand timer, #3609511, #4527313, #4658574 . file 292

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). The Safe Guard, February 1892, vol. 1, no. 2, p.12 (a monthly publication of the Yale & Towne Mfg. Co., Stamford, Conn.)

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