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door, but simply leaves the combination-lock in the condition that it can be unlocked by the person in possession of the proper combination upon which said lock is set, thus securing the advantages of a combination-lock for use during the day, with a time-mechanism for guarding and protecting said lock during the night. This improvement is of the utmost importance, for, dur. ing the hours when the time-mechanism is set, no one, not even the officers of a bank or other institution, can open the combination-lock; and, when said time-mechanism is not set or adjusted, no one, except the holder of the combination upon which the lock is set, can open it. No one who has the combination, whether obtained surreptitiously or otherwise, can open the lock when the time-movement is set, for the simple reason that no connection can be made between the tumbler or combination-wheels, the dog, angle-bar, or fence, the spindle, and the lock-bolt, or bearing.
“Further: Another feature of the utmost importance present in the combination of parts brought together is, that the connection between the timemovement and the combination-lock is such, that, when the time-movement is set, the parts adjusted, and the safe doors closed, the combination-lock will be rendered inoperative until a predeterminate hour, during which interval of time the unlocking action of the combination-lock will be suspended by the time-movement, while the tumblers or combination-wheels of the aforesaid combination-lock are left free to rotate, if power is exerted upon the dialspindle for the purpose of twisting said spindle out of place, or impairing the lock-mechanism, and, by such, the working parts of the combination-lock can. not be injured or rendered useless for future action.
“I have made a special claim, in a separate application for letters patent, for the combination of a time-movement and a lock with a lever adapted to be connected with the dog of said lock, to hold it from falling into the slots or notches of the combination-wheels except when released by the time-movement. So, therefore, in this application, such special construction and arrangement of parts is not specially claimed.
"Having thus described my invention, what I claim and desire to secure by letters patent, is (1) the combination, substantially as hereinbefore set forth, of a time-mechanism and a combination-lock with the bolt-work of a safe or vault door, the time-mechanism being constructed to act in conjunction with, and render inoperative, the combination-lock when locked, said lock having its bolt or bearing constructed to receive the pressure of the series of bolts constituting the bolt-work of the dvor, when locked, and prevent the un. locking of said bolt-work until the arrival of a certain predeterminate hour. (2) The combination, substantially as hereinbefore set forth, of a combinationlock, and the series of bolts constituting the bolt-work of a safe or vault door, with a time-movement and a yoke or lever connection, said lever being constructed and located to render the bolt or bearing of the combination-lock inoperative, when locked, the tumblers of the combination-lock and its spindle being free to rotate, while the bolt-work is held in its locked position by the bolt or bearing of the combination-lock.”
An analysis of this specification to ascertain, in view of the state of the art and of the history of the application for the patent as it passed through the patent-office, what is the proper construction of the claims allowed, will conduce to a solution of the questions involved. The object of the invention is stated to be to have a time-movement guard, and operate in conjunction with a combination-lock, to prevent the action of the combination-lock until a time previously appointed by the*setting of the time-movement shall have arrived, in the ordinary running of the time-movement, at which time, and not before, the combination-lock will come into action, when operated in the usual way, as if there were no time-movement. In other words, by the setting of the time-movement, the connection between the combination-lock and its lock. volt or bearing is interrupted so as to destroy the capacity of the combination.
Jock to unlock the bolt-work until the time fixed by the setting of the timemovement shall, by the ordinary running of the time-movement, have arrived, when the connection between the combination-lock and its lock-bolt or bearing is automatically restored through the action of the time-mechanism. The combination-lock is to remain with its organization unchanged, but the timemechanism is to alternately interrupt and restore its connection with its lockbolt or bearing and the action of the bolt-work.
There are two parts to the invention, represented by the two claims. Both of them are claims to combinations of mechanism. The first claim is a claim to a combination, substantially as set forth in the descriptive part of the specification, of three elements: (1) a time-mechanism; (2) a combinationlock; (3) the bolt-work of a safe or vault door. But, as the claim says that the time-mechanism is to be constructed to act in conjunction with, and render inoperative, the combination-lock, when locked, it follows that the expression “time-mechanism” includes the means of connection between the time-movement and the parts on which the combination-lock operates. Otherwise, there could be no operative coaction of the three elements named in the claim. The expressions “time-mechanism” and “time-movement” are carefully used in the specification and claims, as having different meanings, the former including the latter and its means of acting in conjunction with the combination-lock. There is a limitation in the first claim, to the effect, that the combination-luck is to have its bolt or bearing constructed to receive the pressure of the bolt-work, when the lock is locked, and prevent the unlocking of the bolt-work till the predetermined time shall have arrived.
