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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    72
    Country: United States

    Default R&E Columbia/Improved Columbia lock

    Looking for patent info for the Russell & Erwin "Columbia" and "Improved Columbia" cylinder locks. Does anyone have any patent numbers or other info for these locks? They appear to be from the 1880's or 90's at the latest. Other than one or two examples, pictures/info is practically non-existent on the web.

    I'm interested in the internal workings of these locks. I've seen the keys on eBay from time to time; they appear to be of the push key type, but I'm assuming they are some type of lever or slider mechanism as opposed to the pin tumbler mechanism. Any info is greatly appreciated.

    YALE7750

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Tonawanda, NY, USA
    Posts
    779
    Country: United States

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by YALE7750 View Post
    Looking for patent info for the Russell & Erwin "Columbia" and "Improved Columbia" cylinder locks. Does anyone have any patent numbers or other info for these locks? They appear to be from the 1880's or 90's at the latest. Other than one or two examples, pictures/info is practically non-existent on the web.
    I'm interested in the internal workings of these locks. I've seen the keys on eBay from time to time; they appear to be of the push key type, but I'm assuming they are some type of lever or slider mechanism as opposed to the pin tumbler mechanism. Any info is greatly appreciated.
    YALE7750
    Attached are two thumbnails of the Improved Columbia Door Lock, the first is an ad from Hardware April 10, 1898 and the second is an enlargement of the logo on the lock case which appears to show patent dates of Mar. 6, 1889 and Feb. 25, 1890. I was unable to cross those dates to the actual patent(s), perhaps someone else here has more skill in such searches?

    Pete Schifferli
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails RusswinColumbiaCylinderDoorLock.jpg   RusswinColumbiaCylinderDoorLock2.jpg  

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    1,268
    Country: United States

    Default

    For the first date, I did a search for 3/5/1889 (instead of 3/6) and a US classification code of 70/$ (locks) but none of the patents looked terribly relevant. I could certainly be wrong.

    The second date probably refers to US patent 421,905 by Charles M. Burgess, assigned to Russell & Erwin, but is merely for a sheet metal latch case. It makes reference to an earlier patent 399,240 of March 12, 1889. This is also by Burgess and is a Russell & Erwin assignment.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Tonawanda, NY, USA
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    779
    Country: United States

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wylk View Post
    For the first date, I did a search for 3/5/1889 (instead of 3/6) and a US classification code of 70/$ (locks) but none of the patents looked terribly relevant. I could certainly be wrong.
    The second date probably refers to US patent 421,905 by Charles M. Burgess, assigned to Russell & Erwin, but is merely for a sheet metal latch case. It makes reference to an earlier patent 399,240 of March 12, 1889. This is also by Burgess and is a Russell & Erwin assignment.
    Patent 399,240 is for a lock case, see link:
    https://patents.google.com/patent/US399240
    Charles M. Burgess, who had thirty one patents with the company (Russell & Erwin Mfg. Co.), received three major patents on sheet metal locks:
    • #396,916 - January 29, 1889
    • #399,239 - March 12, 1889
    • #399,240 - March 12, 1889

    Burgess also developed the forged steel bit key which reduced the cost of these bit keys and were stronger than those made from castings, patent #401,247 on April 9, 1889.*

    *
    from Locks and Lockmakers of America, Rev. 3rd Edition, (c) 1997 by the late Thomas F. Hennessy, pg. 31.

    Pete Schifferli

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    72
    Country: United States

    Default I can't find the patent either....

    Thanks for the info..I didn't think to search Google Books for advertisements. Seems that the actual patent is elusive..I would really like to see the inner workings of one. From what I can gather the original Columbia lock used a totally flat push key which acts on the tumblers all at once when inserted. The improved Columbia introduced a corrugated type keyway. As far as other changes I have no idea; I've yet to obtain an example of either of these cylinders. The keys seem to be the most common item to show up. An old R&E catalog I found on the internet from the late 1890's has illustrations showing that they once had an extensive line of Columbia locks--mortise locks, deadbolts, night latches, etc. Unfortunately no mention of cylinders or keys however.

    From what I can tell cylinders are not threaded, but have some type of tapered edge which is wedged into place when the set screw is tightened. It's an interesting design that must have been quite short-lived considering the scarcity of any examples.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pschiffe View Post
    Patent 399,240 is for a lock case, see link:
    https://patents.google.com/patent/US399240
    Charles M. Burgess, who had thirty one patents with the company (Russell & Erwin Mfg. Co.), received three major patents on sheet metal locks:
    • #396,916 - January 29, 1889
    • #399,239 - March 12, 1889
    • #399,240 - March 12, 1889

    Burgess also developed the forged steel bit key which reduced the cost of these bit keys and were stronger than those made from castings, patent #401,247 on April 9, 1889.*

    *
    from Locks and Lockmakers of America, Rev. 3rd Edition, (c) 1997 by the late Thomas F. Hennessy, pg. 31.

    Pete Schifferli

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Tonawanda, NY, USA
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    779
    Country: United States

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by YALE7750 View Post
    Thanks for the info..I didn't think to search Google Books for advertisements. Seems that the actual patent is elusive..I would really like to see the inner workings of one. From what I can gather the original Columbia lock used a totally flat push key which acts on the tumblers all at once when inserted. The improved Columbia introduced a corrugated type keyway. As far as other changes I have no idea; I've yet to obtain an example of either of these cylinders. The keys seem to be the most common item to show up. An old R&E catalog I found on the internet from the late 1890's has illustrations showing that they once had an extensive line of Columbia locks--mortise locks, deadbolts, night latches, etc. Unfortunately no mention of cylinders or keys however.
    From what I can tell cylinders are not threaded, but have some type of tapered edge which is wedged into place when the set screw is tightened. It's an interesting design that must have been quite short-lived considering the scarcity of any examples.
    Perhaps R&E's answer to Yale's pin tumbler cylinder of the same era that was likely still under patent at the time?

    Pete Schifferli

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    72
    Country: United States

    Default I was thinking the same thing...

    At the time Yale had the patents on pin tumbler locks & keys---so it makes sense that Russwin would have a different competing design.

    If anyone has one of these locks in their collection some pictures would be greatly appreciated.


    YALE7750


    Quote Originally Posted by Pschiffe View Post
    Perhaps R&E's answer to Yale's pin tumbler cylinder of the same era that was likely still under patent at the time?

    Pete Schifferli

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    72
    Country: United States

    Default pat 399026

    Looks like it might be pat# 399026, issued March 5, 1889, to W. S. Fiske, of the Hopkins & Dickinson Mfg. Co., a short-lived maker of locks and builders hardware that went bankrupt around 1892. Perhaps R&E acquired this product when the production molds/tooling/assets of Hopkins Dickinson were auctioned off.

    I couldn't find anything for Feb 2, 1890, which is also found on the Columbia lock key.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    1,268
    Country: United States

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by YALE7750 View Post
    I couldn't find anything for Feb 2, 1890, which is also found on the Columbia lock key.
    That date is not a Tuesday so no patents were issued.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    565
    Country: United States

    Default R&E Columbia/Improved Columbia Lock

    Found something on Columber Cylinder Lock and Blank key. Some other lock.....Timothy....
    Attached Files Attached Files

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