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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    1,196
    Country: United States

    Default A local gem, a Diebold 1890s automatic vault door

    I was driving past a small branch bank and noticed that it has turned into office space for the county government. So I went in to look around and discovered a very old Diebold door in a 1970s building with an interesting story.

    In 1892 a downtown bank was constructed and this door was installed. It went out of business circa 1949 and is currently a law office. In 1971 a new bank was constructed not too far away and this door was taken out of the old building and installed in the new building. After changing hands several times it was purchased by the county.

    The door is a Diebold automatic which may be a bit unusual for a vault, but was more common in safes? The building's construction date should put it at 1892 but one of the patent dates is 1894. Perhaps it was retrofitted with a newer mechanism or perhaps the old bank started out with a safe and later upgraded to a vault.

    I took a few pictures, here are three:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    And a couple of questions:

    1 - In the picture of the inside of the door you can barely see two columns of holes (which are tapped); in the picture of the timelock you can see two of these, on either side of the case, and two more holes in the door proper directly above. It looks like there used to be something attached to the door, something very long and wide, which was removed later. Any ideas what was there?

    2 - Aside from the timelock and the bolt motor directly below it, there is a second large box to the right of the motor. I'm assuming this is a second set of springs to assist the bolt motor in handling a large door's worth of bolts compared to a smaller safe which it was designed for?

    The county has no intention of using the door, it's just a decoration to them. The vault itself is being used for storage (and it has an inner set of doors with a combination lock, which they also do not use, and a sort of "moat" between the doors with a carpeted "drawbridge" that has to be removed to close the doors).

    I also noticed the timelock is mounted on what appears to be a spring plate and I would presume this is for dynamite resistance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    ohio
    Posts
    115
    Country: United States

    Default

    Thanks WYLK...nice picts and cool story.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    1,196
    Country: United States

    Default

    I may need to revise my guess about age, but first some references.

    American Genius discusses this time lock and automatic bolt motor on pages 280-283.

    The patent dates on the bolt motor point to US patents 438,317 (granted Oct 14, 1890) and 454,971 (granted June 30, 1891). The patent date on the time lock points to US patent 520,144 (granted May 22, 1894).

    But when I was browsing my Diebold patent list I ran across 1,828,436 (granted Oct 20, 1931 but filed Sept 11, 1926) which is for fire and drill proofing methods. It includes a drawing of a door which is remarkably similar to the door I found. So I might have to relent and guess the door is actually from the 1920s (or even later of course).

    Click image for larger version. 

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Cyberspace
    Posts
    1,239
    Country: Australia

    Default

    If I were local I would offer to take that away on the grounds of safety - after all someone might get locked in there as it's now a pubic building.

    That would look great in my house .......

    Beautiful pictures wylk ........

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio USA
    Posts
    1,202
    Country: United States

    Default

    Here are few earlier doors. Autos actually were popular but since so many banks rebuilt you just don't see many today. Doug
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 005_5.JPG   071_71.JPG   IMG_2388.JPG  
    Last edited by Doug MacQueen; 06-05-12 at 01:53 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    1,196
    Country: United States

    Default

    Doug, in your first image there are black wires running up and down the door. This is probably what was in "my" door at one time. Burglar alarm? Fire alarm?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio USA
    Posts
    1,202
    Country: United States

    Default

    Here is one more nice Diebold oldie. Yes the wires are for burglary/fire. Both the electric arc and oxy/gas threats came into use in the early 1900's Doug

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio USA
    Posts
    1,202
    Country: United States

    Default

    Lets try again
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DSCN2752.jpg   DSCN2757.jpg  

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    st Louis
    Posts
    23
    Country: United States

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wylk View Post

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	5648Click image for larger version. 

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    And a couple of questions:

    1 - In the picture of the inside of the door you can barely see two columns of holes (which are tapped); in the picture of the timelock you can see two of these, on either side of the case, and two more holes in the door proper directly above. It looks like there used to be something attached to the door, something very long and wide, which was removed later. Any ideas what was there?
    I havent seen anyone answer your first questions, so ill try. lol

    I had a old diebold pressure door once that had thin metal striping that ran around the center of the door the stipping was set off from the door using studs and plastic insulators. The striping had two wires running to it one on left side and one on the right. the wire ran above the door when the door was closed it made connection to a plate on the frame of the vd. I assume that this was some type of alarm stripping. (maybe if the door was attacked a plate would fall off hit the strpping and short the wires to ground. or something)idk, just my though, I did not service the banks alarm, nor did i ever invisgate what it did, all i knew is the door was a pain to clean.

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