The second claim is a claim to a combination, substantially as set forth inthe descriptive part of the specification, of four elements: (1) a combinationlock; (2) the bolt-work of a safe or vault door; (3) a time-movement; (4) a yoke or lever connection, constructed and located to render the bolt or bearing of the combination-lock inoperative, when the lock is locked. In the second claim, the time-mechanism of the first claim is broken up into a time-movement and a yoke or lever connection. There is a limitation in the second claim, to the effect, that the tumblers of the combination-lock and its spindle are free to rotate during the time the bolt-work is held in its locked position by the bolt or bearing of the combination-lock. This freedom of rotation is referred to in the specification as being peculiar and novel, and consisting in the fact, that, while the combination-lock and the bolt-work are locked, the tumblers or combination-wheels of the combination-lock, and its spindle, are free to rotate without exerting any unlocking action or strain on the mechanism composing the combination-lock, or the delicate mechanism composing the time-movement.
It is also to be noted that the specification states that the lock-bolt or bear. ing of the combination-lock may be of a circular, segmental, or other desired form, “provided said lock-bolt is arranged and adjusted so as to turn upon a suitable axis or bearing,” and is so constructed as, in one position, to prevent the retraction of the bolt-work, and, in another position, to permit it. The kind of combination-lock referred to is indicated by the one illustrated in the drawings, and which the specification states to be the one of Sargent's patent No. 57,574, granted August 28, 1866, and reissued as No. 4,696, January 2, 1872. No. 4,696 states that such combination-lock has no sliding lock-bolt, but has combined with its working parts a bolt turning on a pivot or bear ing, and so isolated or removed from contact with the combination-wheels, as to receive any pressure applied through the bolt-work of the door, and cut off the communication between such bolt-work and the wheels or fence lever of the combination-lock; and that such bolt turning on a pivot or bearing, instead of the sliding-bolt theretofore in use, is an important feature. The first claim of No. 4,696 is in these words: “In a combination-lock for safe or vault *doors, a bolt, I, which turns on a pivot or bearing, when said bolt, I, is used in*
a lock having no ordinary sliding lock-bolt, and in connection with the sepa. rate bolt-work of the door, and so arranged as to receive the pressure of the said bolt-work, without transmitting it to the wheels or other equivalent works of the lock."
The history of the application of Sargent for No. 186,369, so far as it is important to the present case, is this:
On June 11, 1873, having his reissued patent No. 4,696, for his combinationlock, in the form shown in the drawings of No. 186,369, he made application for a patent for combining a time-movement with the lock-works of a combination-lock. The drawing showed the combination-lock of No. 4,696; and the specification set forth the invention to be so combining a time-movement with the lock-works as to prevent the lock from being unlocked by the release of the time-mover nt, and to require it to be unlocked by being set on the combination, after such release. There was a time-movement, consisting of two clocks, and a lever to hold up the dog or angle-bar of the lock, until released by the arrival of the predetermined hour. No bolt-work was shown or described. There was no idea of patenting any combination, of which the bolt-work formed a part. The specification had two claims: (1) “In a combination-lock, I claim the combination with the lock-works, and with a time movement that controls the same, of a connection, H, or equivalent, so arranged that when the time-movement releases the lock-works, the latter still remain locked, substantially as specified. (2) I claim, in combination with a time-movement, and a lock, the lever, H, or equivalent, connected directly with the dog, C, to hold it elevated from the wheels, substantially as specified." The specification stated that Sargent did not "claim broadly the combination of a time-movement with a lock," that is, a time-movement or clock employed to prevent the unlocking of a lock till the arrival of a predetermined time in the running of the clock.
The first claim of the application was rejected, June 12, 1873, by a reference to patent No. 121,782, granted to S. W. Hollen, December 12, 1871. Nothing was said as to the second claim. Sargent then disclaimed Hollen's arrangement, as being the combination of “a clock-movement with an ordinary key-lock, by means of a lever, so that, when the clockwork releases the latch, the latch remains locked;" and altered his claim so as to read thus: “(1) In a combination-lock, the series of wheels of which are set in succession and operated by a spindle, I claim the combination with the lock-works, and with a double-time movement that controls the same, of a connection, H, whereby, when the time-movement releases the lock-works, the latter still remains locked, substantially as and for the purpose specified. (2) I claim, in combination with a time-movement, and a lock, the lever, h, or equivalent, arranged so as to be connected with the dog, substantially as described." The first claim was again rejected, June 23, 1873, by a reference to Newton's Journal of 1832, (Rutherford's patent of 1831,) as describing the application of a double-time movement "to any bolt of a sock, bar, or other fastening,” and to the American patent of Holbrook, of 1858, as showing a double-time movement. The letter of rejection, referring to the Hollen patent, says, that Hollen "applies the movement to a tumbler lock, which has to be operated by a key after the time-movement releases it. To double the time-movement in one lock is considered to be one and the same thing with doubling it in any other. To grant Hollen a patent for applying this time-movement to a tumbler lock, and then to issue other patents for using it with other locks, is simply to nullify Hollen's patent. Sargent is entitled to a limited claim for his way or adaptation, but nothing more.” This last observation meant that the second claim would be allowed, but not the first. The point of this ruling was, that it was not a patentable invention or combination to unite a timemovement with a combination-lock instead of with a tumbler-lock, each of which required to be unlocked after its release, or to double a clock in con.
nection with one lock after it had been doubled in connection with another; but that the special arrangement of a lever connection between the timemovement and the dog miglit be patented.
Two new claims were then substituted by Sargent, as follows:**(1) I claim, in combination with a combination-lock having a spindle and combinationwheels, and with two or more separate time-movements, a single lever, or equivalent connection, H, connecting the lock and the time-movements; the whole so arranged that said lock is released either by a simultaneous action of the time-movements, or by one of them if the other fails, and the lock still remains locked, when so released, as specified. (2) I claim, in combination with a time-movement and a lock, the lever, H, or equivalent, connected with the dog, C, to hold it from falling into the slots or notches of the combinationwheels, except when released from the clockwork, as specified."
The first claim was again rejected, July 5, 1873, on the ground that the change in it did not take the case out of the references; and, on the twentyeighth of July, 1873, Sargent appealed to the board of three examiners in chief. The decision of the board sustaining the decision of the examiner was rendered October 7, 1873. It refers to the English patent of Rutherford, of 1831, and says: “The patent of Rutherford describes an ordinary key-lock, to which the time-movement is so connected that it may be set for a given hour, before which it cannot be unlocked, but may be at any time thereafter.' Rutherford also foresaw that one time-movement might stop, and suggested two. Rutherford, as the references show, is not the only one who has thought of thus connecting a time-inovement to a lock. It happens, however, that the locks shown in the references are all key-locks, while applicant's is a combination-lock; and it is upon this that the claim is founded. While it is undoubtedly true that the combination-lock is the better, there does not appear to be, in any true sense, any new combination in what applicant claims. It may be said that he has substituted in the Rutherford combination, (for example,) one well-known element for another, and that the result, namely, the security against unlocking before a given hour, is exactly the same in both cases. And it must be remembered that this is the whole end and scope of the combination claimed, not to prevent breakage, or picking, or bursting with gunpowder, but simply unlocking before the hour appointed. It is true that the lock connected to the time-movement in the manner shown is rendered secure
ainst unlocking by unauthorized persons who pick up the combination, when the dog rests on the periphery of the cams; but it appears clear that this results from the peculiar mode of application, and is covered by the second claim. Whatever the advantage, then, arising from the substitution for the key-lock, so far as has been pointed out to us, it results from the superiority of the former over the latter, and not from the combination. Nor, so far as we see, has any invention been exercised. The time-movement was originally invented to prevent locks from being prematurely unlocked, and, when once the combination had been invented, it is obvious that it was as applicable to one form of locks as to another; and, to grant a patent for the union of the time-movement with every old form of lock, or with every new form which might appear, would manifestly place unjust restrictions on the original invention and defeat the very purpose of the law. We understand only the first claim to be rejected.” These observations are true, as the record in this case shows, and it also shows many patents in which, prior to 1873, one clock or two clocks were employed to relieve, at a predetermined time, the bolts of a door from a dog obstructing their retraction, so that the door could be opened when that time had arrived, but not before.
Nothing more was done with this application till March 18, 1875, when Sargent presented a new specification and claims, making prominent the feature of the free rotation of the tumblers of the combination-lock, through the medium of the lock-spindle, during the suspension, by the time-movement, of the unlocking action of the combination-lock, and changing the claims to read thus: “(1) The combination of a time-movement with a combination-lock and a lever constructed and located to render inoperative such combinationlock until a predeterminate hour, the tumblers of the combination-lock being free to rotate through the medium of the lock-spindle, while the unlocking action of the combination-lock is suspended by the time-movement. (2) I claim, in combination with a time-movement and a lock, the lever, H, or equivalent, connected with the dog, C, to hold it from falling into the slots or notches of the combination-wheels, except when released by the clock-work, substantially as described.” On the twenty-fourth of March, 1875, the first claim was again rejected by references to the Hollen patent, of December, 1871, and the Rutherford patent, of 1831. The letter of rejection said: “Hollen shows the combination of a time-movement and a lock, with a lever constructed and located to render inoperative such lock until a predeterminate hour, the tumblers of the lock being free to rotate through the medium of a key, while the unlocking action of the lock is suspended by the lever. Rutherford shows (Figs. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, sheet 2) the combination of a time-movement and a lock, with a lever arranged to engage with the bolt of a lock and render inoperative such lock until a predeterminate hour. To merely substitute the ordinary combination-lock, such as shown, for example, in the patent permutation-lock of James Sargent, August 28, 1866, for the lock shown in either of the above references, is not regarded as a patentable difference. The second claim is not objected to. The first claim is again refused.” This application was not further prosecuted.
On the twelfth of July, 1875, Sargent addressed a letter to the patentoffice, entitled in the case, in which he said: “So many amendments and actions having been made in the above-entitled case, I desire to withdraw and abandon it, for the purpose of filing a new application. I, James Sargent, have this day filed said application for the invention, and request that the model of the case above named be applied as a model in the application filed to-day. I intend and request that this application be a substitute application for the one so withdrawn." Up to this time no bolt-work had been shown or described. The object of the new application was to introduce bolt-work as an element in the device. The drawings were the same as those in No. 186,369, showing bolt-work, with the time-movements and the combination-lock. Bolt-work was added to the former model. The specilication contained three claims, as follows: “(1) The combination, substantially as hereinbefore set forth, of a time-mechanism and a combination-lock with the bolt-work of a safe or vault door, the time-mechanism being*constructed to act in conjunction with and render inoperative the combination-lock when locked, said lock having its bolt or bearing arranged to rest upon and receive the pressure of the bolt-work of the door when locked, and prevent the unlocking of said bolt-work until the arrival of a certain predeterminate time. (2) The combination, substantially as hereinbefore set forth, of a combination-lock and the bolt-work of a safe or vault door, with a time-movement and a lever connection, said lever being constructed and located to render the bolt or bearing of the combination-lock inoperative when locked, the tumblers of the combination-lock and its spindle being free to rotate while the bolt-work of the door rests upon the bolt or bearing of the combination-lock. (3) In combination with a time-movement and a lock, a lever, or its equivalent, adapted to be connected with the dog of said lock, to hold it from falling into the slots or notches of the combination-wheels, except when released by the time-movement, substantially as described."
On the thirty-first of July, 1875, claims 1 and 2 were rejected by references to the patent of Hollen, of December, 1871, and that of Rutherford, of 1831; and a time-lock arranged in connection with the bolt-work of a door, in the time-lock of Little, patented in January, 1874, was referred to. Those claims